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Wednesday 19 June 2024

A passion for horses knows no boundaries. Capucine Gerfaud-Valentin, a veterinary student at UniLaSalle Rouen, proved this by qualifying for the final at the first race of the Championnat des Grandes Écoles at Longchamp!   

A top-level competition for student riders

The Championnat des Grandes Écoles is a horseracing competition reserved for students at France's grandes écoles. Organized by the Club des Gentlemen Riders and France Galop, it gives young enthusiasts the chance to ride at the Temple du Galop (as the riders are known) and compete against the best amateur jockeys. Capucine, who initially specialized in CSO (Concours de Saut d'Obstacles), was selected a few months ago to be part of this new adventure: she tells us why she decided to take part:  

"For the challenge, but also to discover something new. I didn't know the world of racing at all, and I want to discover all the worlds linked to the horse world, because after my veterinary training, I'd like to go into that. What's more, with this competition, you're immediately thrown into a high-level competition, so it was also a real sporting challenge." 

For several months now, Capucine has been organizing her daily life as a veterinary student and rider with an iron fist. In addition to group training sessions and meetings with professionals, she continues her intensive training (races, physical preparation, mechanical horse ...), in Deauville, at the Écuries de Jean-Claude Rouget, the n°1 trainer in France in 2023, no less, and under the guidance of Jean-Bernard Roth.  

The stress of competition

Despite her show jumping experience, Capucine was not spared from pre-race stress! Above all, she describes a desire to do well and a stress of the unknown. However, the support of her family, friends and even her teachers, coupled with her love of riding, got the better of her: 

"I enjoyed training so much that I thought it would always be plus, and that I could only learn something else."  

Pesée officielle, Capucine Gerfaud-Valentin - Championnat des Grandes Ecoles 2024
Pesée officielle

The joy of victory

Capucine crossed the finish line in her yellow jersey and was delighted to qualify for the final on July 13: 

"Legs cut off! Too happy, the first thing I thought as I crossed the line: I look to the left, I see there are 3 of us at the front, and the others are further back. So that means I'm qualified and will have the right to race again, and so to experience this again, it's incredible!" 

Capucine dans le trio de tête - Championnat des Grandes Ecoles 2024
Capucine dans le trio de tête !
Capucine et ses proches après la course
Capucine était entourée de sa famille, ses amis et deux enseignantes vétérinaires, tous venues la soutenir pour l'occasion !

The young apprentice jockey is already back in training and preparing for the final!

At the same time, Margaux Boyer and Laura Carpentier, students at UniLaSalle Beauvais, who are also taking part in the competition, are also training for their qualifying race on June 13, wearing sky-blue and grey coats respectively.  

We wish our three young students the best of luck for these upcoming races in the Championnat des Grandes Écoles!


Photo credit : The Soft Horse