18 December 2012 – The Rolex One to Watch for December 2012 is awarded to Aleš Opatrný (CZE), who trains at JS Opatrný Hořovice (CZE). During the month of November, the 31-year-old jumped from 355th to 238th – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 117 places.
Opatrný was born on 18 September 1981 in Hořovice (CZE), where he grew up on his family’s ranch, which has a 100-stable capacity and is situated approximately 60km south west of Prague (CZE). When he was two years old, Opatrný was introduced to riding by his father, Václav, who was a successful Eventing rider and triple champion of the Czech Republic. Equestrianism is unquestionably the Opatrný family’s main focus and they have been breeding horses as far back as 1924.
Opatrný cites January 2012’s joint Rolex One to Watch winner, German rider René Tebbel, as the Jumper that he admires most and he believes Tebbel has been the greatest inspiration in his career. His drive to succeed stemmed from his memorable victory in the 2000 FEI Young Riders European Championship, Hartpury (GBR), which he won with his dark bay stallion, Kris Kentaur. Opatrný’s motivation is to one day compete for his national team at the Olympic Games and to also climb the Rolex Rankings as high as he possibly can.
The Czech rider’s notable results during November 2012 all came at the CSI3*-W Leszno (POL). Riding his grey gelding, Nobel, Opatrný finished third in the competition’s Medium Round Final class; fourth with his chestnut stallion, Zandiro in the 1.50m Big Round class; fifth riding Zandiro in the 1.45m Big Round class; and second with Nobel in the 1.50m Big Round class. Opatrný’s most recent noteworthy result came at the CSI2* Celje (SLO) where he finished fifth in the Grand Prix with Zandiro.
On his two Grand Prix horses, Nobel and Zandiro, Opatrný commented, “They are talented jumpers and both of them have been performing better and better all season. At the CSI3*-W Leszno (POL) they both felt in prime condition and I thoroughly enjoyed riding them.”
Opatrný continued, “Nobel is my father’s horse and he has a fantastic temperament, so he is perfect for competitions against the clock. Zandiro was found for me by my friend, Armin Himmelreich, and I bought him this summer. He is blind in one eye but this doesn’t seem to bother him at all! My plan over the next six months is to prepare Zandiro for the FEI European Championships in Herning, Denmark in August 2013.”
The Rolex One to Watch is an initiative which identifies the rider who has made the biggest jump within or into the Top 250 of the Rolex Rankings the previous month.
January 2013’s Rolex One to Watch will be announced at the beginning of January 2013.
To view the Rolex Rankings online, please click here.
• Christian Ahlmann (GER) is currently ranked number one in the Rolex Rankings and therefore holds the Green & Gold armband which bears the words “Number 1, Rolex Rankings”.
• Christian Ahlmann shall wear the Green & Gold in all competitions whilst he is the Number 1 ranked rider in the Rolex Rankings.
• The Rolex Rankings are the only official guide to excellence in Jumping recognised by the FEI, and the Green & Gold has been devised for equestrian fans at events, and for those watching on TV internationally, to instantly recognise the world’s best/leading rider.
• The Rolex Rankings are updated monthly and issued at the start of each calendar month. For more information on the Rolex Rankings and to download the latest standings please visit the Jumping section of the FEI website at www.fei.org.
For further information please contact:
Rod Kohler, Revolution Sports