Félicie Bertrand wins the Grand Prix de Bordeaux
On this weekend full of women's sport, Félicie Bertrand's victory riding her 13-year-old mare Sultane des Ibis could not be timelier. The young 36-year-old rider, who distinguished herself internationally last year, has won her first 5* Grand Prix at the Jumping International de Bordeaux, historically a male stronghold.
A first victory of this caliber is a great moment in a riders’ life. And the fact that this victory was won in her own country, in front of one of the best audiences on the circuit, gives this achievement an even more special dimension. That’s probably why Félicie Bertrand answered her first big interview in tears: "I’m going to wake up and realize it was just a dream. I know that Sultane des Ibis is naturally fast, I know that I have to let her do it, that I don't need to take any more risks. She's an incredible mare, so endearing, so small, so precious, so... sigh, you can't imagine she could jump things like that. It's incredible, this desire to give so much... she's magical." These words and tears bring a great breath of fresh air to show jumping and does everyone good, especially the staff of the French team, who were relieved by this first and only French victory at this emblematic competition.
Félicie Bertrand is part of the inner circle, she’s the granddaughter of a breeder (the Lécuyer family), and daughter of a rider and Director of an equestrian center (Gilles Bertrand). She settled in Normandy, near Deauville, where several owners entrusted her with their horses. In general, young horses to add value to, i.e. to train and ride them to the highest level, and then these horses were sold. But recently, she has again been able to count on the support of the Haras de Clarbec, and little by little on her "friend" Sultane des Ibis who she has helped advance up the levels since September 2017. They were already progressively climbing the ladder towards five-star competition: they were on the French 5* team, and won the individual gold medal at the Mediterranean Games and a 10th place, a little forewarning of this Bordeaux victory, at the Longines Grand Prix de Paris last December. A staggering progression!
Today, at the Land Rover Grand Prix de Bordeaux, she beat riders like Bertram Allen (second by 29 hundredths of a second with GK Casper), Simon Delestre (who had a very nice third with Chesall Zimequest) and the legend Ludger Beerbaum (fifth with Cool Feeling). And Félicie's story is not likely to end here because the Megret family's support is total: "It's a family story," says her owner. "We intend to go far, together with Felicie. It is a matter of teamwork and shared pleasure."
And this was not the only good news for the French cavalry: two other riders were among the nine jump-off rounds of the day. Guillaume Foutrier took fourth place with Valdocco Des Caps and Nicolas Deseuzes sixth with Ulloa du Trèfle. All’s well that ends well, as Ludger Beerbaum, fond of popular French idioms when using the language of Molière, would say! A superb conclusion to this weekend of top-level sport at the Jumping International de Bordeaux. See you next year from February 6 to 9!