Not many 10-year-olds — or horses at all, for that matter — could have gone cold into today’s (6 August) Olympic showjumping team qualifier at the Tokyo Olympics and come out with a single time-fault. But the ride of Frenchman Simon Delestre – Berlux Z – did just that.
Having not featured in the individual Olympic showjumping competition earlier in the week, he jumped a superb round over the tough track that caught out many top combinations. The scopey grey Zangersheide gelding made nothing of the fences, the lights and the atmosphere at his first senior championship.
“He’s only 10 and with the season we had last year, really like no season, it’s really good to manage to prepare him like he was today,” said Simone, who represented France at the 2012 Games on Napoli Du Ry.
“The plan was to do only the team [competition] because maybe two could have been a bit too much for him. It’s his first big championships, but I’ve always said he’s a horse for championships.
“He’s scopey, careful and strong in his head – and I’m really proud of him.”
Simon added that the gelding, by Berlin, is a “super-nice character”, and that he was delighted the horse had coped so well with all the new fences, the light and all the other factors that feature in the Olympics.
“He’s a really amazing scopey horse with a super-bright character. I just try to follow him, not disturb him and just to leave him to jump,” he said.
France finished on 15 faults after all three combinations had jumped — Penelope LePrevost on Vancouver De Lanlore finished on five and Mathieu Billot on Quel Filou 13 on 9 — which secured their place in the team final.
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