Saturday, June 06, 2009

Compiègne – two CEIO's in a row

Compiègne – two CEIO's in a row
Leonard Leisens

Compiègne has something special that everyone likes. First, it is always a very competitive race attracting the best horses from France and abroad. Then, the venue is second to none : the racetrack, the cozy stables, he tribunes at the Grand Stadium, the forest with the outstanding going, the people… And last but not least the very gourmet catering which was installed near the Grand Stadium. What can you ask more? Nothing, except to keep Compiègne as it always has been : a technical race with hills punctuating every loop and a good footing for the horses. This year the circuit was mainly flat, most of the hills were removed from the loops. This was under the special request of Jean-Louis Leclerc, the French Chef d'Equipe who wanted a circuit to test the French horses in preparation for Babolna and Assisi.

This is a view of endurance. Flat circuit, foolish speed, technical skill reduced to a minimum. Many riders didn't like too much the new face of the race, but one has to adapt to new situations. The first race was the CEIOYR on the distance of 130km. It was crazy… Speed, stress, animosity, closed faces. This is how competitive endurance has become. There were 51 couples at the start. Among them, 32 completed the ride. This is not too bad, taking into account the speed. One has to figure out that at the start of the last loop, after 110km and with 20km to go, there were 26 horses in just 3 minutes. Watching the young riders taking the start of the last loop at full gallop, just separated by a few dozen meters was quite an experience. The tension was palpable. Every junior had the feeling that the victory was possible. The fight during the last loop was phenomenal. The leaders covered the 20km at full gallop reaching an average speed of near 30kph. At this game, the young Roman Lafaure - let's better say his horse Kaltsoum Cabirat – was the best, arriving detached at the Grand Stadium, just a few seconds before Justin Mourou on El ABiad. At the third place, and only seven seconds behind the winner, Laetitia Goncalves on Jasmina des Ayssade. The three first average a speed of 29.8kph. They should be ready for Babolna. After, one had to wait seven minutes to watch the next group. In the team competition, France finished first followed by Belgium and Brazil. The Brazilian young riders were riding French horses in an exchange program launch by Guillherme Ferreira.

The day after, the seniors riders had to compete on the CEIO. The distance of 160km normally leads to some kind of respect among the riders. But this event was at the same time considered by the French Chef d'Equipe as a test to make his selection for the European Championship. So the riders having some ambitions to enter the French squad had to demonstrate the quality of their horse. They did, no question about that. The winner was Laurent Mosti who already accomplished an exceptional season last year. He was riding an eleven year mare, Khandela des Vialettes, by the French flat racing Arabian Regal de Khan. A very strong and powerful – and not Arabian looking – mare. The mare already placed second last year in Compiègne, ninth in Dubai and second in Newmarket. Second was Guy Dumas on the part-bred Mohac and third the European Champion Jean-Philippe Francès on Hanaba du Bois. Fourth Caroline Denayer on her 15years old gelding Gwellik du Parc, a horse with incredible recoveries. He is by Djellik (son of Persik) out of a Fawzan's mare.

At the team competition, France win by far. Belgium has been second until the last vetgate, when its hopes disappeared when Dario was eliminated at the recheck. Switzerland was then happy enough to get the silver medal.

No comments: