The post-cross country horse inspection was eagerly awaited this morning, such was the effort put in by the horses yesterday. Two were not presented by their riders, and a third were refused. 34 competitors took the start of the final show jumping test on a course designed by Yann Royant. The technical course did its job and delivered a 100% British podium, with no real surprises. Maxime Livio finished 9th in his second appearance with Carouzo Bois Marotin, not far behind Camille Lejeune, 13th with Dame Decoeur Tardonne, competing in her very first 5-star event. More than 10,000 spectators attended Sunday’s epic final with as much enthusiasm as ever, making the 5 Etoiles de Pau the most popular event in Palais, a feature hailed by all competitors.After her European Champion title won last August at Haras du Pin, Rosalind Canter added another major victory in Pau with another horse, Izilot DHI. French terrain seems to be in the British rider’s favor. She won with just a few seconds of penalties ahead of world number 1 Oliver Townend (GBR). A magnificent clear round put Townend on the second step of the podium. Unfortunately for Tom Mc Ewen (GBR) and JL Dublin, a fallen pole dropped them back to third place. Another big disappointment for rider Kirsty Chabert (GBR), who finished in sixth place after a round penalised by 8 points. Great Britain confirmed its current great form by occupying the top 6 places in the final ranking. Piggy March and Coolparks Sarco were fourth on a score of 36.5 and Kylie Roddy and SRS Kan Do finished in fifth on 39.7.
Last year’s winner, New Zealand’s Jonelle Price, was eighth with Hiarado, just ahead of American Boyd Martin. On the French side, Camille Lejeune and Maxime Livio took 13th and 9th places respectively, with two magnificent rounds. The other two French riders still in the running for this final test suffered a blow. Florian Ganneval, an “amateur” rider and farrier, nevertheless finished in the top 20 of this difficult CCI5*-L. Gaspard Maksud’s 9-year-old horse, Kan-Do 2, suffered a slight fatigue and was penalised 12 points.
Rosalind Canter’s impressions (winner of the CCI5*-L) “I’ve had an incredible week with both horses, in fact both have really given it their all. I’m extremely proud of Izilot DHI, we’ve come a long way since we got him as a five-year-old. He’s really taken a big step forward and even at the start of this year, we’ve had our ups and downs and a few little difficulties but he’s been absolutely incredible this week. I’m learning all the time with a horse like him and he’s taught me a lot of things including not to react, to deal with these kinds of situations by almost letting go of the reins, telling him he’s a good horse. If he wants to panic, he’ll panic, there’s nothing I can do about it, it’s just a question of giving him a lot of confidence. It’s pretty obvious that the British team is in great shape. My aim is to be selected for the Paris Olympics – that’s my dream. On the other hand, I don’t know with which horse. That’s not entirely up to me, but it’s already great to have two horses that could be selected.”
Oliver Townend’s impressions (2nd)“I’m incredibly proud of my horse and my team, and I’m very happy for the owners of my horse Tregilder, who has been with me for 19 years. A podium finish in a 5* is a dream for them. He’s a genuine horse, always straightforward, always doing his best in all three phases. This performance is the fruit of the work of the whole team that looks after him, especially at the stable, which enables him to achieve results like this. I’m a competitor, I don’t feel the need to prove anything. This is my 19th 5* podium, and hopefully there are plenty more to come. I’m still young compared to some. Being surrounded by all these female riders is an enviable position to be in.”
Tom McEwen’s impressions (3rd)“I had an incredible run. It was fantastic, the cross-country course was incredible, the show jumping was great, the crowd was enthusiastic and for me with JL Dublin it’s just a great way to end what’s been a bit of a rubbish year.”
Pascal Sayous, Director of Centaure Production, assesses the situation“Attendance increases every year, with a +30% growth in visitors for this 2023 edition, to between 42,000 and 43,000 people. It’s the family event of the year, where more and more people come to enjoy a great moment of sport. We can be proud of what we achieve every year, and we’re delighted that Pau is once again a popular destination for the English, who made Pau one of their favourite holiday resorts.”
Final results can be found here
Images courtesy of Peter Nixon