While the FEI Longines World Cup Grand Prix of Zurich was won last Sunday by a relatively unknown young woman, the 27-year-old Stephanie Holmen of Sweden, will the Bordeaux leg, held Saturday from 8.30 pm, still stay the private turf of men? Bordeaux remains, with the Olympics, the only major event, not yet won by a woman in 40 years.
Yet in all major national federations, women constitute between 70 to 90 % of the registered riders. But the closer we get to the international level, the more this proportion tends to be reversed: currently 0% of women in the world’s top 10 and 10% in the top 30! However, women have managed on several occasions to win at the highest level: they have been European champions (twice), World champion (once), winners of the World Cup (7 times in 40 years, three times for Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum who was the only woman to be world No. 1) and have, one day or another, won every Grand Prix of the Earth, including Aachen and Calgary. All except … Bordeaux’s World Cup!
No European female rider in the final?
This remains the eternal question: will the Bordeaux stronghold give a way this year to the female push? This year, only five women, out of forty qualified, will be at the start of the Jumping International Bordeaux. The game is not going to be easy for these ladies. The best candidate probably is Australian Edwina Tops-Alexander who finished 2017 on a victory (La Coruña) and a second place (London) in World Cup Grand Prix. Currently third in the European League’s ranking, she is the only female rider so far qualified for the final of the AccorHotels Arena Paris Bercy (10 to 15 April). Which means that today, no European female rider is qualified for Paris. And it will be very complicated because the first woman in the ranking shows up at the 31st place: Stephanie Holmen, with only 20 points from her victory in Zurich. And the Swedish federation did not think that it would be useful to send her to Bordeaux, preferring Irma Karlsson, who, however, has no chance to go to the final because she does not have any points yet.
Will Pénélope Leprévost do it?
The public of Bordeaux would really like a performance by Penelope Leprévost. The Normand has only 10 points and appears in 49th place. Suffice to say that Bercy is finished, or almost. Unless she does a big performance in Bordeaux (she would be, for example, the first woman in history to win the World Cup Grand Prix); performance that she will have to confirm at the end of the month in Gothenburg. Pénélope Leprévost is generally very successful in Bordeaux where she has already won the Grand Prix Land Rover and despite this small drop of performance, it is her who, after Edwina Tops-Alexander, has the best chance of disturbing the men Saturday (20H30) in Bordeaux.
While waiting for this major meeting of the weekend, the Jumping International and the Horse show of Bordeaux will open tomorrow morning from 10 am. On the field, amateur races, at 4.30 pm, the opening of the field to the best riders in the world for the warm-up, then, after the class reserved for stallions, (the Bordeaux Young Sires Masters at 7.30pm), the show given by the Alexis Gruss family, “l’Art de la piste”. A first day already full of emotions.