Sunday, 22 August 2010

WEG 2010 Eventing: French Stalking Horses

Nicholas Touzaint
The French always play their cards very close to their chest, when it comes to eventing championships, and then with typical 'bon vivant' roll out a gatling gun for a sword fight at the last minute. They rarely cross the channel to raid anything other than the highest prizes in the UK, but vigourously defend their CIC***s at home, just like their lorry drivers do at Calais!

This weekend the French team selections have been at Haras Du Pin for some last minute practice, and Laurent Bouquet (French National Coach) is very pleased with what he's seen, and so he should be 7 Frenchmen in the top ten after cross country, and in good company with the likes of Clayton Fredericks, Mark Todd, Paul Tapner and a host of others from numerous nations also competing - that's a pretty good result!

Nicholas Touzaint is the man in form and heads the CIC***W at Du Pin after cross Country, which the French rate as a good test run for Kentucky due to similarities in terrain. It seems Emily Baldwin picked up a few time penalties dropping her off the top slot she held after Dressage. I'd be surprised if she were able to regain this as Touzaint is very cautious in the Show Jumping as he proved at Badminton in 2008 when he became the first Frenchman to win, even if he did have a rail.

Anyway, the French always fair well in the big championships, whilst we don't see a great deal of them in the UK or US, they're not ones to dismiss lightly, real stalking horses. I suppose the only reason I might pass them over would perhaps be their record of travelling outside of Europe, they've done well in Europeans and Worlds, but as WEG hasn't been outside Europe until this year we haven't really seen the French consistently shine outside Continental Europe. I going to leave any further analysis of the French for another week or two, but survice to say, if Touzaint doesn't make it to the Alltech World Equestrian Games, there's bound to be a storming of the Bastille!

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