In his first appearance in an Event Rider Masters Series competition, Germany’s indomitable Michael Jung won the CIC3* at Haras de Jardy in France riding Star Connection. Are we surprised? No, not really.
Star Connection, a 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Jarno Debusschere and Brigitte and Joachim Jung, has now finished first, second and third in his first summer competing at the CIC3* level. Lying in fifth place after dressage with a 35.7, the pair moved into the lead with one of only three double-clear show jumping rounds.
With Willberry Wonder Pony along for the ride on cross country, Michael had exactly seven seconds to spare in order to hold the lead and in his wizardly ways, he used every one of them. With 2.8 time penalties to add to a stellar clear, Michael and Star Connection finished on a 38.5, literally one second ahead of France’s Karim Florent Laghouag and Entebbe de Hus.
“Star Connection is not the most experienced horse at this level. But he answered all the questions out there today and was brilliant,” said Michael, who received a €19,000 prize and 30 points on the ERM leaderboard.
“ERM is a super series for our sport, as it’s expensive to compete in eventing. In addition to the excellent money the series also creates very good competition conditions and makes us as riders compete even harder. I am very grateful for the opportunity this weekend and hope to target other legs in the future.”
Karim and his Rio Olympic Games mount Entebbe de Hus, owned by Madame Agnès Celerier and M. Michel Duros, narrowly missed out on the victory but nevertheless put in a superb performance. The Frenchman and 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion held onto fourth place through the first two phases (thanks in part to a career personal best dressage score) and delivered a double-clear cross country round to finish in second place on 38.9.
Rounding out the top three is 2016 ERM Champion Oliver Townend (GBR) with the Angela Hislop’s 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse Cooley Master Class. The pair were tenth after dressage but jumped double clear in both stadium and show jumping to finish on 39.1.
“The challenging showjumping course provided a perfect balance this weekend,” Oliver said. “This series is the top of our sport and so it needs to be tough and up to height with a tight time. For me it’s a great step forward for eventing and I am very grateful to the series as it certainly changed my life for the better last year.”
The only other pair to finish on their dressage score was Donatien Schauly ADJ and Pivoine des Touches for France. They moved up from 20th after dressage to finish seventh.
Haras de Jardy was the fourth of seven legs in the 2017 Event Rider Masters Series. At the top of the series leaderboard is Gemma Tattersall for Great Britain with 74 points (she finished fourth at Jardy with Chico Bella P). Sarah Cohen, winner of leg 2 at Wiesbaden and ninth at Jardy with Treason. France’s Thomas Carlile earned a record breaking win with Upsilon at leg 3 at Barbury one week ago and is currently third in the series with 56 points.
Click here to view full results from Jardy and don’t forget you can rewatch all the action on eventridermasters.tv. The fifth leg of the series will be at Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe Park, presented by BETA, the first week of August.