Grimaud resumes competition season with a 4*!
Rarely has a 4*CSI assembled such a beautiful gathering of riders! It has to be said that after three months of enforced shutdown, everyone is eager to get back to competition, including the 5* riders who have been deprived of the Olympic Games this summer. From Thursday onwards, the Grimaud’s Haras des Grillons will welcome the cream of world show-jumping with the launch of the second season of HUBSIDE JUMPING. Among them are the devotees of Sadri Fegaier's competitions including the French elite... but there are also some "fresh" newcomers. Riders supporting the "tricolor" are generally amongst the most successful in the immense arena of the Haras des Grillons. Last year, the Blues won six of the nine 4* Grand Prix of the HUBSIDE JUMPING first season. Two of these blue-white-red winners are back: the Normandy rider Patrice Delaveau, team and individual world vice-champion in 2014, who won the very first Grand Prix run in Grimaud, and the Rhônalpin rider Olivier Perreau, associated with his GL events Venizia d'Aiguilly, who nothing could stand in the way of last year.
The leading tricolor in world rankings (No 13), Julien Epaillard will be at the head of an important French delegation. It will include the four Olympic champions, Pénélope Leprévost, Philippe Rozier, Roger-Yves Bost and Kevin Staut, then Simon Delestre, and the venue master himself , the successful rider and entrepreneur Sadri Fegaier, who will for the first time present his most recent acquisition, the gelding Important de Muze. He bought him just a few weeks ago from the Irish rider Darragh Kenny, World No. 7. ...and the elite is all present and correct!
Other riders used to the Côte d'Azur arena, the Swiss rider Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs, respectively World No. 1 and Olympic champion in 2012, and World No. 2 and reigning European champion, will also be there. They will be accompanied by a certain Albfuehren's Bianca with whom the Swiss rider took third place in the last World Championships. The American rider Laura Kraut, winner of a 4* Grand Prix here last September, will be looking for a return to victory here at the Grimaud’s Haras des Grillons arena. It won’t be easy for her, especially against the Italian riders Emanuele Gaudiano and Lorenzo de Luca, who are also familiar with the facilities, and against a shower of newcomers in the Grimaud arena... and what newcomers!
They’ll be riding for the first time at Grimaud’s Haras des Grillons
There is a long list of riders who missed the competitions and will be travelling all over Europe! For example, the German elite has sent two of its greatest ambassadors, both winners of at least one World Cup Final. Christian Ahlmann, World No. 12, will be flying the Mannschaft's colors alongside Marcus Ehning, the legendary three-times World Cup Final winner, three-times European team champion, team world champion and team Olympic champion, and regarded by all as the maestro of the last twenty years!
Other riders in the world's Top 20 will be coming to HUBSIDE JUMPING on a trip of discovery. These include Swedish rider, Henrik von Eckermann, World No. 14, the Dutch rider Maikel van der Vleuten, European (2015) and World (2014) Team Champion, and the Belgian rider Jos Verlooy, current European Team Champion, who will be accompanied to Grimaud, by his teammate Grégory Wathelet. Finally, for the very first time the Australian rider Edwina Tops-Alexander, one of the most brilliant female riders of the last fifteen years, used to the Côte d'Azur events of the Longines Global Champions Tour initiated by her husband, will be riding at the Grimaud’s Haras des Grillons. For this resumption of international competitions in Europe, HUBSIDE JUMPING will be held behind closed doors (at least for the first weekend). Course design will be the responsibility of the Italian designer Andrea Colombo. Three levels will be organized (CSI 1, 2 and 4*) with a total prize pool of nearly 290,000 euros, including 100,000 euros in the Sunday’s CSI 4* Grand Prix.