Tag Archives: Rolex Grand Prix

Kent Farrington and Gazelle Leap into History Books in Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen

Kent Farrington and Gazelle (Photo credit: Tiffany Van Halle)

The sun shone down on the impressive CHIO Aachen arena for the pinnacle of the event, the Rolex Grand Prix. With seven horse and rider combinations through to the jump-off, the world’s best battled it out, but it was USA’s Kent Farrington who claimed the top prize aboard the speedy mare Gazelle, in 43.98 seconds. In a nail-biting finish that went down to the wire, last-to-go, Germany’s Daniel Deusser, looked close to beating Farrington’s time, but despite an electrifying clear round, finished just 0.37 seconds behind the American and had to settle for second place.

You have always said you wanted to win here; how does it feel now you have finally done it?

Every rider wants to win here. I have been riding out of that ring all week, looking at that winners’ wall and imagining my name on there, so I am so happy to come out with a win finally. I still can’t believe it’s real! CHIO Aachen is one of the most prestigious events in the world. I just feel so proud to win here.

Can you tell us how the course was to ride?

I think it is typical of an Aachen course. You have best of the best here, so every test you have out there on the course is difficult. Gazelle has the ability, scope, and carefulness and that was tested over the two rounds. I think that’s why you see so many faults throughout the class as every part of it is a test and there is no easy part.

Will you be carrying on your Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’?

Absolutely! I will be there! The Rolex Grand Slam is great for the sport and I am excited to be a part of it again.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Kent Farrington Victorious in Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen

Aachen, Germany, 21 July 2019 – The 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen has been won by Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington from the United States riding Gazelle. Second place went to Germany’s Daniel Deusser riding Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z and third place to Great Britain’s Ben Maher riding Explosion W.

CHIO Aachen played host to over 40,000 equestrian spectators, as they gathered in the main show jumping arena to witness the second Major of 2019 in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Inaugurated in 1898, the show is steeped in equestrian history and has partnered with Rolex since 1999, a relationship that demonstrates Rolex’s enduring long-term commitment to equestrianism, supporting the most revered and highly-anticipated shows hosted around the world.

An impressive course, assembled by world-renowned course designer Frank Rothenberger was, as ever, a challenging one for the world’s equestrian elite. The first round delivered only seven clears, which included Rolex Testimonees Kent Farrington, Kevin Staut from France, and Swiss rider Martin Fuchs. Fellow Swiss Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat completed with an unlucky four faults but progressed through to round two with his super-fast time.

FINAL ROUNDS
A revised and equally imposing course welcomed the 18 successful pairings to round two. Despite a precise clear from Guerdat, his earlier four faults ruled him out of the jump-off. The passionate crowd showed their appreciation for Farrington and six others as their faultless rounds took them to the final stage of one of show jumping’s most prestigious Majors.

Despite valiant efforts from the first four combinations, the arena was treated to its first triple clear by Farrington in a time of 43.98 seconds, showing his indisputable dedication for perpetual excellence: values also shared by Rolex. With only two riders to go, and both German natives – Daniel Deusser and Simone Blum – the home fans were on the edge of their seats. Farrington proved unbeatable as Blum had one pole down and Deusser stopped the clock 0.37 seconds slower than the American’s time.

Farrington said, “This is the best win. This is the best show. Rolex really raises the level of the sport; you have the best riders on the best horses and this is one of the most prestigious events we have in our sport. The history of winners here is filled with the best riders in the world and I’m very proud to join them.”

The CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Canada in September is the next Major in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, and the attention of the equestrian world will now turn to this show, in the hope that Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington will continue his Rolex Grand Slam journey.

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0) 22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

Explosive Start for Ben Maher at CHIO Aachen

Ben Maher and Explosion W (Photo credit: Tiffany Van Halle)

The first Rolex Grand Prix qualifier, the Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe, provided thrilling entertainment for the packed crowds at CHIO Aachen. The nail-biting jump-off saw Great Britain’s Ben Maher take the top prize following a tightly fought contest, with Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Daniel Deusser finishing in second and third place, respectively.

With eleven horse and rider combinations reaching the jump-off it was Dutch rider, Marc Houtzager, who put the pressure on his fellow competitors with a careful round in 50.13 seconds to secure the first clear on the scoreboard. But much to the delight of the home-crowd, Germany’s Daniel Deusser showed off his enviable skill to shave nearly three seconds off Houtzager’s time and with an eruption from the patriotic spectators, he took the lead. His position was not held for long, with Great Britain’s Ben Maher and the notoriously fast chestnut gelding, Explosion W, producing an electrifying round finishing in 46.28 seconds, a time that proved too difficult to beat.

Explosion W looks to be in amazing form; how did he feel during this first class?

It is his first time in Aachen; he hasn’t seen many arenas like this in his life yet, but when you put the tack on and you get on this horse, he makes you believe you can do anything. He makes my life and my job much easier than most!

There seemed to be few problems at the water; was that an issue for Explosion at all?

It wasn’t an issue for him, but it was an issue for me! I actually made a mistake. I made eight strides in the first round instead of nine. I had a kick in the head this morning from a fall, so maybe I can’t count anymore! But he made up for my small mistake and that’s the difference between an incredible horse like him and some of the other horses I have had.

It appeared to be quite a difficult course for the first 5* class at CHIO Aachen; what are your thoughts on this?

I agree, it was a difficult first class, but it creates good sport for the spectators to watch when they see a little drama like this in competition. It was a big course and, judging it on this, we now know what might be coming on Sunday for the Rolex Grand Prix.

CHIO Aachen is renowned as one of the best equestrian events in the world; how does it feel to win here?

Winning never gets old. I am very competitive! I think the difference with winning here is the size of the arena and the number of fans that are watching; we don’t have that in a sport normally. I think that’s what makes it even more special, to ride into this ring that has so much history and so many people following it; that’s why every rider wants to win here.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Inside CHIO Aachen 2019: Riders to Watch at This Year’s Rolex Grand Prix

Rolex Grand Prix winner of CHIO Aachen 2018, Marcus Ehning (Photo credit: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

From 12-21 July 2019, visitors from all over the world will once again travel to Germany to witness one of the most prestigious equestrian events of the year, CHIO Aachen. The nine-day event will play host to the second Major of the year, the Rolex Grand Prix, in which the world’s top equestrian athletes will go head-to-head as they each contend for the highly sought-after victory.

The world’s greatest horse-and-rider combinations will be vying for one of show jumping’s most prestigious titles, the Rolex Grand Prix. With many of the world’s top 20-ranked riders set to compete, the field looks wide open; however, following strong recent performances on the outdoor circuit, there are notable partnerships that could claim the Rolex Major win:

Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and his impressive Toveks Mary Lou have demonstrated outstanding consistency, having recently won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show. The infamously quick duo flew through a faultless jump-off, defeating 15 of the world’s top 20-ranked riders. With the outdoor show jumping season well and truly underway, von Eckermann shows no sign of decelerating and has high hopes of continuing his Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey.

Daniel Bluman made history at CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena, becoming Israel’s first ever rider to claim victory at this prestigious event, after winning the Rolex Grand Prix. The complicated course saw only four of the 44 combinations go clear in the first round, with Bluman and his 11-year-old gelding, Ladriano Z, proving unbeatable after going clear in the jump-off. The 29-year-old rider has his sights set on his next victory and will pull out all the stops to secure his first Rolex Major title.

Rolex Testimonee and show jumping hero, Eric Lamaze, has displayed remarkable determination this season. Lamaze won the PwC Cup at last month’s ‘National’ CSI5* presented by Rolex at Spruce Meadows, in which he and his mare, Fine Lady 5, won an electrifying jump-off. Just two days prior, Lamaze won the RBC Grand Prix of Canada presented by Rolex with his 13-year-old gelding, Chacco Kid. After his recent successes, the unstoppable 51-year-old rider will do everything in his power to lift the coveted trophy at CHIO Aachen.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Rolex Grand Prix Returns to the Eternal City of Rome

Geneva, Switzerland, 20 May 2019 – The world’s elite show jumping riders will be welcomed to the prestigious Piazza di Siena in the Eternal City of Rome from 23-26 May to contest the Rolex Grand Prix. A marvel of landscape architecture, this famous setting will play host to four days of intense competition.

The CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena, set in the stunning gardens of the Villa Borghese in the heart of the Italian capital, is widely regarded as one of the sport’s most beautiful venues. Steeped in equestrian history, this will be the 87th edition of the Rome showpiece, the first taking place at the venue 90 years ago in 1929. In 2018, the 18th century oval was re-grassed, returning it to its original splendour. Last year also heralded a new chapter in the show’s distinguished history as Rolex became the Official Timekeeper.

For more than 60 years Rolex has been a dedicated supporter of equestrianism in a privileged relationship that permeates all levels of the sport. The Swiss watch manufacturer not only partners with all four Majors – The Dutch Masters, CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, and the CHI Geneva – but with other innovative and prestigious competitions, including the CSIO Roma.

CONTENDING ROLEX TESTIMONEES
Course designer for the CSIO Roma since 2000, Uliano Vezzani is renowned for his tough Grand Prix layouts, and competitors can expect it, as always, to be meticulously planned and supremely challenging, requiring precision and boldness.

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, who has held the World No. 1 ranking for five consecutive months, will pose a strong threat to fellow Testimonee, Kent Farrington. Always a force to be reckoned with, USA’s Kent Farrington is on fine form, as displayed by his recent fifth-place finish in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show. “Being able to compete in the city of Rome is a setting like no other, making both a beautiful place and a historical venue for our sport. My horses are feeling good so hopefully we can be at our best for the competition,” Farrington said.

Competing alongside his fellow Rolex Testimonees will be Great Britain’s Scott Brash. An equestrian phenomenon, Brash is the only rider to have lifted the coveted Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping trophy for winning three consecutive Grands Prix at the Major events. World No. 5 Martin Fuchs, a member of the Rolex New Guard, will also have the opportunity to showcase his burgeoning talent. Completing the roster of Rolex Testimonees will be France’s Kevin Staut, team gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and Dutch rider Jeroen Dubbeldam, who has won individual Olympic (Sydney 2000), World (Caen 2014) and European (Aachen 2015) titles.

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0) 22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

Watch the Action of the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on NBC Sports Network

Relive the excitement of the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* hosted during the final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Tune in at midnight EST on Friday, April 5 and at 6:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 9th to NBC Sports Network for a special broadcast of the event.

The $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* is the premier event of the 12-week WEF season, featuring many of the world’s top horse and rider combinations competing against each other for the top prize of the circuit.

Watch live or set your DVR and check your local listings or click here to find NBC Sports Network.

To learn more about the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), please visit www.pbiec.com.

Victory in $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* Goes to McLain Ward and HH Azur

McLain Ward and HH Azur. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – The highlight event of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, was held as the final “Saturday Night Lights” class on Saturday, March 30. Topping the ultimate test at WEF were McLain Ward (USA) and HH Azur in a thrilling eight-horse jump-off.

In a field of 40 entries, some of the best horses and riders in the world vied for the chance to take home the top prize money of the circuit. They were riding over a course set by 2016 Rio Olympic Games designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil.

There were eight that found the key to a clear round to advance to the jump-off.

Sophia and Madison Mitchell Take Top Honors in Week 12 Alessandro Albanese 15-17 Equitation Division

In the final days of the Winter Equestrian Festival, Sophia Mitchell and Madison Mitchell added their names to the list of champions for the Alessandro Albanese Equitation 15-17 division. The Week 12 class saw 49 horse-and-rider combinations and therefore was held in a California split format which allowed for two champions and two reserve champions.

Sophia Mitchell piloted Lily Walton’s 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Contendo I x Anytime), Callahan, to an impressive total of 30 points to receive the title of section A champion.

Madison Mitchell, a working student for Don Stewart, picked up the section B champion title with Damon, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Massimo x Dubertha) owned by Cleopatra Georgiades.

For full results, please visit pbiec.coth.com.

Henrik von Eckermann Becomes New Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender at Dutch Masters

Henrik von Eckermann (Photo: Ashley Neuhof / Rolex Grand Slam)

It was an afternoon of electrifying sporting drama at The Dutch Masters, with the world’s best horse and rider combinations taking to the arena in the Brabanthallen for the first Major of the year. Course Designer Louis Koninckx laid a tough course, which saw only five reach the jump-off to battle it out for the Rolex Grand Prix title.

Rolex Testimonee, Steve Guerdat (SUI), secured the first double clear, after producing a series of thrilling turns to shave seconds off the clock. Many thought he could not be caught but it was clear from the outset that Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann only had winning on his mind. Together with his 13-year-old bay mare, Toveks Mary Lou, the pair crossed the finish just 0.63 seconds faster than Guerdat to clinch the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix title and become the new Rolex Grand Slam live contender.

It was so close between you and Steve Guerdat; how did the jump-off feel for you?

It was great! I knew that Steve was very fast; he knocked three-seconds off Daniel (Deusser)’s time, so I thought to myself, I need to hurry up! There were only five in the jump-off, and it is nice when there are so few because then you don’t have so much competition to worry about. I just tried really hard. I wanted to win it; I gave my best effort to win it and here we are!

Toveks Mary Lou performed so well. What is she like to ride?

She always performs so well. She is so special. It’s like she knows what is going on; she thinks, ‘OK, it’s Sunday today; it’s the big day; I need to be the best I can be.’ She always tries that little bit extra for me and it makes her a fantastic horse.

You’re the new Rolex Grand Slam live contender. Is CHIO Aachen in your calendar?

Yes, it is absolutely. I really would like to go there. I am just so happy with what has happened today, and we will take it from here.

How are you going to celebrate?

I have to drive the lorry home with Mary Lou in the back and I am happy for that. My girlfriend Janika, the groom. and I will head home together smiling! But the feeling I have now is amazing and that is enough. I don’t think we have to do anything special.

Lastly, is The Dutch Masters a special show for you now?

Absolutely! I have ridden here quite a few times now and it is a fantastic event. Every year it gets better and better; they always try to make it more and more special. The atmosphere is always electric, and the crowd is always behind you.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

The Audi Prize Brings Another Win for the Untouchable Dutch

Maikel van der Vleuten (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

It was another night of crowd-pleasing entertainment in the Brabanthallen, as Maikel van der Vleuten took the victory in the Audi Prize, the second Rolex Grand Prix qualifier. The Dutch maestro produced an uncatchable clear, in the time of 37.25 seconds, knocking over three seconds off the time set by last year’s Rolex Grand Prix winner, Niels Bruynseels (BEL).

That was a very fast round; how did the ride feel to you?

It was a tough competition, with strong riders, so I knew I had to go for it. Dana Blue is a very strong horse; she won yesterday and is naturally very, very quick and that’s the type of horse you need these days.

The Dutch team are taking all the top spots this week; what’s it like to win in front of the home crowd?

Performing in front of my home crowd certainly gives me even more motivation. So far, it’s going very well here. Tomorrow is the Rolex Grand Prix and I hope we can continue our winning streak, but it will be a very tough competition.

How will you be preparing for the Rolex Grand Prix?

We will stick to our normal routine. I will make sure my horse (Verdi TN) is in good shape; yesterday he jumped very well in the big class; he was double clear. Today I gave him a bit of an easy day so I am hoping he will be very fresh tomorrow!

Who do you think your biggest competition is?

There are so many riders, it’s hard to say. That’s the thing – it’s always exciting in our sport because out of the 40 riders you have at least 25 combinations who can give it a serious go!

Now that The Dutch Masters is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, has the event been enhanced?

Yes, I think it is a really good thing that this show is now one of the Majors. It is so important, being such a horse country, that we have a world-class event like this in Holland. It’s great for the Dutch people.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

It’s a Home Win for Leopold van Asten in First Rolex Grand Prix Qualifier

Leopold van Asten (Photo credit: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

The first qualifier for the Rolex Grand Prix kicked off in style with Dutch rider Leopold van Asten clinching a home win aboard VDL Groep Beauty, much to the delight of his onlooking sponsor, in the VDL Groep Prize. Last year’s Rolex Grand Prix winner, Niels Bruynseels (BEL), set the bar high with a time of 28.18 secs but it was not fast enough as Leopold van Asten and his super speedy mare secured the win by a fraction, stopping the clock at 27.82 secs.

What were your thoughts heading into the jump-off?

I saw Niels ride before me; he was very fast and had a very good round, so I knew that I really had to go for it. I knew that Beauty is naturally a fast horse, so I tried to get a smooth round and it went well. I didn’t have to pull anywhere; I didn’t have to wait anywhere and luckily in the end it was enough.

Are you riding VDL Groep Beauty on Sunday?

No, I am not riding her on Sunday for the Rolex Grand Prix. I made a plan to jump her today and tomorrow, and will jump Miss Untouchable on Sunday.

The audience is very close to the action at The Dutch Masters. Do you notice that when in the ring?

I think the audience is always close to the action; it doesn’t change anything for me. It didn’t ride any different this year. The atmosphere was very good for a Friday evening; the audience was cheering lots, seemed very happy, and was really loud, which is nice to hear. I think it’s going to be an exciting two days ahead.

How does it feel to win, not only in front of your home crowd, but also your sponsor?

It is always nice; he can only come to five or so shows a year, so you want to be good when he is here, but that is easier said than done! It is nice that on an evening like this everything came together and we have a win.

How will you celebrate?

I will walk to the box to meet my owner and I think we are going to have a drink, and then tomorrow is a new day!

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam