Tag Archives: Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Marcus Ehning Wins Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, the Final Major of the Year

09 December 2018, Geneva, Switzerland – CHI Geneva welcomed 40 of the best riders in the world to compete in the most esteemed class of the show, the Rolex Grand Prix, the final Major of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

A spectacular competition saw Germany’s Marcus Ehning riding Pret A Tout victorious, repeating his success from CHIO Aachen where he won the Rolex Grand Prix in July earlier this year. Second place went to Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat (SUI) riding Albfüehren’s Bianca and third place went to Darragh Kenny (IRE) riding Balou du Reventon.

Over 42,500 fans gathered over the four days for the 2018 edition of the CHI Geneva with a packed arena witnessing a thrilling two-stage Rolex Grand Prix competition between the global elite. Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash (GBR) was the first rider to go clear, later joined by his fellow equestrian Testimonees Steve Guerdat and USA’s Kent Farrington in the line-up of riders going through to the jump-off. The Swiss crowd erupted into applause as one of their home favourites, Guerdat, went clear, sailing around the challenging course.

With 11 clears in the first round, the equestrian fans were enraptured as they waited for what promised to be a breath-taking jump-off, with three Rolex Testimonees, the world number one and a previous Major winner included in the line-up. Whilst all riders gave everything, it was Marcus Ehning who prevailed with a precision performance demonstrating his exquisite horsemanship and sporting skills.

The world’s equestrian elite will now look to The Dutch Masters, the first Major of 2019, where Ehning will be travelling as the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender.

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Rolex SA
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rEvolution
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Inside the CHI Geneva: The Elite Contenders for the Rolex Grand Prix

Steve Guerdat riding Alamo (Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

From 6-9 December 2018, more than 40,000 spectators are set to flock to the Swiss city for the 58th edition of the CHI Geneva, the final Major of the year. Taking place in the Palexpo, which at 5,200 m2 is the largest indoor arena in world, visitors can expect to be thoroughly entertained at an event that has won the Best Equestrian Sports Show Worldwide award no less than nine times.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

With several prolific horse and rider combinations set to compete in the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, there are a whole host of contenders who will undoubtedly be among the discussion as to who will be crowned champion in this historic Rolex Major.

A hot favourite to claim the title this year is the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Sameh El Dahan. The Egyptian rider clinched victory at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Calgary riding Suma’s Zorro, and will be tipped by many to continue his fine form in Switzerland. With a potential €500,000 bonus for winning two Majors successfully, Sameh will be doing his utmost to repeat his performance in Canada.

Never far from success is Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat, who currently sits at second in the World Official Jumping Rankings. Being a Swiss rider competing in Geneva, Guerdat is likely to be well supported, and when combined with his unquestioned ability, it would be a surprise if he is not one of the top performers in the competition, especially given that he has already won the Rolex Grand Prix on three occasions.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

A First Major Victory for Sameh El Dahan, Winner of the CP ‘International’

Sameh El Dahan winning the CP ‘International’ (Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk)

After some light mid-morning rain, the Calgary skies cleared and 38 of the world’s most talented horse and rider partnerships accepted Venezuelan course designer Leopoldo Palacios’s challenge to jump his huge 1.70m course in the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex.

Third in the first round’s starting order, Germany’s Andre Thieme and his 10-year-old bay gelding, Aretino 13 produced a faultless display in a time of 88.84 s. However, not one of the next 30 riders to follow were able to produce a clear round, which was testament to the immensity of the contest the field was up against. It was Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan who broke the drought, piloting Suma’s Zorro, his 14-year-old mare, to the second clear round of the competition. Palacios’s course continued to be ruthless, claiming the scalps of some big-name horse and rider pairings, and just five further clear rounds were recorded.

The second round proved too tough for 10 of the 12 combinations that progressed from round one, and in the end, it was just The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten and Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan, who produced double clears, and in doing so set up a nail-biting jump-off. Van der Vleuten was first to go, going clear and setting a quick time of 42.98 s. El Dahan confidently entered the tense International Ring and breezed the course, going clear and triumphing over the Dutchman in a time of 42.21 s, thereby being crowned the new live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

So Sameh, what does winning a Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major mean to you?

I’m delighted and absolutely over the moon. When I looked up at the big screen, because I wasn’t sure of the time, and I saw first place, it was a very difficult feeling to explain. To be a winner of one of the four prestigious Grands Prix, as part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, is something I think every rider in the world dreams of.

Tell us a little bit about Suma’s Zorro.

Suma’s Zorro was bought as a foal by Joanne Sloan Allen and Sycamore Stables. When she was brought to the yard she jumped a five-bar gate when she was just six months old, so they knew they had a jumper on their hands. Joanne did an amazing job building her up until she was about seven years old, and then I also started riding her. Today Joanne does most of the riding, and I only jump her, so she’s done a great job.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’: SUNCOR Winning Round 1.50m

Philipp Weishaupt (Photo: Spruce Meadows Media / Mike Sturk)

29 horse and rider combinations navigated the Leopoldo Palacios-designed course in Spruce Meadows’ iconic International Ring, each hoping to take home the spoils in the SUNCOR Winning Round at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’.

Local favourites Eric Lamaze and his 22-year-old prodigy, Kara Chad, wowed the excited spectators in the arena’s packed stands, both going clear and posting impressive times of 71.10 s with Chacco Kid and 71.45 s with Viva, respectively, well within Palacios’s 74-second limit. Also progressing to the second round was Calgarian Jim Ifko and his 10-year-old bay stallion, Un Diamant des Forets, who went clear in a time of 71.80 s. Seven further riders from six nations successfully negotiated the Venezuelan course designer’s tough challenge to set up a 10-pairing showdown in the Winning Round, with notable top-class riders including The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten and Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt.

First to go was Ireland’s Connor Swail, setting the early pace after going clear in a time of 54.38 s. Five-time Major winner Eric Lamaze and Chacco Kid demonstrated the strength of their bond by going double clear, while Lamaze’s mentee, Kara Chad, piloted Viva superbly before clipping the final rail. France’s Edward Levy, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle, and Australia’s Rowan Willis all put rails down to finish below Chad in the final standings. Jim Ifko notched up a double clear, fractionally beating Lamaze’s time. Philipp Weishaupt and Solitaer 41 entered the Ring looking sharp and impressively knocked Swail off top spot in a time of 53.25 s. Last to go was Maikel van der Vleuten, but his best wasn’t good enough to deny Weishaupt a well-deserved victory.

Weishaupt – who has had a memorable week after securing victory aboard Sansibar 89 in Thursday’s CANA Cup – etched his and his 10-year-old grey gelding Solitaer 41’s names on to the SUNCOR Winning Round trophy after a jumping display of the highest order.

Having won the CP ‘International’ in 2017 aboard LB Convall, the duo heads into Sunday’s $3 million blue ribbon class full of confidence and are sure to push the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender and Weishaupt’s fellow countryman Marcus Ehning all the way.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Inside the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’

Steve Guerdat riding Alamo at CHIO Aachen 2018 (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

On 9 September 2018 the international equestrian community will focus its attention on the world’s top show jumpers, as they compete at the third Major of the year, the CP ‘International,’ presented by Rolex, at the CSIO 5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. More than 87,000 spectators are expected to descend on the show and organisers are promising five days of spectacular competition.

Leopoldo Palacios, the experienced Venezuelan course designer, will set the course for the CP ‘International’ and is expected to lay down a demanding but fair challenge. Show jumping’s finest horse and rider combinations will take centre stage, all hoping to add one of the year’s most prestigious competitions to their record of top-level achievements.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

With the sport’s most revered horse and rider pairings due to compete in the CP ‘International,’ there are several strong contenders on target to take this Rolex Major title win.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Marcus Ehning (GER) – who started his Rolex Grand Slam journey at the CHIO Aachen in July riding Pret a Tout to victory in the Rolex Grand Prix – comes to Spruce Meadows in scintillating form. He won the Rolex Grand Prix at the Stephex Masters on another one of his talented horses, Comme Il Faut 5. The former world number one ranked rider will be vying for victory in the CP ‘International’ in the hope that his Rolex Grand Slam journey continues, setting him up for a shot at the Rolex Grand Slam title at the CHI Geneva in December.

Having impressively competed in all 17 Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Majors since the initiative’s inception in 2013, Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat (SUI) undoubtedly has the skill and firepower to ride his way to the top of the leaderboard in the CP ‘International’. The Swiss maestro jumped clear in the first two rounds of the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHIO Aachen 2018, finishing in a respectable fifth place.

Shortly after winning the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in 2017, Kent Farrington (USA) had a fall at the Winter Equestrian Festival that resulted in a broken leg. Back in action three months later and on top form, Farrington is fresh from his victory in the Winning Round class at the Spruce Meadows CSI 5* in July and is looking to add a Rolex Major to his tally of wins in 2018. The internationally renowned athlete is consistently ranked in the top 10 in the world making him a formidable contender for the CP ‘International’ title.

Rolex Testimonee and local hero, Eric Lamaze (CAN), has notched up multiple wins this year. In July he won the ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup at CSI 5* Spruce Meadows riding Fine Lady 5, who jumped an immaculate two rounds, recording the only double clear. Lamaze will be aiming to replicate this in the iconic International Ring where the CP ‘International’ is held. With home advantage on his side and an impeccable knowledge of the arena, Lamaze is a firm favourite.

A consistently solid competitor at Spruce Meadows over the past few years is Lorenzo de Luca (ITA). De Luca and his chestnut gelding, Halifax van het Kluizebos are looking an impressive partnership after picking up multiple victories this year, including the Rolex Grand Prix of Rome at the CSIO 5* Rome Piazza di Siena in May.

After jumping well in the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHIO Aachen in July 2018 – a title that he brilliantly won in 2017 – Gregory Wathelet (BEL) will be aiming to secure his second Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major of his career in the CP ‘International’. With a large selection of top horses to choose from and a wealth of experience of what it takes to win events at the very pinnacle of the sport, Wathelet will be in a strong position to take this Major.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Interview with Niels Bruynseels, Current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender

Niels Bruynseels riding Gancia de Muze (Photo: Kit Houghton)

What have you been up to since winning the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters?

“Straight after winning the Rolex Grand Prix I celebrated with my team; we were all so excited! It was a late finish that evening, but because I only live an hour away from the show we went back to my house and continued the celebrations there.

“We went to Paris a week later and came second in the big competition there, but since then my horse has had a bit of a rest. This week she will start competing again as we start our preparations for CHIO Aachen and the next stage of the Rolex Grand Slam.”

Can you tell us a bit about your horse?

“Gancia de Muze is a very special horse; she is a 12-year-old Belgian-bred mare and has a very unique character! She is very stubborn sometimes, and I have to do everything for her otherwise she gets in a bad mood! She receives a lot of special treatment; she has lots of time in the field and because she doesn’t like flat work, so she is lunged and jumped more frequently. She is very set in her ways! But she really loves her job and enjoys herself so much at the events. Every time we compete together, she really fights for me; she has a competitive nature and wants to win!”

Are you planning on attending CHIO Aachen? If so, how are you preparing for the next part of your Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey?

“Of course, I plan to ride in the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen; it is one of my goals to win there. This week I plan go to Madrid and will see how my horse is performing on grass. I have scheduled some competitions on grass, specifically to prepare for the Rolex Grand Prix, with the hope to continue my Rolex Grand Slam journey.”

Do you have any superstitions?

“You could say I do have one superstition… When I arrive at the hotel, I always layout my riding clothes in the same order, separating them out into ‘Day one’, ‘Day two’, and so on. It is a routine that I always go through. Aside from that I don’t have any other superstitions, just hope that my training pays off and I can perform to the best of my ability.”

Can you talk us through your daily routine when training?

“The grooms start at 6.30am; they do the morning feeds and prepare the horses. I arrive at 7.30am to begin riding the horses. Each morning, before I arrive at the stables, I make a plan for the whole day which outlines the team’s responsibilities. We have a total of 25 horses, so it is important that I stay really organized to make sure everything at the yard runs smoothly. I will then spend the day riding seven to eight horses, so I am very busy, but I love it! I concentrate fully on the training of the horses, so the days when I am not competing are completely focused on that.”

How did it feel to win a Major? What was going through your mind?

“Winning a Grand Prix is always nice, but to win a Rolex Major is very unique and so special, the feeling was unreal. The media hype is on a whole different level, and the attention I have received since then is greater than ever. Everybody is focused on the Rolex Grand Slam as it is one of the biggest parts of our sport, so everyone is talking about it which adds to the excitement. It was a magical moment and one of the best in my career so far. I hope there will be more occasions like this!”

If you weren’t a rider, what would you be?

“I have always loved horses; they are my absolute world. So, if I wasn’t a rider I would have to be something that is still horse orientated, therefore I think I would be a horse dealer.”

Do you have any hobbies?

“No hobbies, only horses! If I am at a show and have some free time I enjoy sightseeing and trying the food of the local area, but other than that it’s all about the horses.”

What is your advice for young riders?

“My advice to young riders would be: you can always keep learning from other people. Make sure when you are at events, you are watching the other competitors and seeing how they ride. If you want to improve and progress you shouldn’t rush or be frustrated when you don’t reach the top straight away; it is a step-by-step process and you can never stop learning.”

Do you feel that there is added pressure as the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender?

“I don’t feel too stressed right now, but there is certainly a different sort of pressure that comes with being the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender. You are aware of more people talking about it and I have had a lot of people ask me if I am going for the Rolex Grand Slam. It is a different feeling right now, but I am sure at Aachen I will feel the extra pressure as I don’t want to give up my position of live contender!”

What do you want to achieve in your career; what is your dream?

“Aside from winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, I want an Olympic gold medal, whether it is with the team or as an individual – that is a big goal for me. I also hope to compete at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon this September and a medal there would be nice too!”

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Highlights News Film from the Rolex Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters

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.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

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

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Merrick Haydon
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+44 (0)7748 186 833

Inside the Dutch Masters: The Final Day

Niels Bruynseels (picture: Ashley Neuhof).

The Rolex Grand Prix Winner: Niels Bruynseels

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.”

E-Mail: press@rolexgrandslam.com
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Inside the Dutch Masters: Saturday 10th March

Lorenzo De Luca (picture: Ashley Neuhof).

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

3rd Place: PEDER FREDRICSON (SWE)

  • European Champion
  • Horse: Hansson WL, A 10-year-old bay stallion

E-Mail: press@rolexgrandslam.com
Internet: www.rolexgrandslam.com

Inside the Dutch Masters: Friday 9th March

Kevin Staut, Anky van Grunsven (show president) and Jeroen Dubbeldam (picture: Kit Houghton).

Behind the Scenes with World Champion Jeroen Dubbeldam and Team Olympic Gold Medalist Kevin Staut

What does it mean to you as a rider to come back and try and win this Rolex Grand Prix, which is now part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

Kevin Staut: “It is very emotional. I am very motivated, as is everyone else, especially Jeroen who is on his home ground. I appreciate this show for all of the different atmospheres in the ring – It is amazing. It is difficult for indoor shows to have comfortable areas for the horses and now the stables are really quiet and peaceful; we have enough time and space during the day to ride our horses. Sometimes we don’t mention this enough, but for the top sport we need this kind of comfort. Back to the sport – I am motivated; I have my most experienced horse here, so I hope I can get a good result on Sunday.”

Jeroen Dubbeldam: “This show was already one of the best indoor shows in the world, but this year in particular the progress has been incredible. They have done a fantastic job; you can almost ride everywhere and the setup is very chic. It is the first time here for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping which is something new and special; it brings something extra to the show for us. In terms of my success, this has not been one of my favourite shows. I haven’t been successful at this show yet, but things can change. Expectations are very dangerous; you can only try to prepare yourself as much as you can and hope for the best.”

What attracts you to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“The first thing that attracts me is the sport itself. And then at a show like this, with such a high level of riders, a great atmosphere and with this beautiful brand Rolex as the main sponsor – if that doesn’t attract you as a rider then you had better stop riding.”

Anky van Grunsven – Show President and Dressage Legend

What does it mean for The Dutch Masters to be hosting the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping for the first time?

“It makes me happy and very proud, and now we have tried to make it look even better than before. We are very happy to be in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping with the other big names, Geneva, Calgary and Aachen. We are very honoured and very proud.”

What was your reaction when you were told that The Dutch Masters would be part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“Yes! I think it works out well for both sides; we are happy with Rolex and we hope that they are happy with us, not just now but also in ten years’ time. The pressure is very good – if you think you’re done, well that is the beginning of the end. After Sunday we can start to think what ‘what can we do better next year. That is the only way to stay at the top.”

Behind the Stable Door with David Honnet, Groom to Scott Brash, the Only Rider to Have Won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

How do you prepare the horses for a Show like The Dutch Masters, and especially looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Prix?

“We have to make a detailed plan three to four months in advance. A Rolex Grand Slam show is very important to Scott, and the team, so we know we have to prepare really well. It is not just me; there is a really big team behind Scott so we all work together. Ursula is pretty easy to prepare because she’s naturally good for the show, she has a lot of experience, is a very calm horse, and loves to compete at the Majors especially CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva. She is older now, so needs extra work ahead of the events to make her fit and lean because she likes her food and can get a bit fat! She also needs to be lean because the jumps are big and it’s easier for her to jump if she is lighter.”

And Hello Shelby?

“Shelby has been with us for six months now so he is still a bit green. He is the opposite of Ursula; he is fresher, so we have to keep him under control. He needs to be worked hard so that when he gets to the show he doesn’t go crazy. But he is good; he is pretty easy and straightforward.”

What are your thoughts on the Majors that make up the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“For me, even before I worked for Scott or before Scott became a Rolex Testimonee, they have been the best shows.”

“When you go to any of the four Majors you feel history, even if you are just a groom you get a feeling that you don’t get at the other shows. I like that they are tough courses.”

“You can’t have these shows every week because it is too hard on the horses but three or four times a year, when you know it is going to be hard for the rider and the horses, but the prize is big, it is great. For me the Rolex Grand Slam is the pinnacle of the sport and is almost untouchable which makes it so exciting. Knowing how hard it is to even win one Rolex Grand Prix, to win the Rolex Grand Slam will really stay in people’s heads and is recognised and respected by everyone.”

The 5* jumping action kicked off in style at The Dutch Masters with Germany’s Daniel Deusser proving to be on top form to take the VDL Groep Prize, a qualifier for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix taking place on Sunday 11 March.

With only three horse and rider combinations competing in the jump off, they are the ones to watch as the journey towards the Rolex Grand Slam edges a step closer:

1st Place: DANIEL DEUSSER (GER)

  • Olympic Team Bronze Medallist in 2016
  • Horse: Cornet D’Amour, a 15-year-old grey gelding

2nd Place: PHILIPP WEISHAUPT (GER)

  • Winner of two Majors, the Rolex Grand Prix in CHIO Aachen in 2016 and the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in 2017
  • Horse: LB Convall, an 11-year-old grey stallion

3rd Place: HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED)

  • World Number Two
  • Was honoured as the ‘2017 Rider of the Year’ in the Netherlands
  • Horse: Emerald, a 14-year-old chestnut stallion

E-Mail: press@rolexgrandslam.com
Internet: www.rolexgrandslam.com