Blue skies over La Baule

The 2024 edition of the Jumping International de La Baule - Officiel de France got underway on Thursday under sunny skies and in front of a packed grandstand.

Blue skies over La Baule

6 June 2024

First emotions, first joys.

Simon Delestre won the Prix FFE, the day's main CSIO 5* event, just after Nicolas Delmotte's success in the Prix Loire Atlantique, a perfect start to this Friday's Barrière Nations' Cup. The François André stadium regained its unique atmosphere on Thursday. For over 60 years, it has been the setting for the Jumping International - Officiel de France event. With the world's best riders and top-performing horses in the centre of the arena and the grandstands, a public as devoted as ever, happy to enjoy, free of charge, a sporting spectacle under the banner of excellence. 

In the Prix FFE (1.50 m, time trial), the first qualifying event for Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule, the French riders didn't leave a single place on the podium for their rivals. And 1, and 2 and 3!  

With Olga van de Kruishoeve, a 10-year-old BWP mare, Simon Delestre (world no. 8) got his competition off to a perfect start. "This is Olga's eighth or ninth international victory in 4 and 5-star competitions since September,' says a delighted Lorrain. She put in a magnificent performance. She's very fast and very respectful. The target is to get her into the 5-star Grand Prix. She's a mare with everything it takes to have a great career, including championships. In this event, I attacked straight away at a fast tempo and then stayed on it. Mentally, it's always good to start a competition like that. I'm on a good run at the moment, with my horses jumping really well. I've just got to ride the wave." Kevin Staut, the Rio Olympic team champion with Beau de Laubry Z, a pair who had already won a similar event last week at the CSIO 5* in Rome, finished just 15 hundredths behind his compatriot on the podium's second step. Marc Dilasser on Arioto du Gèvres, a 14-year-old Selle Français gelding, completed the podium in an event marked by 22 clear rounds on the course designed by Grégory Bodo, future head of the Paris Olympic Games course (partnered by Spain's Santiago Varela).

Earlier in the day, in the first event of the CSIO 5*, Nicolas Delmotte, riding Citadin du Chatelier, a 12-year-old Selle Français, gave France its first victory of the competition in the Prix Loire Atlantique (1.45m, two-phase event). "To win a race at La Baule is always special," explains the last Frenchman to win the Grand Prix (in 2021 with Urvoso du Roch). “It's our Roland Garros! I'm delighted to ride on such a fantastic course. It's every rider's dream. Winning the first event is encouraging for what's to come. Citadin is a great horse who wins a lot and really enjoys the big grass courses. This event was his preparation for Saturday's Pays de la Loire Regional Derby. He's naturally so fast that I don't need to go all out." He finished ahead of American Mclain Ward (First Lady) and Belgian Grégory Wathelet (Berline du Maillet Z).

France dreams of the Barrière Nations’ Cup

This Friday, following the Prix Hectares & Patrimoine (CSI 1*) and the Prix Captain Jet (CSIO 5*), the Barrière Nations' Cup will be the day's highlight. Nine teams will attempt to succeed Brazil, last year's winners (the eight best nations from the first round qualify for the second). To represent France, coach Henk Nooren has selected, in riding order, Simon Delestre (I Amelusina R 51), Olivier Robert (Iglesias DV), François-Xavier Boudant (Brazyl du Mezel) and Roger-Yves Bost (Delph de Denat HDC). "Like many of the teams present in La Baule, this event will also allow us to see some couples preparing for the Olympic Games," explains the team leader. "We're all looking for our selection. I'd like to offer the public a victory for the French team in La Baule, but I would be delighted with a good result". Victorious in 2017, the French team hopes to win again. "It's about time," says Simon Delestre with a smile. "We've been waiting a long time for this! But the level of the Nations Cup is very high. It's going to be a neck-and-neck affair. What's for sure is that we're going to give it our all." It promises to be a great time.

Friday Programme 

8 am: Prix Hectares & Patrimoine, CSI 1*

10 am: Prix Captain Jet, CSIO 5*

1:30 pm: Barrière Nations Cup, CSIO 5*

5:50 pm: Prix Datanaute, CSI 1*

Barrière Nations Cup running order

  1. Sweden
  2. Brazil
  3. United States 
  4. Belgium
  5. Germany
  6. Austria 
  7. Spain
  8. France 
  9. Switzerland