It was the Belgian national anthem which resounded in the Var sky this Sunday at Grimaud, Grégory Wathelet, riding Edesa’s Basantos, won the 4* Grand Prix at the Hubside Fall Tour. Over a 1.55m track the Belgian rider rode two perfect rounds demonstating proof yet again of his talent. Earlier, France’s Julien Epaillard came under the spotlight with Cheyenne d’Auge, with whom he won the 1.45m CSI 2* Grand Prix.
With a CSI 4* on the programme, the Grimaud château as a backdrop and a bright sunny day, the afternoon’s sport had everything going for it. A course of 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts awaited the 43 riders and their horses at the start of this Sunday’s Grand Prix. Designed with skill by Frenchman Grégory Bodo, the course looked tricky and selective right from the outset. “At Grimaud, you have to bring horses both technically and mentally ready,” explained one of the World’s best course designers. “I was able to watch the horses and riders over the first days and I must say that they all were jumping well. I’d built some tricky courses but not necessarily very big ones. I was inspired by this to design today’s. It is built in three parts, the first part is quite technical with obstacles that arrive quickly, then very open in the middle before getting tighter at the end. It’s a real 4* test, following the FEI recommendations as it’s a qualifying event for next year’s World Championships.” No less than that!