12 March 2018, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands – The Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters is one of the four equestrian Majors that form the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, and is one of the most prestigious Grand Prix on the international circuit.
Re-live the excitement from the four-day competition at one of the world’s leading indoor venues, as the finest riders compete for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix.
Niels Bruynseels is the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender following a sensational performance in the Rolex Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters, one of the four Majors that make up the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
Under the spotlights of the Brabanthal arena, the world’s best horse and rider combinations battled for the pinnacle prize of the weekend, all vying to start their Rolex Grand Slam journey.
The 13 riders through to the jump-off included Great Britain’s Scott Brash, the only rider so far to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, putting extra pressure on the competitors. Eighth to go, Marcus Ehning, raised the bar with a speedy clear round in 37.80 secs, but it was Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels who shifted the pace up a gear to clinch the victory and his first ever Major in 37.10 secs.
1st Place: NIELS BRUYNSEELS (BEL)
2016 and 2017 Stephex Rolex Grand Prix Winner
Horse: Gancia De Muze, a 12-year-old bay mare
2nd Place: MARCUS EHNING (GER)
Winner of 3 Majors & Olympic Gold Medallist
Horse: Cornado NRW, a 15-year-old grey stallion
3rd Place: HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED)
World Number 2
Horse: Emerald, A 14-year-old chestnut stallion
Winners Interview with Niels Bruynseels
How does it feel to win your first Major?
“This has to be one of my biggest victories. I don’t even have the words to say how much it means to me. This show has always been great, but the support of Rolex has made it even better and it is an honour for me to come here and compete against the best riders in the world. The atmosphere in the arena was incredible; it was a very special moment for me.”
Your Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping campaign has started; is CHIO Aachen going to be your focus now?
“Aachen is certainly the next stop for me. The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the biggest prize in our sport and I hope I can come to Germany in July and repeat what I have achieved here.”
Do you feel that the course lived up to the Rolex Grand Prix standard?
“I think the team of course designers did a very good job; it was a tough course but good for the horses. There were 13 in the jump-off which is nice for the crowd and created top competition.”
And what about your horse – has she done you proud today?
“My horse was a superstar today. I cannot thank her enough. She always tries her best for me and I couldn’t be happier with her performance this afternoon. I think I was at advantage going last in the jump-off. I was able to see all the other riders go before me and where the course was difficult. I had a plan in my head; I knew I would need a fast ride, and Grancia exceeded all expectations; she is a special horse for sure.”
Words from the Course Designer, Louis Konickx
Talk to us about the process of designing such an important course like a Rolex Grand Prix.
“We first came up with the ideas and concept three weeks ago. My assistant and I are in constant communication, always bouncing ideas off each other; it is a team effort. Because the arena is bigger this year, we added longer combinations and more related distances. It is also very important to make sure you have the right number of verticals and oxers because if you are too defensive and have too many hard oxers, it asks too much of the horse and will not get the desired number of clear rounds. It needs to be challenging… but achievable.”
Are there any particular tricky parts you put in?
“Yes, but we wanted to make sure that there was a variety for the different types of horses.”
“If you just build big oxers, it challenges the horses that don’t have scope but is easy for the horses that do, so it is vital that we have diversity which will ultimately produce the best competition.”
“In all cases we are wanting to test the tuning between horse and rider and their ability to work together in a partnership; that is what we are searching for as course designers.”
Is there more pressure on you now that this Rolex Grand Prix is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?
“Yes, there is certainly more pressure! Most of it comes from the riders; they really want to win this class and go after the Rolex Grand Slam which means we need to make sure the course gives them the opportunity to compete at the best of their ability. Now that this is part of the Rolex Grand Slam there is more at stake than just the result of this Grand Prix.”
What makes you passionate about your role?
“Every day and every event are different. I have particularly enjoyed this year at the Dutch Masters as we have designed a lot of new fences and have created a sense of the Netherlands within that. We have focused on Dutch artists, for example Van Gogh, who we think represents a ‘Dutch Master’. We have also designed fences to represent the Dutch fruit, all small touches that I think make the course extra special.”
Behind the Scenes with Lorenzo De Luca, Number One Italian Rider
Who do you think is your biggest competitor on Sunday?
“There were some great performances yesterday. I think Philipp Weishaupt is looking very good, of course Daniel Deusser was on top form last night and Luciana Diniz has been riding really well so far this year.”
“It is going to be a very tough competition as there are a lot of good riders in the line-up!”
Do you have any superstitions before you compete?
“Not really. I just stay relaxed and keep my horse nice and quiet; he is very sensitive, so I need to be calm for him. I just focus on my horse, myself and that’s it!”
What advice can you give to young riders who aspire to be in your position one day?
“My best advice would be ‘to not go too quick!’ That can cause all sorts of problems. My second piece of advice is to keep learning and growing. The Show Jumping world is such a magical place, every horse and every rider is different, so you can always expand your knowledge of the sport.”
Thoughts on the course Sunday?
“It is going to be hard! Last year I remember the course was very difficult, and now the prize money has been increased and it is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping; the competition is going to be tougher than ever. I think the crowds are in for a treat!”
Behind the Stable Door with Sean Lynch, Daniel Deusser’s Groom
Who is Daniel riding in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday?
“He is riding Cornet D’Amour on Sunday, a really special horse with a very big character. He is very sensitive to noise and when there’s lots of it; he’s not the easiest to control but he is one of the nicest horses to be around. All my horses are nice and normal though, so I never have a problem with them.”
What is the horse’s routine immediately after a big competition like the Rolex Grand Prix at a Major?
“We wash them down and give them some hay, so they can relax and cool down. We put the ice boots on and then follow up with the spa boots and as soon as they are dry we put a massage blanket on for 45 minutes! The massage blanket is amazing and has different programmes, so we usually put it on the programme designed for back treatment relief if they have jumped a big class. Cornet gets more spa treatments than any of us do!”
Are you and Daniel thinking about the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?
“I am hoping that Sunday goes well and then we can really start to focus on the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.”
“It has made show jumping more interesting for the riders and the public, and it is certainly the thing that riders talk about wanting to win the most.”
“So, if we have success in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday we will be planning our schedule around the next Majors for sure.”
How do you cope with the pressure of a Rolex Grand Prix? Does Daniel feel the pressure?
“I do feel the pressure a bit! I have to do my job well enough to make sure Daniel has the best chance on Sunday. We have to work together to make sure the horse is fit and is in peak condition. With Cornet D’Amour I always get quite nervous, especially when he has won a class already like he did in the Grand Prix qualifier last night. Sometimes I just stay quiet for the whole day and don’t talk to anyone!”
“Daniel is Mr. Cool! He doesn’t let the pressure get to him; he knows what he needs to do and does the job. For me he is one of the best riders around, very relaxed and very calm.”
The Audi Prize, and second qualifier of the Rolex Grand Prix, provided an evening of world-class entertainment in the Brabanthal arena, with only five of the 41 starters jumping clear in the first round. Maikel Van Der Vleuten was third to go in the jump-off, navigating the course in a nimble fashion to produce the winning round of the night.
1st Place: MAIKEL VAN DER VLEUTEN (NED)
World number 11
Horse: Arera C, a 13-year-old bay mare
2nd Place: JOHNNY PALS (NED)
One of the top Dutch riders
Horse: Chat Botte Du Ruisseau Z, a 10-year-old chestnut stallion
02 March 2018, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands – After a thrilling end to the 2017 international equestrian season at the CHI Geneva, with Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington securing the Rolex Grand Prix at the event for the first time, all eyes now turn to The Netherlands where many of the world’s best riders will congregate on 08-11 March, for the new first Major of the year.
Since its founding more than 50 years ago, The Dutch Masters has focused on delivering elite-level sport alongside a rich tradition and love of horses. In 2017, The Dutch Masters (formerly Indoor Brabant) welcomed 60,000 spectators across four days of competition, as the sports elite riders contested the Rolex Grand Prix, the competition highlight. Such commitment to outstanding equestrian sport and a passion for excellence reflect Rolex values, and in 2014 the leading Swiss watch brand extended its long-term partnership with the event, enhancing its position as one of the most esteemed indoor shows on the calendar.
This shared approach to the pursuit of perfection has been globally recognized, and in 2017 it was announced that The Dutch Masters would join equestrian sport’s most coveted competition, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, as the fourth Major in the cyclical calendar. It now sits beside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva. As such, the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in 2018 will draw the world’s best riders attempting to emulate the achievement of Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash, who in 2015 became the only rider to have won this most sought-after prize to date.
THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX
A demanding course is expected at the sport’s toughest Majors, and The Dutch Masters will be no exception. Having co-designed with Gérard Lachat (SUI) the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Louis Konickx (NED) is welcomed back for Sunday’s highlight competition. “I have designed a technically exacting course with the intention of testing these riders within one of the best indoor arenas around the globe,” Konickx said.
After his victory at the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva, Rolex Testimonee Kevin Staut is well placed to contest for the Rolex Grand Prix. “It’s always a difficult course when designed by Louis, but I look forward to taking the challenge on and will do my best to repeat my winning success here in 2014.”
Along with the roster of elite show jumpers contesting the Rolex Grand Prix, The Dutch Masters will also host the world’s top dressage riders as they compete for title places in the World Cup and World Cup freestyle competitions. Numbered among these outstanding athletes is Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth. With a trophy cabinet overflowing with Olympic, World and European Championship medals, the knowledgeable Dutch crowd is always excited to see the German maestro in action.
ROLEX TESTIMONEES SET TO COMPETE AT ‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH
The Rolex family of Testimonees has been victorious in the Grand Prix four times since 2003, the most recent being French rider and world number four Kevin Staut, who claimed the Rolex Grand Prix in 2014 riding Silvana*HDC.
Canada’s Eric Lamaze will travel from his winter base in Florida, USA for the competition. With a string of successes already at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington (Florida), it would appear Lamaze is in prime form to take up the challenge.
The crowd will welcome the return also of homegrown hero Jeroen Dubbeldam. As reigning World Champion and a former European Champion, Dubbeldam and SFN Zenith are a formidable partnership.
Rolex’s newest Equestrian Testimonee, Martin Fuchs, and youngest, Bertram Allen, will also be entering their top mounts for the competition. Fuchs will be one of two Swiss riders from the Rolex family of Testimonees, with Steve Guerdat journeying to the Dutch show with his mare Bianca XXXIV. Guerdat was recently voted Rider of the Year 2017 and Bianca XXXIV Horse of the Year 2017 in Switzerland.
British show jumper Brash will head to The Dutch Masters looking to further enhance his revered status in the sport.
The Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, regarded as the most esteemed indoor Grand Prix on the global equestrian circuit, was won by Rolex Testimonee and World Number One Kent Farrington aboard Gazelle. Sweden’s Henrik Von Eckermann was second aboard Mary Lou 194 and Gregory Wathelet from Belgium riding Coree placed third.
Some 10,000 equestrian fans walked into the iconic Palexpo venue, brimming with excitement and tension as they waited for the famed curtains to open, marking the start of the most anticipated class of the four-day show, the Rolex Grand Prix.
40 horse and rider combinations had qualified to enter the iconic indoor arena at the CHI Geneva and in doing so, tackle an imposing first round course (and subsequent jump-off) designed by renowned international show jumping course designers, Gérard Lachat and Louis Konickx.
Clear rounds were hard to come by and the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Philipp Weishaupt, was unable to continue his journey in attempting to lift the most coveted trophy in the sport, as he collected nine faults in round one.
From the first 25 riders who braved the course, including Rolex Testimonees Jeroen Dubbeldam, Eric Lamaze, Bertram Allen and Steve Guerdat, none could master a clear round. It became evident that it would take an exacting and precise round to finish with a score of zero. Last year’s winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Pedro Veniss from Brazil, produced the first seemingly clear round, until the clock stopped just over the allocated time and he collected one unlucky time fault.
A clean score was finally achieved by The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders, shortly followed by Henrik Von Eckermann and Gregory Wathelet. The crowd hushed to near silence as USA’s Kent Farrington entered into the arena, shortly displaying why he is the very best rider in the sport right now, producing a foot perfect round over the 13 obstacles. Cian O’Connor from Ireland completed the list of five riders progressing through to the second-round jump-off of the final Major of the year.
A revised course was presented to these elite athletes, reducing the course to eight obstacles. Harrie Smolders was first to go, setting the bar high with a clear round in just 46.89 seconds. This was fractionally beaten by Von Eckermann, who sped through the finishing gate with a time of 45.59. Wathelet was unable to challenge this, leaving it to Farrington and O’Connor. In true Farrington style, he sped through the course on the tightest of turns as the Geneva crowd sat on the edges of their seats, erupting in a cacophony of noise as the clock was stopped on 44.96 seconds, taking the World Number One into the lead. Cian O’Connor was last to go but despite giving everything, his brave grey horse Fibonacci just clipped one pole at the fourth fence, handing the victory to Rolex Testimonee, Kent Farrington.
After eight months as World Number One, Farrington concluded an emphatic year as the World Number One and now embarks on his very own Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey.
Commenting after his victory, Farrington said, “I’m still in shock and I can’t believe that it’s over and that we walk away with a win. I thought my horse was great today and with this win being part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, I will definitely be heading to The Dutch Masters in 2018.
“The riders are so strong here and you have the best horses in the world. With a large arena it can be difficult to set an indoor style course and in today’s sport, with as well as everyone rides, they have to make the time short. I knew it was going to be tough when I saw the course and I am so pleased with the result.”
05 July 2017, Aachen, Germany – Elite competitors and world-class show jumping will be on display at CHIO Aachen this July, as the sport’s leading riders compete in the first equestrian Major of the year.
Each summer over 360,000 spectators travel to the iconic equestrian venue in West Germany to watch five disciplines of equestrian sport over 10 days; this includes dressage, eventing, driving, vaulting and show jumping. Hailed as the world’s greatest equine sporting exhibition, the historic CHIO Aachen is one of the calendar year’s most highly anticipated events.
The competition will culminate on Sunday 23 July with the highlight of the show, the Rolex Grand Prix. As part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping the pinnacle of CHIO Aachen will be played out in front of a full house in the main jumping arena, a spectator setting which accommodates over 40,000 fans. Part of the magic of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen can be attributed to the notorious difficulty of the jumping efforts, designed by world-famous Frank Rothenberger. Generally considered the most demanding course for show jumping athletes, the competing horse and rider combinations will strive to be crowned the coveted champion by producing a faultless performance over the 1.60m 5* track.
Having taken the top spot in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in December last year, Brazil’s Pedro Veniss will be seeking his second consecutive Major to keep his Grand Slam dream alive.
ROLEX AND CHIO AACHEN
Rolex prides itself on its long standing partnerships at the pinnacle of the sport. 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of Pat Smythe becoming Rolex’s first equestrian Testimonee, an example of an exceptional athlete who laid the foundations for the enduring relationship between Rolex and the world’s finest competitions and Testimonees that is thriving today.
CHIO Aachen is a shining example of that flourishing relationship. The affiliation between Rolex and Aachen has continued to go from strength-to-strength since ties were first made in 1999.
Rolex Director of Communication & Image, Arnaud Boetsch, said: “As Rolex celebrates 60 years in equestrianism we remain dedicated to one of the greatest equestrian shows of the calendar year. Like Rolex, Aachen is an iconic institution symbolising both heritage and world class performance.”
SHOW JUMPING’S SUPREME COMPETITION
Established collectively in 2013 by CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has been extended to four Majors with the inclusion of The Dutch Masters in 2018. Riders will now have the chance to win the coveted title at four events across the show jumping year while keeping the same format of needing to win three consecutive Majors to claim the Grand Slam title.
In 2017 the world’s best will be hoping to replicate the achievement of Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash, the British rider who made history in 2015 by winning every consecutive Grand Slam Event, the first ever rider to do so.
Brash remarked: “Every rider wants to be part of the Rolex Grand Slam and have the opportunity to try and win the most coveted prize in our sport. Aachen is a highlight of the year and everyone will be heading to the first equestrian Major with one aim: to win.”
ROLEX EQUESTRIAN TESTIMONEES AT CHIO AACHEN – PAST AND PRESENT
Rolex understands that to produce one’s very best, precision is of the utmost importance. This attention to detail that can be found in abundance amongst its sporting affiliates, not least its equestrian Testimonees.
The equestrian athletes who perform at the highest level must hone their craft so that they can execute to such a finely tuned detail under immense pressure and when the stakes are at their highest.
The Grand Prix (named Rolex Grand Prix since 1999) at CHIO Aachen has an illustrious list of previous winners not least the legendary father and son duo of Nelson and Rodrigo Pessoa, Rolex’s longest serving equestrian Testimonee. Alongside Rodrigo, Canada’s two-time Individual gold medal winner, Eric Lamaze, the ‘first lady’ of German show jumping, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, and Dutch hero Jeroen Dubbeldam have all taken the title spot here.
American Olympian and current World Number One Kent Farrington will be looking to continue his fine form at Aachen after being crowned champion at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the Rolex Grand Prix, for the second year running.
With recent victory in the CSIO 5* FEI Nations cup in La Baule, Kevin Staut will be a keen contender for the title prize. Swiss rider Steve Guerdat and Rolex’s youngest Testimonee Bertram Allen will both be travelling to Germany to challenge their international rivals.
Rolex’s most decorated dressage Testimonee, World and Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth has won Aachen’s dressage Grand Prix an outstanding 10 times. As runner-up in last year’s event expect her to be at her best as she attempts to claim a coveted 11th title in the breathtaking 6,300 seater Deutsche Bank Stadium.
Wellington, FL – April 1, 2017 – Equestrian Sport Productions is pleased to announce that the five-star event from the eleventh week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, April 1, at 4:30 p.m. ET. Watch live or set your DVR – don’t miss this grand prix action!
The $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, which was held on March 25, features the world’s best show jumpers in one of the most anticipated events of the season at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
The broadcast is a great opportunity for fans from all over the country to watch the best equestrian sport in the United States and for sports fans of all types to become familiar with equestrian athletes from the U.S. and abroad. Use the NBC Sports Network Channel Finder to find NBC Sports Network in your area, and tune in!
Please visit www.pbiec.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.
25 March 2017, Wellington, USA – Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya riding Charmeur took title place on the podium in the Rolex Grand Prix, the highlight of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
After a sun-drenched day and spectacular sunset, the bright lights of the arena were illuminated, ready to welcome 40 of the world’s best horse and rider combinations, from 17 nations, to contend for one of the world’s toughest 5* Grand Prix. The passionate crowd was treated to a typically demanding course set by the world-famous course designer, Guilherme Jorge. The technicality of the course proved too much for many of the elite riders. From the first 20 combinations to go, there was only one clear round to count for, and in total, only five riders proceeded through to the jump-off.
Although Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington rode to victory earlier in the day, fortune was not on his side in the Rolex Grand Prix. A tense crowd hushed to near silence ready to cheer on the home favourite, until the very last rail was gently rolled from its bracket by a stray hind foot.
Rolex’s newest Testimonee Jeroen Dubbeldam also suffered an unlucky four faults, halting his chances of reaching the jump-off. However, his quick time placed him in an eventual ninth place. Despite a valiant effort from Rolex’s longest serving equestrian Testimonee, Rodrigo Pessoa, he was also unable to progress through to the jump-off.
Karen Polle from Japan was the first rider to enter the arena for the jump-off and set an impressive time of 39.54 seconds, although unfortunately knocked a pole, incurring four faults. Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya aboard Charmeur was next to go and recorded an incredibly fast time of 37.76 with no faults, putting pressure on the remaining three American riders left to go. USA’S Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut were unable to challenge Alvarez Moya, leaving it up to McLain Ward, a home favourite and current world number four. Even after a daring round, Ward’s time could not beat the triumphant Spanish rider, who claimed the Grand Prix by just eight hundredths of a second.
Speaking after his win, Alvarez Moya commented, “I’m delighted with how my horse jumped; it’s the Grand Prix everyone wants to win. The Rolex Grand Prix is the final and biggest of the circuit. I couldn’t have finished the Winter Equestrian Festival in a better way.”
Kent Farrington and Dublin Top $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final; McLain Ward Takes 1.50m Series Overall
Wellington, FL – March 25, 2017 – Olympian Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) was the big winner in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* riding Charmeur on Saturday, March 25, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Alvarez Moya beat out two-time Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) aboard veteran partner Rothchild, and young up-and-comer Karen Polle of Japan riding With Wings.
Earlier in the night, Kent Farrington (USA) took the win in the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final riding Dublin, and McLain Ward (USA) won the 2017 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Series overall.
Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the course for the highlight event of the WEF circuit featuring 40 of the season’s top competitors from 17 different countries. Five entries conquered the first round course without fault to jump-off, and only two were clear in the tiebreaker.
Polle and With Wings were first to jump the short course in 39.54 seconds, with one rail down, and ultimately finished third. Alvarez Moya and Charmeur followed, setting the challenge with a clear round in 37.76 seconds. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Coach had one rail in 40.20 seconds to place fifth. Laura Kraut (USA) and St. Bride’s Farm’s Confu also dropped one rail in 39.81 seconds to take the fourth place prize. Last to go, Ward and Sagamore Farm’s Rothchild raced through the course, taking a different inside turn that no one else tried, but still crossed the timers in second place with a time of 38.30 seconds.
“I am super happy. My horse jumped amazing,” Alvarez Moya said of his ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Numero Uno x Gelha’s VDL Emilion). “I just went as fast as I could. I saw Karen go, and then I knew I had to start fast from jump one, and keep going to the end. My plan was to go one more stride to the combination, but I had a good eight strides, and I just trusted my horse. Then to the next oxer I had a good gap as well, so I could go and keep on pushing. I actually saw one stride less to the next vertical, but I thought that was maybe too much. I don’t think I left much room for the others, and it worked out well.”
Alvarez Moya had a fantastic WEF circuit, placing third in week three’s $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* and second in week four’s $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4* with G&C Unicstar de l’Aumone, third in week seven’s $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5* aboard Arrayan, and again third in week nine’s $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5* with Charmeur before taking the biggest prize in week eleven.
Remarking on his success, Alvarez Moya stated, “For me, this is one of the best shows in the world. Most of the best and most competitive riders in the world are here. I think that to have so many weeks here, and to be so consistent, is a great opportunity to bring a horse up like this. I have had Charmeur since he was six years old, and I just feel very happy and very proud that we got to win a five-star grand prix here. I have a feeling that this is the grand prix that every rider in the circuit wants to win, and I was just lucky that I won this one, and not the others.
“The horse does not have so much experience at this level,” Alvarez Moya continued. “He just got better and better here at this show. I think it is a great place to bring horses up, and obviously to jump such a grand prix they have to be really ready. I think from here on, we can go anywhere in the world.”
Saturday night concluded Alvarez Moya’s time in Wellington for the winter circuit. The Olympian, European Championships silver medalist, and reigning Spanish champion is now headed to compete in next week’s FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final with top mount Arrayan before continuing his season in Europe.
For Ward and longtime mount Rothchild, the pair gave it their best on Saturday night, but settled for second place. Detailing his round, Ward stated, “I have to watch (Rothchild) a little bit on the slice to the verticals, so the first two jumps were a bit of a challenge for me. I went in and I looked at the cut inside the gazebo, and I decided not to do it. Then when I turned back on the oxer, I kind of saw the line, and I knew I was too slow one to two to have a chance, so I figured at that point it was worth the risk. I thought maybe at that point, the turn did so much that I did not have to go as fast to the last fence. I took a little bit off, but Sergio did not leave much room.
“I’m thrilled with the horse,” Ward said of the 16-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding (Artos x Elegant de l’Ile). “This is his eighth year jumping grand prixs in Palm Beach. He is just a remarkable animal. I am blessed to have had him, and I am really excited to be able to keep doing it with him.”
Polle and her 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Larino x L. Ronald) With Wings also finished out an excellent 2017 WEF circuit with their top three finish. The pair earned back to back victories in week nine’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup and $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, leading up to Saturday night.
“It is definitely a great feeling,” Polle noted. “I am really happy that Wings and I are so consistent at this level now, and that we are in these jump-offs. I thought the course tonight was really, really tricky. It was definitely the trickiest grand prix that I have jumped this circuit. It was very big. I had to work hard, but I thought it was very nice to ride.”
Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo wrapped up a fantastic evening of show jumping with his remarks and congratulated the top riders.
“I think there is consistently great sport at WEF,” Bellissimo stated. “The crowd has become a lot more engaged, and you can see the people really following the sport. I think there is top sport here, and we are very excited about it.
“I want to thank Rolex,” Bellissimo continued. “This festival went into a different transition when Rolex came on board. We started four five-star events and have some of the best riders in the world competing. I am hopeful that next year will be even more exciting and an even better series of outcomes.”
Margie Engle (USA) earned the Leading Lady Rider Award for week 11, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Farrington Tops Suncast® 1.50m Final; Ward Takes Suncast® Series Overall
2016 U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington and his mount Dublin were the winners of the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final on Saturday night at the Winter Equestrian Festival. After the final competition of the 2017 series, two-time Olympic team gold and one-time team silver medalist McLain Ward (USA) secured his lead in the standings and took home the championship title overall.
The 1.50m final held its first round on Saturday afternoon, with forty-nine entries starting over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) first-round course, and 13 advancing to the evening jump-off. Only four riders cleared both rounds without fault.
Portugal’s Luciana Diniz was first to clear the short course in 44.26 seconds aboard her own and Arnaldo Diniz’s Lennox to end in third place. Ali Wolff cleared the track next in 48.93 seconds riding Quirie 2 to a fourth place finish. Canada’s Tiffany Foster upped the pace in 43.05 seconds with Artisan Farms’ Brighton to place second. Last to go, Farrington took the win in 41.90 seconds with his own and Tanma Corp.’s Dublin.
“I am really excited. I thought the horse went great today; I thought both of my horses did,” Farrington stated following his win, as well as an eighth place finish aboard Sherkan d’Amaury. “I have been bringing them along this winter really slowly. I started them both in the 1.35m and built them up this whole winter. To finish off with them both going clear in the 1.50m final was a great accomplishment for them regardless of their results. The win was a bonus.”
Farrington purchased Dublin, a ten-year-old German Sport Horse (Cobra x Calido), at the start of the winter. The gelding previously showed with Carly Anthony (USA) under the ownership of Artisan Farms.
“He is extremely careful,” Farrington detailed. “He is actually quite difficult to ride. He is so careful that he borderlines on too careful almost, where he goes too high. I think this horse really needs to bond with a rider and have a lot of confidence. I actually carry a lot of speed with him, even in the first round, to give him confidence so that he does not go too high.
“Whether or not he will allow you to really have total control over him, I do not know,” Farrington continued, “but if we can find a good compromise in the middle like today, then I think he has a big future. Time still has to show us, but we are off to a great start, and we will see where it takes us from here.”
Remarking on his jump-off, Farrington added, “I trust that horse’s quality, so I know that I can really go at high speed to the jumps and trust that he is going to miss the rails. I thought he did an incredible roll back to the vertical by the in-gate. I do not think I even touched the reins there; he just flew back on that jump. That is probably where he won it.”
Saturday’s competition brought the overall Suncast® 1.50m Series standings down to the wire, but USA’s McLain Ward held onto his lead coming into the night’s event and earned the championship title for 2017. Ward qualified for the jump-off with two mounts, Tina la Boheme and HH Carlos Z, finishing sixth and seventh in the final class to secure his lead overall.
For his win, Ward was presented a two-year lease on a beautiful new Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE. Ward remarked, “It feels great to win the series. It would have been nice to win the final, but the horses jumped well all winter. I had some nice young ones that really stepped up well. I am really proud of how Tina La Boheme has continued to be a great competitor, and it is nice to have Carlos back. He is still maybe a touch rusty, but close.
“I think it is a great series, a very competitive series,” Ward continued. “These classes are hard. I think it gives an older horse a chance to get going in the season, and it gives a younger horse a class to step up into where hopefully they are not over-faced by the height. I was happy with both of my horses tonight, and we had a nice year.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, David Oberkircher and Southfield Farm’s Castelino van de Helle won the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers. Giavanna Rinaldi topped the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch, aboard Nuvolari Holdings’ Commissario.
Gochman Sisters Prevail in Engel & Völkers Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under
Mimi Gochman captured the championship honors in the Engel & Völkers Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, while her younger sister, Sophie Gochman, earned the reserve title. Both girls show out of Palm Beach, FL. Mimi Gochman piloted Scott Stewart’s Caldwell to the win in the handy and in one over fences trip, to second place finishes under saddle and in the stake round, as well as a sixth place ribbon over fences.
Mimi Gochman and the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding have come a long way over their two years partnered together.
“The first year I rode him, I had some complications getting his leads and stuff,” she detailed. “Now, I have him in a good stride, and he is a very good boy. He is very lazy, and it just took me a while to get things right on him. He tries so hard and is so sweet around the barn. I am really proud of our trips this week and happy that we finally got it right.”
Commenting on the success she has achieved with her sister at WEF, Mimi Gochman said, “It is really nice to do so well down here with my sister. We switch on and off all the time, sometimes she is champion, and today it was my turn. It is nice we share the victory.”
Sophie Gochman guided Garfield, an entry owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, to two second place finishes over fences, a third place ribbon under saddle, and a third place finish in the stake round.
“Garfield is 15, so he really knows what he is doing,” Sophie Gochman said of the chestnut Holsteiner gelding by Coriano. “I can trust him with any distance. He is so sweet and cute, but he can also be a bit of a shark at home and when jogging. I love him a lot! It feels really good to be reserve and have my sister be champion because WEF is a really competitive show, and there are so many good riders here.”
The eleventh week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $50,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 2* in the International Arena. The Visse Wedell, Realtor Small Pony Hunters will determine championship and reserve honors in Ring 11. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
12 March 2017, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands – In one of the most dramatic Grand Prix in Indoor Brabant’s long history, Leopold van Asten riding VDL Groep Zidane N.O.P. today won the Rolex Grand Prix. Established in 1967, and celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, this leading show has a long history of attracting the very best riders, and with 12 of the World’s Top 20 taking part, 2017 proved to be a sporting classic which resulted in Dutch riders also taking second and third place.
The top Grand Prix in the world demand the very highest levels of skill and precision from the riders, and course designer Louis Konickx laid out a technical and challenging first round course which many found difficult to master. Despite the support of the passionate crowd willing each rider to go clear, it was not until the 24th horse and rider combination to enter the ring, home favourite Wout-Jan van der Schans riding Capetown, that they could cheer a faultless round.
From the 40 starters, just seven made it through to the jump-off, a group which included three from the host country, and two in-form Rolex Testimonees, Kevin Staut and Bertram Allen. It was clear from the cheers as the domestic riders entered the arena whom the home crowd was supporting.
First to go was van der Schans. The crowd hushed for the 40.51 seconds that he took to jump his second round of the competition, but that quickly changed to cheers when he went clear. He was followed by Lorenzo de Luca and Bertram Allen, both of whom had poles down. Next into the ring was favourite, Marc Houtzager, who matched van der Schans’ faultless round, but could not match his time. Van Asten followed him and was the first to go clear in a time under 40 seconds, and when the final rider had a pole down and a refusal, the Dutch rider and his home crowd could celebrate the famous victory.
Speaking after his victory, Leopold van Asten said, “It was a tough course, technical, big but it had everything in it. I changed my plan after walking the course, and my horse jumped really well. I could tell in the warm-up that he was in good shape and the first round went great. You have nothing to lose in a jump-off with seven riders, and it went well from the beginning, and I took a risk on the last and jumped it great, and that made me win today.”
ROLEX 60TH ANNIVERSARY IN THE SPORT
This year also marks the 60th anniversary of Rolex’s support of equestrianism. The British rider Pat Smythe became Rolex’s first equestrian Testimonee in 1967 and laid the foundations for the brand’s 60-year association with the world’s finest competitions and riders.
Rolex Testimonees have taken the honours in the Grand Prix at Indoor Brabant on no less than four occasions since 2003. French rider Kevin Staut won the Rolex Grand Prix in 2014; Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum took back-to-back wins in 2005 and 2006; while Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa and the legendary Baloubet du Rouet jumped to victory in 2003.
This year, five Testimonees were competing for the Grand Prix prize, home favourite Jeroen Dubbeldam, Kevin Staut from France, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, winner of the Rolex Grand Slam Scott Brash and Rolex’s youngest Testimonee Bertram Allen from Ireland. Staut and Allen both made it through to the jump-off after pristine first rounds, but both were unlucky to have single poles down to finish fifth and sixth, respectively.