France’s Astier Nicolas riding Piaf De B’Neville (pictured above) showjumped clear this afternoon (25 October) to claim his first CCI4* title at Pau.
His victory was met with a roaring seal of approval from the full grandstand, who have not seen a home rider take this title since Nicolas Touzaint in 2007.
“It feels so good to do this in France,” said Astier. “Winning my first four-star is a moment I have waited for a long time.”
Michael Jung was the overnight leader, but Halunke FBW was withdrawn from the holding box at this morning’s final horse inspection. Consequently his second ride, Fischerrocana FST, upgraded to the top spot but she kicked out a showjump and finished second.
“I am very happy with her,” said Michael of his 2015 Kentucky CCI4* champion. “It was unlucky to have a pole but she gave me a good feeling.”
A clear round aboard Wesko, who won Luhmuhlen CCI4* last year, moved Tim Price into third.
“It’s great for Wesko to keep coming out and remaining consistent, especially the year before an Olympics,” said Tim.
Emily King and Brookleigh (pictured below) had one showjump down to finish fourth at their first CCI4*.
“It’s been her dream to ride at four-star ever since she knew the level existed,” said Emily’s mother Mary, who watched nervously from the sidelines before punching the air in delight.
From the 33 starters there were seven clear rounds. Two of these came from Frenchman Karim Florent Laghouag, who piloted Entebbe De Hus into fifth and Punch De L’Esques into seventh.
Sixth was Germany’s Claas Romeike, son of 2008 Olympic champion Hinrich, riding Cato 60.
Britain’s Sarah Bullimore finished eighth riding Valentino V, while a clear round from Ireland’s Clare Abbott saw her climb seven places up the leaderboard to ninth.
Mark Todd and NZB Campino rounded off the top 10.
There was disappointment for several riders. Tim Lips and Concrex Bayro’s 12 faults dropped them from sixth to 11th, while Indian Mill kicked out six fences to plummet 10 places to 17th.
FRH Butts Avedon hit four showjumps and slipped to 12th with Germany’s Andrea Dibowski.
Don’t miss the full Pau report in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, on sale 29 October.
Pau — final top 10:
1, Piaf De B’Neville (Astier Nicolas, FRA) 38.5
2, Fischerrocana FST (Michael Jung, GER) 39.4
3, Wesko (Tim Price, NZL) 40
4, Brookleigh (Emily King, GBR) 42.3
5, Entebbe De Hus (Karim Florent Laghoua, FRA) 42.6
6, Cato 60 (Claas Romeike, GER) 47.3
7, Punch De L’Esques (Karim Florent Laghoua, FRA) 49.3
8, Valentino V (Sarah Bullimore, GBR) 49.8
9, Euro Prince (Clare Abbott, IRL) 50.7
10, NZB Campino (Mark Todd, NZL) 51.3