A truly unique event in the world. Hermès is proud to welcome the world's top riders; as such, what could be more logical than offering the public at the Grand Palais this unique event entitled the "Le Saut Hermès", involving mixed teams, where male and female riders combine their cultures and equestrian expertise.
Out of the 20 competitors qualified following yesterday's Prix Hermès Sellier, ten teams were chosen by drawing lots to compete in this class over two legs. At the end of the first leg, only two couples had a clean round: Luciana Diniz (POR) / Winningmood & Ludger Beerbaum (GER) / Colestus, and Amy Graham (AUS) / Bella Baloubet & Julien Epaillard (FRA) / Cristallo A LM. Just 4 penalty points behind were two couples, Katharina Offel (UKR) / Charlie & Daniel Bluman (COL) / Conconcreto Believe, and Maiju Mallat (FIN) / Vincente & Christian Ahlmann (GER) / Aragon Z.
Riding in reverse order according to the rankings of the 1st leg, the victory was finally decided between the 4 competitors who had already ridden clear rounds. Following Amy Graham (AUS), Julien Epaillard (FRA) rode another clear round, with a very quick time. Luciana Diniz (POR) and Ludger Beerbaum (GER) only had one option if they wanted to take first place on the podium: to both ride clear rounds. The Portuguese rider held her nerve, leaving the "Kaiser" Beerbaum the opportunity to confirm the performance. He rode a clear round also, but not as quick! The Germano-Portuguese team could not prevent the Franco-Australian team from taking first place on the podium. In front of a delighted public, the French rider Julien Epaillard savoured his first victory in "Le Saut Hermès" with Amy Graham.
What they said:
Michel Robert – Technical Advisor for the Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais -"It's an original event that was created specifically for the Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais. The initial idea was to put mixed teams of the same nationality together for the competition. This proved difficult because certain countries did not have two riders participating, such as Edwina Tops-Alexander, who would not have been able to ride for Australia before, because there was no-one to accompany her. So we decided to draw lots and create male-female teams to highlight the gender equality of this Olympic event. I rode in many Nations Cups with the French team, but riding for your country's colours and the colours of another rider is a completely different challenge. You feel even more responsible for what happens and certainly try to perform even better. Riders who are usually your opponents in competitions suddenly become your team-mates for this event."
Julien Epaillard (FRA), 1st: "It's a great experience, with amazing sensations. It's not really like riding in individual events. I stayed at the entrance to the arena to watch Amy's round. Cristallo A LM has already had a fantastic weekend, and he'll be starting the Grand Prix Hermès tomorrow; I just hope he will still have all his faculties. Whatever happens, it was already a wonderful experience winning today."
Amy Graham (AUS), 1st: "I know Bella Baloubet really well; he was fantastic this evening, because he was less nervous. The obstacles were less bright than yesterday, because the weather was cloudy this afternoon in Paris. I just need to make him feel confident and to get settled and everything goes OK for him. We were the first team to ride a clear round and we really wanted to reach the second leg with a clean score. I rode pretty well in the 2nd round, but Bella has really matured too. Riding with Julien (Epaillard) was a great experience."