The Olympic Rozier strikes in El Jadida!

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Philippe Rozier and the Moroccan equestrian sports have a long history together – lasting for more than ten years – displayed once again by another victory for the Olympic Champion in this first 4* Grand Prix in El Jadida.
This Grand Prix 4* was a fantastic conclusion for the 2018 edition of the Morocco Royal Tour, upgraded to a 4* level for the first time. Uliano Vezzani, the course designer, recently said that 5* competition was absolutely possible on the El Jadida’s arena and that he designed this year Grand Prix to be closed to that level. During the first round, four out of the thirty-nine riders entering managed to realize their courses without incidents: Philippe Rozier was the first to sign a perfect course, followed by the French Olivier Perreau, the Saudi Abdullah Alsharbatly and the Brazilian Pedro Junquiera-Muylaert. Both time and the course itself played tricks to the other competitors. In this Grand Prix with a second round, ten riders were allowed to come back: three riders with four faults (Henk van de Pol, Pierre-Alain Mortier and Pius Schwizer), three riders with one (Alberto Marquez-Galobardes, Simon Delestre and Roberto Arioldi) and the clear ones. This second round against the clock reorganized the ranking, even though riders still carried their first-round scores. At the end, only the Olympic Champion Philippe Rozier managed to sigh the double clear round of the class, offering him this victory.

Philippe Rozier, besides being a distinguished rider, has been the Moroccan national team coach for many years. He carried this team up to the World Equestrian Games in 2014 and still continues to train some of the Moroccan riders. “Emotionally, it is an important victory for me,” confesses a touched Philippe Rozier. “It is amazing, I love those feelings and it is why I get up every morning, even after thirty-five years! Cristallo A*LM is a small wonderful horse. He has a big heart and will give anything to please his rider. He arrived at the perfect time in my career, Rahotep de Toscane (his Olympic Games horse – ed) was hurt for almost a year and Cristallo took over him with brio. I am really lucky that the Laiterie de Montaigu believed in me and entrusts me this horse. I can not wait to go back to competitions with both Rahotep and Cristallo in the beginning of next year, it will be incredible!”  He looks back on his winning courses: “I have a great horse, I only had to ride him well! Here, it is difficult, everything comes very fast and it’s the first indoor of the season. My horse is fourteen years old and I am an experienced rider, so we had the advantage on other couples of the class. In the arena, they were difficulties a bit everywhere, which is often the case with Uliano Vezzani’s courses. He always designs his courses in the respect of horses, but demands of us, riders, to be precise unless we want to pay for it! He forces us to ride just and well. During the jump-off, considering my position I preferred to focus more on the clear round and less on the timing. I would prefer to be, in the worst case, on the third position rather than making a four faults course or even more by going too fast and finishing in tenth position, like in Tétouan or Rabat.”

The two riders completing the podium both finished with one fault for exceeded time in the first round, as they both realized clear rounds during this second part of the class. The Italian Roberto Arioldi seized the second place with Dundee van het Marienshof and the French Simon Delestre took the bronze, riding Ulane Belmaniere, who realized her first indoor Grand Prix.

Once more in this CSI of El Jadida, the first-round course created difficulties for many competitors. They were only three to realize clear rounds and to qualify for the jump-off: the Syrian Mohamad Mogheeth Al Shehab, and two Moroccan riders, Mohammed Azoum and Hicham Er-Radi. In the jump-off, only Mohammed Azoum, riding his twelve years old Selle Français, Soho du Plessis, finished their course without penalties, leading them to the win. This horse, born in the Chenu family in Normandy (France), was already ranked in the fifth position of the CSI1* Grand Prix in Rabat and fourth position of the 1,30m class this Friday, with his recent rider.
“I have been riding this horse for just two weeks. He arrived on Monday before the second leg of the tour in Rabat. He is a great horse, he had great results on 1,30m and 1,40m classes with his former French rider Alexis Deroubaix. He is a true sport horse. The first course of the class was difficult, we had to be careful about the end of the triple combination and the last curved line in six strides. I was really focused on this course and I trusted Soho, I know he can be very careful on his jumps. We were just three in the jump-off. Right before I entered the arena, Marcel Delestre told me to turn right after the double combination. On the course, Soho anticipated me and turned before I did, I almost fell off!” laughs the Moroccan riders

Agence R&B Presse

Philippe Rozier and the Moroccan equestrian sports have a long history together – lasting for more than ten years – displayed once again by another victory for the Olympic Champion in this first 4* Grand Prix in El Jadida.

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