Julien Epaillard Adds ‘Best Victory’ to His Name with Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix Win in St Tropez, Ramatuelle

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In the glamorous world of equestrian sport, few events capture the essence of luxury, competition, and prestige quite like the Longines Global Champions Tour of Ramatuelle, St. Tropez. It was Julien Epaillard who captivated the crowd with Donatello d'Auge to win the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of St Tropez, Ramatuelle.

In the fastest jump-off of the season, last to go in the 5 man jump-off, Christian Kukuk and Mumbai had to settle for second place just 0.44 seconds behind the blistering Frenchman. Fellow countryman Simon Delestre put two home riders on the podium collecting third place with Dexter Fontenis Z. 

An emotional Epaillard smiled: “Donatello has won two days here, and it is incredible to win here in front of a home crowd. This horse is just fantastic, the atmosphere at this show is amazing and this is one of my best victories I think. It’s not so easy to win a Global Champions Tour Grand Prix so we work everyday for this, so when this happens we can enjoy it.” 

Watching the last part of the jump-off was a long one for me. With lots of dangerous riders coming anything could happen. To qualify for the LGCT Super Grand Prix is special and we will do our best to make sure we are in the best form.” 

After his second, silver position finish of the year Kukuk told GCTV:

 “I still have the eye on the golden ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix for sure - it’s not over. This is the second time I am second now [this year], so that is a little bit disappointing - but it is not a shame to be beaten by Julien Epaillard; he is one of the fastest riders on our circuit and I was very close.”

A beaming Simon Delestre smiled: “It’s really amazing to be here, I always enjoy to be here in St. Tropez - it is a very special show.. Dexter has had an amazing start to the year. He was second and third in Doha, and now still third, so it’s very positive for the rest of the season, I can only be happy with this result.”

After the fifth stage of the 2023 Longines Global Champions Tour Championship and with dramatic results in today’s competition the rankings have tightened up making it one to watch in Cannes next week. Current Championship standings are: 

Maikel Van Der Vleuten: 135 points

Abdel Said: 109 points

Christian Kukuk: 103.2 points

Malin Baryard-Johnsson: 101 points

Simon Delestre: 98 points 

The event which is held annually in the breathtaking setting of Ramatuelle, near the iconic St. Tropez is renowned for its opulence and natural beauty, this location serves as the perfect backdrop for this elite gathering of equestrian talent.

From its prestigious location to its high-stakes competition and lavish celebrations, this event encapsulates the essence of luxury and athletic prowess. Celebrating the seamless fusion of sport and sophistication, the LGCT Grand Prix of St Tropez, Ramatuelle, was an unrivaled experience that showcased the finest in show jumping alongside an array of exclusive lifestyle elements.

In round 1, a gut wrenching single time fault from Abdel Saïdand Bonnie Amie proved the course was jumpable but meant they wouldn’t feature in the jump-off today. The clears then started coming thick and fast as Olivier Philippaerts with H&M Legend of Love and Simon Delestre on Dexter made sure to guarantee a jump-off. 

As the first rider to go in the jump off Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Legend of Move clearly had one thing on their mind. Quick and clear. The duo put the pressure on right out of the gate, meaning all riders to follow had to throw caution to the wind. 

Setting the pace for those that followed, Simon Delestre and Dexter proved their reliability and competitive edge. Stopping the clock at 39.32 seconds, the crowd both in attendance and online thought the top podium position was decided. 

Just when spectators didn’t think it could get any faster, temperatures soared when Julien Epiallard and Donatello d'Auge shifted up a gear with fantastic tight turns. On the exact same time as Delestre mid course he threw everything at the last line to claim the lead in 38.40 sec.

A danger to Edpiallard’s lead, Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson set off to a flying start. They made up the ground in between, but as he propelled to the last he got a little too deep and the fence came crashing down costing him the win against some of the biggest names in the sport.

The crowd were on their feet as Chirsitan Kukuk and Mumbai entered into the arena, knowing that if anyone could beat Epillard and Donatello d'Auge time, it was this combination. Giving it his all, it looked as if the pair were set to take the win but as they crossed the finish line the Longines clock showed it was a French win for 2023! 

So it would be Julien Epaillard who sparkled in Saint-Tropez and earned his place in the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix in Prague this November. The thrilling Championship race now moves along the glittering French Riviera coastline to Cannes, for the sixth leg of the 2023 season!