Home crowd heroes. France win in Deauville!

23. Jun 2023 / Category: Press Release

France LES Cécile Sablayrolles

In a thrilling afternoon of sport that saw ten nations battle it out to take the competition right down to the wire, the first of two Longines EEF Series Semi-finals in Deauville is complete. Amy Powell reports as the dust settles, and the first five teams celebrate securing their place in the Final.

It was a tale of two halves as round 1 saw a flurry of clears and put France, Sweden, Spain and Portugal in the driving seat with 0 penalties. Cédric Longis’ 12 fence track presented riders with a tricky course consisting of a water jump, a triple bar to a challenging double combination and a bogy fence of an up-to-height vertical fence of planks which caused plenty of trouble. It was the second round that proved to be the real test however, and the competition for the five qualifying spots for the Finals in Warsaw, Poland in September was well and truly on.

As round two got underway, the leaderboard shake-ups began. Belgium added nothing to their first-round score of 4 penalties to put them in contention for the top spot. This tied them with host Nation France who, despite Nicolas Delmotte and Baladin des Matis picking up an early four penalties along with Cedric Hurel on Fantasio Floreval Z (the eventual drop score), Jeanne Sadran posted an incredible double clear with Dexter de Kerglenn and Matthieu Billot also maintained a clean sheet on Quel Filou, keeping the team’s hopes alive.

“Today, I’m very happy. I’ve just finished Young Riders and this is the third time the Federation have given the chance to be part of the Senior Team, so the double clear really makes it very special for me,” Jeanne said of her performance.

Sweden continued to jump strongly into round two, with a double clear from front rider Amanda Landeblad with For Killy making it look likely they were going to take an early and unassailable lead. But unfortunate errors from teammates Irma Karlsson onboard Chacconu and Erica Swartz riding Madonna meant that the team had to finish on a score of 4 penalties also, which took the competition to a three way jump off.

First into the area was Belgium’s Wilm Vermeir who posted a seemingly unbeatable clear on the aptly-named Joyride S to stop the clock on a time of 39.75. However, France capitalised on their fresh fourth combination who had only jumped one round, sending in Mathieu and Quel Filou to represent the team. Behind the time at the halfway mark, it looked as though their fate was written, but an astonishing turn of speed at the last combination along with a tight line to the final fence saw them storm into the lead to finish almost 2 seconds faster on a time of 37.78 to take the victory in front of their home crowd.  

“I’m very happy [with that performance]” Mathieu said, “I knew my horse and my line [for the jump off] and it’s a good result for the team.”

“It’s a great day for everyone,” Jeanne said of the team result, "it ended with a victory so I’m really very happy.”

“The riders did very well,” Chef d’Equipe Eduoard Couperie said of his team. “To win after another jump off here in Deauville, and at home, we’re very happy. It’s amazing.” The French team have now won all three jump off’s they have contested in the Longines EEF Series and will be brimming with confidence going to Poland.

Last into the arena was Erica for Sweden who sadly tipped the last fence with Madonna which left them in third place. And with that, the final podium places for the Nations Cup were decided. Host nation France took the top spot, with Belgium in second and Sweden in third. Most importantly, all three teams booked their tickets to Poland for the Finals on the 16th September.

Sadly, Spain’s competition ended before it began in round two with Acoufina PS refusing to jump the water for Manuel Fernandez Saro, meaning elimination for the pair and all remaining scores had to count. After the shaky start from Manuel, Alberto Marquez Galobardes’ round with Aldo du Manoir also started to unravel which saw them pick up 8 faults, meaning that even the two clears from Mariano Martinez Bastida (Belano vd Wijnhoeve Z) and Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (Enjoy de la Mure) weren’t enough to keep them in contention for the top spot. Nonetheless, the team managed to secure a place in top 5, meaning their place in Poland was still secure.

Unfortunately, the afternoon didn’t go Portugal’s way either, who had to carry 12 faults from their second round as their total score, unfortunately knocking them out of the top 5, meaning they missed out on one of the coveted qualifying places.

Joining the others and securing the fifth and final qualifying spot for Warsaw was Poland who, like Spain, finished on a final score of 8 penalties. A team that will certainly be delighted to represent their country at the Finals and give the home crowd something to cheer about.

So now we look ahead to the second of the two Longines EEF Series Semi-finals in Ebreichsdorf, Austria next weekend to see which five teams will also secure their place to meet France, Belgium, Sweden, Spain & Poland in the Finals.