The 8th Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais opens today under the majestic glass nave

48 riders from the CSI 5* circuit – including 17 of the world’s top 30 riders – and 20 up-and-coming show-jumpers (under 25 years old) took to the arena under the majestic glass nave of the Grand Palais as the 8th Saut Hermès got underway today, Friday 17 March.

Following the Prix du Grand Palais (a 1.45m class ) that started at midday, the young generation took to the arena for the first class (1.40m) of the Talents Hermès. The atmosphere then reached boiling point as the grandstands filled up during the middle of afternoon – with a large majority of French Equestrian Federation licence holders – in anticipation of the grande finale of this opening day: the Prix Hermès Sellier, a1.50m-class against the clock.

CSI 5* : Prix du Grand Palais / Class 1: Emanuele Gaudiano sets the pace in the Prix du Grand Palais [12:00]

In the opening class of the 8th edition of the Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais, 46 riders from 18 countries – including 15 of the top 30 riders in the world rankings – took to the arena in front of a large crowd, essentially made up of French Equestrian Federation licence holders.

In this first CSI 5* class at 1.45m, the Italian rider Emanuele Gaudiano was the quickest of the 17 couples that finished with clear rounds. Riding his 8-year-old mare Carlotta 232, the 31-year-old officer in his red and black uniform was the only one to cross the finish line in under 29 seconds (28’’35). “My mare Carlotta is just fantastic. Last week, she won two similar classes at the CSI 5* in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands,” explained Emanuele Gaudiano. “I am lucky enough to have my best horse, Caspar, 232, for the major classes; so, I was able to give my all in this first class with Carlotta, unlike other riders who were preparing their horse for the Grand Prix. I am really pleased to be here for a second time at the Saut Hermès. I injured my hand in February and I was not sure I would be able to make it. Fortunately, I am much better. So it makes me feel even happier to actually be here and win this magnificent competition!”

The world number 43 finished less than a second ahead of the 27-year-old British rider Louise Saywell (ranked 275th in the world). Riding her stallion Peiter VI, the daughter of the Olympic show-jumper Michael Saywell completed the course in 29”77. The Austrian rider Max Kühner came third on Chardonnay 79 with a clear round in 32”51. Like last year, the Hermès partner rider Roman Duguet (Switzerland) – the winner of the Grand Prix in 2015 – was just short of a podium-finish on Tipsy du Terral (33”79).

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Les Talents Hermès / Class 2: The Grand Palais opens its doors to up-and-comping show-jumpers [14:15]

In parallel with the CSI 5* competition, the Saut Hermès is hosting the Talents Hermès, a class reserved for 20 riders under the age of 25, from 10 different countries. For their first class at 14:15 this Friday, they rode a course with 1.40m obstacles, over two rounds.  And it was close!

The Swiss rider Laetitia du Couëdic was leading until the penultimate rider came out to win this opening class by just 3 hundredths of a second. Riding Cheyenne 111 Z – the former mare of the Olympic champion Kevin Staut -, the 21-year-old Hermès partner rider finally saw victory go  to the British rider Jessie Drea, (25 years old), who completed a clear round in 31”24 on Mullaghdrin Touch The Stars. “I was lucky enough to compete in the Talents Hermès in 2014,” says Jessie Drea. “It is certainly the best competition I have ever taken part in. I’m very proud to be in here. The arena here is tricky and quite difficult to ride, especially with a horse like Touch the Stars that has a big stride. But he was fantastic today and I hope that he will stay like that all weekend!” 

The Finnish rider Emma Tallberg was the last one to take to the arena, finally finishing third, making it an all-women podium. Riding her 9-year-old mare Arven, she crossed the finish line in 32 seconds 07.The Belgian rider Emilie Conter on Espyrante, the Frenchman Edward Levy on Starlette de La Roque and the Irish rider Eoin McMahon on Baloukira were the other three couples to complete clear rounds.

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Emanuele Gaudiano

Emanuele Gaudiano

Jessie Drea

Jessie Drea
Clic on the pictures to download the HR. Photos credit: Frédéric Chehu
CSI 5* : Prix Hermès Sellier / Class 3: Top-level duel between Patrice Delaveau and Roger-Yves Bost [16:45] 

The audience at the Grand Palais could not have dreamt of a better scenario! The first day of the Saut Hermès 2017 ended with the sound of the “Marseillaise” ringing out, sung in unison by the spectators! With 47 riders starting the class, Patrice Delaveau – silver medallist at the last world championships – was the only rider to finish in under 57 seconds (56’’54) on his 16-year-old stallion Carinjo HDC. He finished ahead of his main rival in this type of class against the clock: the team Olympic champion Roger-Yves Bost. Riding Pégase du Murier, the world number 15 finished in 57’’19, more than a second ahead of the Swiss rider Pius Schwizer on Leonard de la Ferme CH (58’’80) who took  3rd place on the podium.

To beat Bosty, I had to gain a stride at nearly every section of the course, without pushing my horse to the limit,” explains Patrice Delaveau. “I went as fast as I could without making Carinjo lose his footing. He is 16 years old, and so I want to target the right classes. He is really at ease in this arena and this type of class. I’m really happy. It’s always great to win, but winning here means that little bit more. You can hear it in the crowd. You can hear the spectators rooting for you even more here!

The 16 couples that completed a clear round in this 1.50m class (with €25,000 in prize money), included the other French Olympic team champions Philippe Rozier (Rêveur de Kergane) who finished 5th, Kevin Staut (Elky van het Indihof HDC) in 6th place and Pénélope Leprévost (Ratina d’la Rousserie) in 13th place.

The Prix Hermès Sellier qualified riders for the Saut Hermès which starts at 4.30pm on Saturday 18 March. The class is contested by 10 mixed pairs (drawn by lots) made up of the ten best male and ten best female riders from the Prix Hermès Sellier.

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Roger-Yves Bost
Patrice Delaveau

Puis Schwitzer
Prix Hermès Sellier ceremony
Clic on the photos to download the HR. Photos credit: Frédéric Chehu