Frenchman Julien Epaillard has started where he left off 12 months ago at the 2015 Horse of the Year Show, currently underway in Birmingham, England, with a pair of wins during the first few days of the show.
Epaillard, the 2014 Leading Showjumper of the Year at HOYS, opened his current campaign by winning the CanterBanter.co.uk Cup, a one-round speed class, with Pigmalion Du Rozel on Thursday, October 8th (pictured above.)
Their time of 53.55 seconds headed a multi-national leaderboard, with Colombia’s Daniel Bluman finishing second on Conconcreto Apardi, Irishman Billy Twomey and Diaghilev third, and Egypt’s Abdel Said, riding Luron SZ, fourth.
Epaillard, who lives in Lisieux, Normandy, won crucial qualifying points in order to defend last year’s major HOYS title on Sunday night.
“I feel very good,” he said. “My horse is back in action after a one-month break. He was very fresh and he jumped nicely. I took all the risks today, and the horse performed superbly. You need a horse with experience, especially in the first indoor event of the season, and my horse certainly knows his job.”
He followed his Thursday win up with a Friday victory aboard Cristallo A LM in the Grandstand Trophy 1.50m. Only Angelie von Essen could come close to his time in the one round class aboard West Falica, but she was a full second slower than Epaillard.