To the delight of the French crowd, Maxime Livio (FRA) scored his first CCI4* victory by Jumping clear on Qalao Des Mers at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau, the first leg of the FEI Classics™ 2016/17, to finish on his Dressage score of 45.3.
Michael Jung (GER), the 2016 and 2012 individual Olympic gold medallist, held the lead after Cross Country on FischerRocana FST, his 2015 and 2016 Rolex Kentucky CCI4* winner. But Jung lowered two fences on the 11-year-old mare, moving down to third place, and handed the win to Livio.
Maxime Livo, 29, has a superb CCI4* record so far from just three attempts – he finished second on his debut at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau in 2014, and took the runner-up spot with the Selle Français 12-year-old Qalao Des Mers at Luhmühlen in June this year.
He said: “I’ve finished second at this level before, so finally to win is very special. I’ve had a marvelous time at Pau - the ground was well prepared, the courses were great and my horse performed well.”
Jung also finished second to Livio on FischerTakinou, having knocked one fence down on the nine-year-old on whom he won individual and team gold medals at the 2015 FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle (GBR). “It is always disappointing to have a fence down, but I am happy with both my horses,” he said.
Jung also led Les 4 Etoiles de Pau going into the Jumping phase in 2015 on FischerRocana FST but hit one fence, handing victory to France’s Astier Nicolas, who went on to win team gold and individual silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Nicola Wilson (GBR) took fourth place with One Two Many, slipping from third place after knocking two show jumps down. Her fellow British rider, CCI4* first-timer Alexander Bragg, finished fifth on Zagreb after a faultless jumping round – one of just seven in the competition.
Camilla Speirs (IRL) was delighted with her Rio Olympics partner Portersize Just A Jiff – the pair rose from 32nd after Dressage to take sixth place with a double clear round in the cross country and jumping phases.
New Zealand’s Jock Paget finished seventh after picking up eight jumping faults with Clifton Signature, while Nicola Wilson filled a second top-10 spot with Annie Clover in eighth.
Thirty-five riders contested the final Jumping phase over a track, designed by Yann Royant (FRA) that was considered to be one of the biggest seen at CCI4* level this season.
Two horses were withdrawn before the final veterinary inspection; 10th-placed Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison (Sonja Johnson, AUS) and Fleet Street (Roo Fox, GBR) and two more were eliminated at the final veterinary inspection on Sunday morning – Cracker Jack, who lay in sixth place with Boyd Martin (USA), and Cooley Blue Flame, 35th with Katie O’Sullivan (IRL).
Martin said, "I arrived first thing this morning, and he was definitely a bit off. We changed his shoeing and I hopped on and rode him, and we felt like we got him to a good place. The first time he trotted I thought he looked pretty good. They the ground jury asked me to jog him a second time, and he had one or two bad steps. Then we went to the holding box, and the holding vet said she couldn’t feel or see anything that concerned her, so I thought we were in business. I trotted him up again, and he was really good on the way up and then had one or two funny steps on the way back. The ground jury had a long hard talk and unfortunately gutted him."
Fortunately "Cracker's" stablemate, Welcome Shadow, was accepted, and went on to have only one rail, finishing in 13th place at her first four-star.
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About the winner
Maxime Livio (FRA) runs his own stable, Ecurie Maxime Livio, near Saumur with his girlfriend, Jumping rider Mathilde Montginoux.
Maxime competed on French team at the FEI Junior and Young Rider European Eventing Championships, and made his senior championship debut at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014.
His first major success came with his Les 4 Etoiles de Pau winner Qalao Des Mers in 2014, when they won the Saumur (FRA) CCI3*, but he had received international recognition when taking second place at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau aboard Cathar De Gamel in 2014.
Maxime’s family has no connection with horses, but he started having riding lessons as a small child and participated in all forms of competition. He trained at the Ecole Nationale d’Equitation de Saumur, and spent time with François Roemer and Nicolas Touzaint before setting up his own establishment.
Boyd Martin claimed the CCI4*-L victory at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event riding Luke 140, owned by The Luke 140 Syndicate. California rider Tamie Smith held the lead and second place with Danito and En Vogue, respectively, with the two swapping placings after cross-country, and Martin and Luke 140 maintaining third place through both phases. But two rails down for Danito dropped him to fourth place and En Vogue was relegated to third with three rails down, opening the door for Martin and Luke 140 to clinch the win.
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.