Julien Epaillard Races to 10th LGCT Speed Victory in New York
Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
Julien Epaillard lived up to his moniker as the Flying Frenchman yet again by topping the CSI5* 1.45m Speed for the 10th time this season during the final day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of New York.
Piloting the nine-year-old gelding Alibi de la Roque, Epaillard stopped the clock clear in an uncatchable 58.13 seconds over Bronislav Chudyba (SVK) and the aptly named New York, who broke the timers fault-free but several ticks off the pace in 61.42 seconds. Rounding out the top-three podium, Constant van Paesschen (BEL) was hungry for his second win of the weekend from the final spot in the order-of-go riding Vendetta Treize, but settled for third in 62.17 seconds with zero faults.
The one-round event against the clock featured a sizable but unassuming track by Uliano Vezzani’s (ITA). But, when riders began to shave seconds off the clock with less strides and tight turns, the challenges presented themselves.
Hometown hero and clear crowd favorite, Georgina Bloomberg (USA), set the standard in the city where she was born and raised. She and her own Quibelle attacked the course and produced a flawless performance to lead the way in 64.93 seconds. They sat pretty for only moments, however, as Titouan Schumacher (FRA) unseated them with a time of 62.46 seconds riding Amak des Brimbelles Z.
The win sat in the hands of Schumacher for five trips before Epaillard put on an exhibition in foot speed and breathtaking turns. While Chudyba and Paesschen did their best to catch him, it was not to be.
Alibi de la Roque will also jump the final event of the LGCT New York later in the day, but Epaillard admits the speed class is where the mount shines, saying: “The horse is only nine with not so much experience, but I knew I had a chance to win this one and we really tried.
“It’s amazing here,” continued Epaillard of the LGCT’s first appearance on Governors Island, just a skip across New York Harbor from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan streets. “The atmosphere is very impressive and it is very nice to be here in New York.”
Also producing noteworthy clear rounds was Emil Hallundbaek (DEN) riding Cool Hand Luke 3 and Mathilda Karlsson (SRI) in the irons of Cera VA.
Still coming up on the final day in New York, the CSI5* 1.55m will kick off at 15:30 local time and close the curtain on the LGCT’s debut in the “Big Apple.” All the action is streamed live on GC TV and on the official GCL Facebook page.