It was the French national anthem that rang out at the end of the second competition on the opening day of Jumping Verona 2022 this afternoon when Julien Anquetin and the 10-year-old gelding Cesus de Fougnard claimed pole position in the Banca Passadore Speed. There were two retirements and two eliminations in the strong field of 44 starters, but 15 horse-and-rider partnerships cleared Uliano Vezzani’s 13-fence course and French riders claimed four of the top ten places. Anquetin’s winning time of 62.48 seconds left the 30-year-old rider well ahead of Belgian runner-up Wilm Vermeir and his 13-year-old stallion Joyride S who crossed the line in 64.14, while world number four, The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders, slotted into third with the 14-year-old grey mare Une de l’Othain when posting a time of 64.31. Simon Delestre, the French star who won the feature Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier at Verona last year and who currently lies seventh in the world rankings, finished fourth with Iniesta V followed by Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts (Khan vd Kattevennen Z) in fifth and Ireland’s Denis Lynch (GC Chopin’s Bushi) in sixth. Delestre’s compatriots, Jeanne Sadran (Unforgettable Damvil) and Kevin Staut (Scuderia 1918 Viking d’La Rousserie) slotted into seventh and tenth places respectively.