Julien Epaillard takes the Stoneleigh Stakes with a sizzling round on Cristallo

Guy Williams almost made it three! After taking HOYS by storm on Friday with two spectacular wins, he galloped into an early lead in the Stoneleigh Stakes, which carried world ranking points, with the equally eager Titus. But Frenchman Julien Epaillard on the ultra-speedy Cristallo A LM incredibly wiped almost two sec from the time for victory.

Ten jumped clear in round one to go forward to a jump-off with a twist – a take your own line over six fences of your choice, but must include one double with the finish line across the centre of the arena and judged under Table C rules with two secs added to each fence knocked down.

Early drawn Guy typically set a sizzling standard with a tight turn back to an oxer to immediately cross the finish line. Other rides challenged with different tracks, but none came within 1.25 sec – until fast Frenchman Julien.

Julien and the amazingly agile Casall/Corofino I 12-year-old Cristallo followed a similar track to Guy, but Julien chose a more approachable vertical as his final fence. It was a longer gallop to the finish, but the change of route paid dividends – the pair crossed the line with 1.91 sec in hand.

“I changed my course to the last fence after watching Guy, it was quicker,” said Julien, who pocketed £7,359 for the win.

Guy had to settle for second place with the Lancelot 16-year-old Titus, but Kent man, who is now based near Deauville, France, has enjoyed a tremendous show so far. Second in the Grandstand Welcome Stakes on Titus, Guy went on to win the JMA Trophy on Casper De Muze and the Five Fence Challenge aboard Depardieu Van’ T Kiezelhof.

Robert Smith slotted Cimano E, a Unaniem nine-year-old, into third 1.26 sec behind Guy. Belgium’s Karel Cox took fourth on Cor Van De Wateringhoeve and Brits filled the next three places. James Smith took fifth on new ride Bolton Gate Ben, Anna Power filled sixth spot on Blazer B and Nicole Pavitt rode Shahenaz into seventh.

Photos © Jumping Around