Day one is a thriller at Piazza di Siena 2023

CSIO Rome – Piazza di Siena 2023

by Louise Parkes for Equi Equipe

A super-fast round from young British star Jodie Hall McAteer and Kimosa van het Kritahof in the 1.50m ENI Speed class brought the first day the 90th edition of CSIO Rome – Piazza di Siena 2023 to a thrilling close this evening.

The 23-year-old was the third first-timer to taste victory in Rome today, following Brazil’s Pedro Veniss who won the Jump-Off competition staged at the Gallopotio in the morning riding Cadum de Champloue, and world number two Julien Epaillard from France who partnered Dubai de Soie to pin Hall McAteer and Catoki into runner-up spot in the MAG Two-Phase.

It was quite a day for Hall McAteer, but this cool character took it all in her stride. “It can’t get better!”, she said this evening before climbing onboard for her second prizegiving ceremony.

Great Britain’s Jodie Hall McAteer and Kimosa van het Kritahof

Game of two halves

This competition was literally a game of two halves however, with biblical rain changing the grass footing which held up superbly but was very different to the dry going experienced by the first tranche of riders.

A storm arrived just as a 10-minute arena maintenance break began after the first 34 of the 68 competing horse and rider combinations had taken their turn. By then Hall-McAteer had set the target at a fast 64.52 seconds and, at the end of the day, that just could not be beaten while Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts and Dhalida Diamant vd Krekebeke Z who were fifth-last to go before the break held on to second place with their time of 66.14.

Thunder and lightning rolled in, but the early riders in the second half still took their turn before rain completely stopped play. However even when the sky cleared and a more peaceful climate returned it just wasn’t possible to match the pace set in the first half, although Hall McAteer’s compatriot Ben Maher gave it his best shot.

Great Britain’s Tim Gredley and the stallion Guestlist battled gallantly with the torrential rain to pick up just a single time penalty

The reigning Olympic champion has only just returned to top sport following a nasty fall three months ago but he has clearly lost none of his focus, setting out at a determined rate with the 14-year-old gelding Exit Remo and only hampered in his bid to oust the two ahead of him by a slip on the turn to the Loro Piana vertical at fence six.

Crossing the line in 66.36 he finished third ahead of Austria’s Gerfried Puck and Equitron Melody vd Smidshoeve (67.25) in fourth, last man into the ring Omar Karaevli from Turkey riding Maurice in fifth (67.43) and Switzerland’s Bryan Balsiger and Chelsea Z in sixth (68.45).

Great start

“This has been a great start to the show for me and I’m delighted!”, Hall McAteer said. “I’ve had this mare three years and she’s a super horse, she’s really brave and competitive and she knows her job now and she’s been amazing for me. She has jumped 1.60m before but she’s not a Peppa! (comparing her to her top ride Salt’n Peppa). For these classes and to be a second horse for him she is super”, she pointed out.

In 2020 she was selected for the prestigious Young Riders Academy, and as part of the programme received a six-month training scholarship with the Schroeder brothers Ben, Wim and Gerco in Tubbergen in The Netherlands. She was given the opportunity to stay a little longer, then went back home to England but has returned to train with Ben and is operating out of Holland now.

“I’ve been back there since January and Ben has been a massive help to me”, she said. Her coach will be a happy man tonight.


Meanwhile three-time Olympian Veniss was also delighted with his opening-class win, and to be successful on his very first visit to CSIO Rome. “I have competed more or less all over the world, but there is no particular reason why I have not been here before. So I was delighted with the invitation to be in Rome on this occasion and to represent Brazil in the Nations Cup”, the 40-year-old rider said.

Pedro Veniss BRA Cadum de Champloue © foto di Simone Ferraro / Sport e Salute

And Frenchman Julien Epaillard, who has been in flying form for quite some time now, was also feeling quite pleased with himself on making such a strong debut at Piazza di Siena.

“I had already won five competitions in Rome, but only at the Global Champions Tour, first at the Foro Italico and then at the Circus Maximus. Dubai de Soie produced a good performance today which is also important considering tomorrow’s Nations Cup”, he said.

The French will be defending the title they won in last year’s Intesa Sanpaolo Nations Cup and, drawn second-last to go of the 10 competing countries, they are likely to be tough nuts to crack. They have lifted the Rome Nations Cup title on 19 occasions since it was first contended back in 1926 andthey know what it takes.

Julien Epaillard FRA and Dubai de Soie ©Simone Ferrero

The order-of-go for tomorrow’s competition which begins at 14.30 local time is: 1, Switzerland; 2, Germany; 3, Italy; 4, Sweden;  5, Ireland; 6, Brazil; 7, Great Britain; 8, Belgium; 9, France; 10, Netherlands.