Astier Nicolas (FRA) had an excited French crowd on the edges of their seats as he scored his first ever CCI4* win in fantastic style at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau (FRA), opening leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016.
With the hopes of his home country resting on his shoulders and Pau’s Jumping course proving as influential as ever, Nicolas, who was third after Cross Country, rode a skillful clear round on Piaf de B’neville in the Jumping arena.
This put serious pressure on 19-year-old Emily King (GBR) and Olympic, world and European number one Michael Jung (GER), who was down to one horse after withdrawing the overnight leader Halunke FBW at the final Horse Inspection, and, to Nicolas’s evident disbelief, they each had a fence down.
King dropped from second to fourth on Brookleigh, but it was a brave effort at her first CCI4*, and Jung, who has made very few mistakes this year, slipped from first to second on fischerRocana, losing the win by just 0.9 penalty, after the mare hit the third fence.
Tim Price (NZL) and the Dutch-bred Wesko, a reliable horse in the final phase, having started his career in a Jumping yard, rose from fourth to third with an immaculate clear round.
Astier Nicolas is the first French rider to win the CCI4* at Pau since Nicolas Touzaint in 2007 and, to make it even more special, the city of Pau is his home, although he is a familiar face on the British circuit, having been based there for a while.
“I wasn’t at all nervous because I had two riders in front of me and didn’t think I would win,” said Nicolas. “It’s very special to win my first CCI4* in France.”
The French crowd had even more to cheer about when two of the seven clear rounds came from Karim Florent Laghouag (FRA), who rose from eighth to fifth place on the lovely black stallion Entebbe de Hus and from 14th to seventh on Punch de l’Esques.
The young German rider Claas Hermann Romeike, watched anxiously by his Olympic gold medalist father, Hinrich, also kept a cool head, jumping clear on Cato 60 to rise seven places to sixth at only his second CCI4*.
Tim Lips (NED) slipped five places to 11th when Bayro incurred 12 Jumping faults and Andreas Dibowski (GER) was lucky to only drop two places to 12th when FRH Butts Avedon had four fences down. Paul Tapner (AUS) also departed from the top 10, falling from seventh to 17 with an unfortunate six rails down on Indian Mill.
As well as the sad departure of Halunke FBW from the Horse Inspection, Bill Levett (AUS) also withdrew Shannondale Titan, 10th after Cross country. Thirty-three horses completed the competition.
The FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 season has started in style with a thrilling contest. Next, the action moves to the southern hemisphere for the Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) on 19-22 November.
About the Les 4 Etoiles de Pau winner
Astier Nicolas (FRA), 26, is the youngest CCI4* winner this year. He represented France at Pony, Junior and Young Rider level and won an individual silver medal in the Young Rider Europeans at Waregem (BEL) in 2009. His previous best CCI4* result was sixth at Pau in 2012 on Jhakti du Janlie.
Riding Piaf de B’neville, he won the u25 CCI3* at Bramham (GBR) in 2012 and was a member of France’s senior bronze medal team at the 2013 FEI European Eventing Championship in Malmö (SWE).
The combination finished runner up at Saumur CCI3* this year. He was also recently second in the young horse CIC3* at Blenheim and ninth at Boekelo CCI3* (NED) on Spes Addit’Or.
Nicolas is from Pau in France but has been based for some years in Gloucestershire in Great Britain, where he came to study for a degree in equine management at the West of England University at Hartpury College.
Piaf de B’neville is a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Cap de B’neville.
1 Astier Nicolas/Piaf de B’neville (FRA) 38.5 + 0 + 0 = 38.5
2 Michael Jung/fischerRocana FST (GER) 35.4 + 0 + 4 = 39.4
3 Tim Price/Wesko (NZL) 40.0 + 0 + 0 = 40.0
4 Emily King/Brookleigh (GBR) 38.3 + 0 + 4 = 42.3
5 Karim Florent Laghouag/Entebbe de Hus (FRA) 40.6 + 2 + 0 = 42.6
6 Claas Hermann Romeike/Cato 60 (GER) 44.1 + 3.2 + 0 = 47.3
7 Karim Florent Laghouag/Punch de l’Esques (FRA) 49.3 + 0 + 0 = 49.3
8 Sarah Bullimore/Valentino V (GBR) 45.8 + 0 + 4 = 49.8
9 Clare Abbot/Euro Prince (IRL) 49.1 + 1.6 + 0 = 50.7
10 Sir Mark Todd/NZB Campino (NZL) 43.3 + 0 + 8 = 51.3
Full results: www.event-pau.fr<http://www.event-pau.fr>.
Will Faudree shared the news yesterday that his legendary event horse, Antigua, passed away at the age of 32. In a Facebook post he said:
“I always thought I would have something profound to write. A eulogy that would encapsulate the impact you had on my life. And maybe those words will come. You taught me what a work ethic is, how to think in slow motion and how to just keep going. You laid the foundation for a career I dreamed of as a kid. Thank you will never be enough. I will miss you every day- rest easy my friend.”
While her two horses swapped places for first and second after cross-country, Tamra Smith maintained both the lead and second place with two clear rounds and minimal time faults at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event Presented by BW Furlong and Associates and Zoetis. The 16-year-old Hanoverian mare En Vogue (Earl x Laurena) is just a little more experienced than her barn mate Danito, also owned by Ruth Bley, so she was also a little quicker around the big, challenging course that twisted and turned through the Horse Park of New Jersey. En Vogue leads on a 27.1 and Danito is second with 31.9, with Boyd Martin maintaining third place with the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding Luke 140 (Landos x Omega VI), owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate.
California rider Tamra Smith holds the lead and second position in the CCI4*-L at the Jersey Fresh International (JFI) CCI at the Horse Park of New Jersey in Allentown. Smith scored 23.9 today with Danito, Ruth Bley’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik), to take the lead from her other mount, the 16-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena) En Vogue, also owned by Bley, who was the overnight leader after scoring 24.3 yesterday. Boyd Martin of Cochranville, Pa. holds third place with Luke 140, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Landos x Omega VI) owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate, on a score of 25.6.
It is with immense sadness that we announce the cancellation of Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2021 which was due to be held later this year from September 2-5, 2021.
Despite the continued easing of lockdown measures, the nationwide vaccination program, and the hope within the Government Roadmap for unlocking the country, there have been and remain too many variables and uncertainties due to the Covid-19 pandemic to deliver this much-loved international event.