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.
12 December 2016, CHI Geneva, Switzerland – The Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva is one of the three 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 of the four-day competition at the world’s leading indoor venue, as the finest riders compete for the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping title.
Please find below a short copyright free news film, presented by Rolex.
11 December 2016, Geneva, Switzerland – In December the world of international show jumping turns its attention to the last equestrian Major of the year, CHI Geneva. Staged over four days, a record 42,000 spectators cheered on the world’s best riders with the excitement drawing to a close on Sunday 11 December with the climax of the competition, the Rolex Grand Prix.
The tension in the Palexpo Arena was justifiably high with Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash amongst the starters, entering the competition as the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. The stakes were especially high for Brash who had already written his name into the history books having completed this extraordinary feat at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in 2015.
Home favourite, Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat, brought a further dimension of emotion to the event having announced that the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva would be the last competitive appearance for his prize horse, Nino des Buissonnets. However, fortune favoured Brazilian rider Pedro Veniss and his brilliant stallion Quabri de L’Isle, who produced an astonishingly quick jump-off time to reign victorious as the 2016 Rolex Grand Prix winner.
The start list saw 40 of the sport’s finest riders challenging for one of the most revered competitions on the international circuit and course designer Gérard Lachat made full use of the world’s largest indoor equestrian arena, challenging these elite athletes in every corner and at every jumping effort. The vast obstacles tested the riders to their limits, and only 16 combinations conquered the first round of the course faultlessly, taking them through to the jump-off. Swiss national hero Steve Guerdat, Scott Brash, and world number one Christian Ahlmann were amongst those to advance through to the second round, heightening the excitement of the competition.
ROLEX GRAND PRIX JUMP-OFF
The crowds were kept on the edge of their seats as each combination tackled the shortened course, dramatically cutting corners to produce as fast a time as possible. The eventual Rolex Grand Prix winner, Veniss, was fourth to go and set an exceptionally tough time to beat of just 38.96 seconds. Despite valiant efforts from all challengers, it seemed no one could cut any more time off Veniss’ impressive round. It was left to the last two riders, Rolex Testimonees Kevin Staut and Scott Brash, to challenge one of equestrian sport’s most prized trophies. Staut produced an outstanding round of elegance and precision, stopping the clock after 40.04 seconds, but this was not enough to knock Veniss from pole position. The crowd hushed as the current Rolex Grand Slam live contender entered the arena and waited with baited breath for the outcome. Cheering Brash through to the last fence, the clock stopped at a time of 39.41 seconds, four hundredths of a second slower than Veniss and placing the combination into third, respectively. First and third place were separated by just 0.4 of a second, highlighting the importance of accuracy and precision timing at the very top of the sport.
After a tense and dramatic competition came to a close, a delighted Veniss spoke of his victory, “I am so happy; it is a dream come true to win the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva. Quabri jumped fantastically in the first round and so I thought, we can go for it in the jump-off. I really tried like never before and pushed to go fast. Quabri responded perfectly.
“I will work really hard ahead of CHIO Aachen , thinking ahead to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, but for now, I want to give this victory to my family and all of the people who are behind me.”
NINO DES BUISSONNETS’ RETIREMENT
Sunday 11 December was especially emotional for Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat, who placed twelfth in the Rolex Grand Prix, which was to be the final competition for Nino des Buissonnets ahead of a well-deserved retirement.
“The farewell was so special; it was so intense, powerful, so emotional. It was much more than I expected. The stadium was full, everyone stayed after the Rolex Grand Prix and I am very grateful to all of the public and the show, for that. It will always remain in my heart.”
13 March 2016, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands – Marcus Ehning rode Cornado NRW to win the Rolex Grand Prix at Indoor Brabant in the Netherlands, with Hans-Dieter Dreher in second and Willem Greve in third place.
The world’s best riders gave everything to win the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix with competitors from 13 different nations from as far as Australia, USA and Qatar. The Netherlands were the strongest represented with the home nation fielding 11 riders, followed by Germany with six and Belgium with five world-class combinations.
The Louis Koninckx designed course was a challenging and technical ask for the riders, who had to tackle a 13-fence first course set with a very tight time. From the 40 starters, just 12 went clear and within the time to make it through to the jump-off.
Commenting on his victory, Marcus Ehning said, “I was really pleased with my horse. He was fantastic – it was a great course and great fans as always here.”
It was not to be for 2015 winner Daniel Deusser from Germany, riding Cornet D’Amour, who just tipped one fence down in the second round. The jump-off thrilled the packed crowds who were on the edge of their seats as the final riders battled it out for the Rolex Grand Prix prize.
The passionate home fans had to settle for a third place with Willem Greve finishing less than one second behind the German pair of Ehning and Dreher, with only four riders managing a double-clear.
In ninth position was Rolex Testimonee, and the first and only winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Scott Brash, who had one fence down early in the jump-off round.
From 10-13 March the medieval city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch became the focal point for international show jumping as it staged four days of exceptional equestrian sport. Indoor Brabant’s long and distinguished history, combined with its long-term partnership with Rolex – which was extended in 2014 – has strengthened s’Hertogenbosch’s position at the top of the international indoor show jumping circuit. In this 49th edition of the show, it combined both elite-level show jumping and dressage.
There were several top CSI5* jumping classes over the four days of competition, with the Rolex Grand Prix bringing the show to an exciting climax on Sunday evening.
Rolex Equestrian Testimonees Compete at ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Rolex Testimonees have taken the honours in the showpiece jumping class 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.
Four of Rolex’s Testimonees were competing in this year’s Grand Prix, including Rolex’s newest Testimonee, Scott Brash; Kevin Staut from France; Irish rider and Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen; and leading Swiss rider and current Olympic champion, Steve Guerdat. Brash finished in the highest position, after making it to the jump-off but was unlucky in tipping one pole down dropping him down to finish in ninth position.
It was not to be for Guerdat as he rode a perfect clear jumping round, but picked up just one time penalty ruling him out of the jump-off. The Swiss champion will now be looking ahead to CHIO Aachen 2016 having triumphed in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in December 2015. Guerdat, who is currently the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, is hoping to emulate the historic feat achieved by Scott Brash at Spruce Meadows in 2015.
World Class Dressage
As well as top class show jumping, Indoor Brabant played host to two days of world class dressage, including the ninth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage.
At the 2014 show, Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth won both the Grand Prix and Freestyle events. Sadly due to a late injury to her prized horse Don Johnson, Werth was forced to withdraw from the competition.
The 2016 edition was won by Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) who steered Glock’s Flirt to a stylish victory.
1 March 2016, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands – From 10-13 March the medieval city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands will become the focal point for international show jumping when it stages four days of exceptional equestrian sport. Indoor Brabant has attracted the world’s leading riders since its advent in 1966, and this 49th edition will be no different. The show combines elite-level show jumping and dressage, and over the years has witnessed remarkable displays of horsemanship. In order to achieve ultimate success across both disciplines, riders will need to demonstrate courage and flawless timing alongside the shared Rolex values of elegance and precision.
Indoor Brabant’s long and distinguished history, combined with the foundation of its long-term partnership with Rolex – which was extended in 2014 – has strengthened ‘s-Hertogenbosch’s position at the top of the international indoor show jumping circuit, while simultaneously attracting a greater proportion of the leading horse-and-rider combinations. Last year’s competition attracted 42 globally renowned riders and no less than 24 of the top 30 in the world rankings. This prestigious line-up included Rolex Testimonee, current World No.1 and the first and only winner of the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Scott Brash, alongside Dutch stalwart Jeroen Dubbeldam, who won both Team and Individual gold at both the World Equestrian Games 2014 and the European Championships in 2015.
THE PATH TO SUCCESS
In 2014 Rolex strengthened its partnership with Indoor Brabant, with the addition of the Rolex Grand Prix to the premier Dutch show. As the main sponsor of the event and the Title Sponsor of the Grand Prix, Rolex now offers this emblematic event the opportunity to further reinforce its position on the international show jumping circuit.
For the second year running, the action at Indoor Brabant will be staged in two arenas in front of packed crowds, creating an electrifying atmosphere for both riders and spectators. There are several CSI5* classes over four days of competition, and the Rolex Grand Prix brings the show to an exciting climax on Sunday evening.
ALL EYES ON THE ROLEX EQUESTRIAN TESTIMONEES AT ‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH
Rolex Testimonees have taken the honours in the showpiece jumping class at Indoor Brabant on 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. Many of Rolex’s Testimonees are expected to return with their leading horses this year, including Rolex’s newest Testimonee and current World No.1, Scott Brash; Irish rider and Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen; and leading Swiss rider and current Olympic champion, Steve Guerdat.
All eyes will be focused on Switzerland’s leading rider Steve Guerdat. The Swiss champion will be looking ahead to CHIO Aachen 2016 having triumphed in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in December 2015. Guerdat, who is currently the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, is hoping to emulate the historic feat achieved by Scott Brash at Spruce Meadows in 2015.
As well as top class show jumping, Indoor Brabant plays host to two days of world class dressage, including the ninth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage.
At the 2014 show, Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth won both the Grand Prix and Freestyle events. In 2015 she was narrowly beaten by Dutch champion Edward Gal, but aims to return this year to stake her claim to the prize. With three world championship titles to her name, the German rider is arguably one of the most successful and highly decorated dressage riders of all time, and travels to ‘s-Hertogenbosch with no fewer than five victories at the Brabanthallen.
ANKY VAN GRUNSVEN TAKES ON PRESIDENCY
This year, Anky van Grunsven, has assumed the role of President of the board of the Indoor Brabant International Concours Hippique Foundation, after the sudden passing of her predecessor Gerrit Jan Swinkels. Swinkels was a highly valued and integral member of the Indoor Brabant team, involved in the growth of the competition for over 40 years, and acted as president since 2002.
Van Grunsven, who first competed at Indoor Brabant when she was 16 years old, said: “It’s an honour to succeed Gerrit Jan. He did so much for Indoor Brabant, which has been a major part of my life since I first competed here. The show has come a long way over the last 40 years, and I have to thank not only our loyal competitors and spectators, but also our generous sponsors, particularly Rolex, for their continued belief in and support of this great event.” Van Grunsven looks forward to continuing from where Swinkels left off, helping Indoor Brabant maintain its status as a leading competition on the international equestrian calendar.
ROLEX’S EQUESTRIAN HERITAGE
Rolex’s support of show jumping dates back more than half a century. The prestigious Swiss watch brand’s close and long-standing association with equestrianism demonstrates its appreciation of a domain in which fair play, equality, horsemanship and tradition highlight superior skill, accuracy and achievement.
From Pat Smythe, the greatest female show jumper ever to represent Britain and Rolex’s first equestrian Testimonee in 1957, to Scott Brash, the only rider in history to win the three consecutive Majors of the Grand Slam in September 2015, Rolex continues to support riders in the three Olympic disciplines of show jumping, dressage and eventing, all of which demonstrate qualities of excellence and perfection.
Re-Live the Excitement of the World’s Leading Indoor Show Jumping Event
The Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva is one of the three Majors that forms the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, and is the most prestigious indoor grand prix on the international equestrian circuit. CHI Geneva is also host to the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, the only show jumping competition that invites the world’s Top 10 riders to compete over two rounds at the end of year finale.
Re-live the excitement of the four days of competition at the world’s leading indoor show jumping event, and watch Rolex Testimonees Steve Guerdat and Kent Farrington win the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix and Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final titles, respectively.
Please find below a short copyright free news film, presented by Rolex:
Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5. Photo by Kit Houghton/Rolex.
Geneva, Switzerland – Canada’s Eric Lamaze closed out the 2015 season with a top three finish in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday, December 13, in Geneva, Switzerland.
One of three legs comprising the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Geneva attracted 40 of the world’s best riders looking to claim the coveted title and a portion of the 1 million Swiss Francs (approximately $1.4 million CAD) in prize money on offer. A total of 16 riders were clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off where the leading time became increasingly faster and faster. Lamaze moved to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 41.45 seconds following his performance with Fine Lady 5, but would see it eclipsed by Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, who stopped the clock in 40.94 seconds for the win, and Simon Delestre of France, who posted a time of 40.97 seconds to finish runner-up riding Qlassic Bois Margot.
While Lamaze was crowned the Olympic Champion in 2008 with the great Hickstead, fellow Rolex Testimonee Guerdat is the reigning Olympic Champion with Nino des Buissonnets. It was Nino who came out on top in Geneva, giving the home crowd an incredible victory to celebrate. With the win, 33-year-old Guerdat starts his quest to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, a title that goes to any rider who wins the Grand Prix of Geneva, Aachen, Germany, and Calgary, Canada, in succession.
“It is very exciting for me to be back competing at this level,” said Lamaze, who claimed the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva in 2008 and also placed second in 2010 riding Hickstead on both occasions. “It brings back great memories of having won the Grand Prix here before. It was an incredible jump-off, and is a great end of season result for me.
“Geneva is the best indoor show in the world, and it is extremely important to the riders,” continued Lamaze, who was also third in Thursday evening’s Credit Suisse Grand Prix after jumping double clear with Fine Lady 5. “The level of competition is so high, and the classes are very competitive. Everyone is very excited for what the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has brought to our sport; the three venues comprising the Grand Slam are the best in the world, and all are unique events like no other.”
Gilbert De Roock of Belgium, who has coached Lamaze to many wins over the years as well as his individual bronze medal at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY, helped Lamaze in both Paris and Geneva. While Geneva may have been his final event of the season, Lamaze’s performance with Fine Lady 5 begins a new chapter on the road to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“After the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in September, I rested my horses with the plan to compete at Paris and Geneva with Powerplay and Fine Lady,” explained Lamaze of the back-to-back five-star indoor shows. “Powerplay was intended to be my lead horse but he wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t able to go. Fine Lady had to step up to be my main horse, doing the Grand Prix in Paris and the Grand Prix here in Geneva. I must say, she is growing into the role.”
Lamaze was partnered with Fine Lady 5, a 12-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II), in the spring of 2014 when the Ziegler family of Artisan Farms purchased her from Germany’s Holger Wulschner. They have since scored numerous victories at the 1.45m and 1.50m levels, especially when Lamaze could use Fine Lady 5’s naturally quick pace to his advantage.
“This mare, Fine Lady, is a possibility for the Olympics,” said Lamaze, 47. “She is showing more power and more heart at this level. Sometimes when you walk a course, some of the fences look too big for her to jump, but she never gives up, and she’s a true competitor who is starting to show me that she can do some of the biggest classes. She’s growing with every big event that I put her in. She seems to learn a way to do it. From a qualify aspect, she has all the quality you would want to have at the Olympics. We will have a good plan for her this winter, and see where that takes us.”
With the conclusion of Geneva, Lamaze returns to North America in preparation for the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival, running January 13 through to April 3, 2016, in Wellington, FL.
“Next year is a big year, and I’m looking forward to gearing up for that,” said Lamaze, who will be training several Canadian Olympic Show Jumping Team hopefuls over the winter, including his TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games gold medal teammates Tiffany Foster and Yann Candele, as well as traveling alternate Elizabeth Gingras and Kara Chad. “We have a lot of students that are looking very promising to be on our team for the Olympics. Working with our chef d’equipe Mark Laskin, we are trying to put together teams to compete in the Nations’ Cups in Rome, La Baule and Aachen. Team competition is very important in preparation for the Olympics. We go back to work in January, and will see what comes out of next year.”
Lamaze and his mounts are based full-time at Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms, with locations in Wellington, FL and Vrasene, Belgium. In addition, Lamaze, in partnership with the Chad and Edwards families of Calgary, AB, have purchased a new training facility in Grand Prix Village in Wellington, FL. Named Torrey Pines in honour of Lamaze’s iconic show jumping stable, the new facility enables all of Lamaze’s students to be based together for ease of training. Candele, working alongside Lamaze, will provide coaching and training support in the new Torrey Pines venture.
13 December 2015, CHI Geneva, Switzerland – The world of international show jumping reached its season climax at the greatest indoor show – CHI Geneva. Staged over four days, the show built to its peak today with the Rolex Grand Prix, one of the three Majors that comprise show jumping’s ultimate prize – the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
Roared on by the near 9,500 spectators packed into the world-famous Geneva Palexpo Arena, Swiss hero Steve Guerdat riding his champion horse Nino Des Buissonnets, demonstrated their impeccable partnership, exceptional skill and perfect timing to win the Rolex Grand Prix in dramatic style for a impressive third time.
NEW ROLEX GRAND SLAM CONTENDER
16 riders made it through the challenging first round course into the jump-off. Guerdat was ninth to go, chasing an incredibly fast time of 41.45 seconds set by Rolex Testimonee Eric Lamaze from Canada. Steve Guerdat knew he had to be fast, and as he entered the arena the Swiss fans went wild. The crowd then hushed and held its breath as Guerdat expertly guided Nino around the course with a new time of 40.94 secs taking him into first place ahead of Lamaze. With seven more riders still to follow to try and beat his time, Guerdat could only watch on. France’s Simon Delestre held nothing back and came within a breathtaking 0.03 seconds of Guerdat’s time.
It was then left to fellow Rolex Testimonee, Kent Farrington from the USA, to beat Guerdat. Typically, Farrington gave it everything and went clear, but his time of 41.47 was not quite fast enough on this occasion. Having already written his name into the history books, Scott Brash from Great Britain, riding Hello Sanctos, came to CHI Geneva as the first, and so far only, rider to succeed in completing the extraordinary feat of winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping: he won the three Majors of the year – the Rolex Grands Prix of CHI Geneva 2014, Switzerland; CHIO Aachen 2015, Germany; and the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2015, Canada.
Unfortunately it was not to be his day this time around, as Rolex Testimonee Brash just clipped fence 11 in the first round, taking him out of the competition. So a new cycle of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has now began at CHI Geneva 2015, with Steve Guerdat – who must now win all three Majors in succession to claim the biggest challenge in the history of the equestrian sport.
Steve Guerdat said: “The beginning of the jump-off was a little bit difficult for me and Nino, but he is a special horse – he is a genius. The rest of the jump-off went like we planned and I am really happy with the result. This show is really, really important for me. I always plan it as it is one of the main weekends in the year for me – for me it is not just another show so I try to plan in long in advance and come with fresh horses like it was a Championship for me – the crowd always helps me and luck must do the rest.”
ROLEX GRAND PRIX QUALIFICATION
After four qualifying classes at CHI Geneva, 40 of the world’s best horse and rider partnerships secured themselves a place in the Rolex Grand Prix. Staged over two courses, the riders had to memorize the layout and route of two of the hardest 5* Grand Prix courses in the world. Every second counts in order to take them to victory with the challenge of having to clear 26 fences over the two courses covering a total of 770 meters, and completing the first course within just 71 seconds.
ESTEEMED INTERNATIONAL RIDERS
The roll-call of riders in the Rolex Grand Prix was a truly star-studded cast, with riders travelling from 18 different countries. These included some of the world’s top current riders: the reigning double World and European Champion, Jeroen Dubbeldam from the Netherlands; Daniel Bluman from Columbia; and Lauren Hough from USA.
The Rolex family of equestrian Testimonees was well represented with six riders qualifying for the Rolex Grand Prix. These included Kevin Staut; Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen; Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping winner Scott Brash; Eric Lamaze; Kent Farrington; and the new 2015 CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix winner Steve Guerdat.
All eyes now turn to CHIO Aachen in July 2016 for the next leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – the sport looks to Guerdat to see if he can now continue on where he left his journey after winning the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix in 2013 to write himself into the history books once more.
2015 CHI GENEVA ROLEX GRAND PRIX RESULTS
1. Steve Guerdat (SUI), riding Nino Des Buissonnets, 40.94 secs
2. Simon Delestre (FRA), riding Qlassic Bois Margot, 40.97 secs
3. Eric Lamaze (CAN), riding Fine Lady 5, 41.45 secs
4. Kent Farrington (USA), riding Voyeur, 41.47 secs
5. Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA), riding Admara, 42.01 secs