Tag Archives: Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Dutch Masters Set to Make Sensational Debut as Part of Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Photo: Leopold van Asten, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix in March 2017 ©The Dutch Masters – Indoor Brabant.

The world’s top riders will converge in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands from 8-11 March for The Dutch Masters, the newest addition to the world’s ultimate prize in show jumping – the Rolex Grand Slam.

Eight of the world’s top 10 riders are expected to contest the highly anticipated Rolex Grand Prix, the first Major of 2018, as they seek to kick off the year in style and be in with a chance of winning the most sought-after prize in the sport: the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.  A prize of €1 million, on top of the prize money from each of the four shows, is on offer to any rider who wins three of the four Majors consecutively, with a further €1 million prize if that same rider continues his or her victory by winning a fourth Major in succession.

Anky van Grunsven, President of The Dutch Masters: “We are thrilled to become part of the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam alongside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva – it is a real honour and we are looking forward to an exciting Grand Prix on Sunday.”

World number two ranked rider, Harrie Smolders: “What a great opportunity to have the chance to compete for one of the Majors in my own country. I am delighted that The Dutch Masters has become part of the Rolex Grand Slam and will be giving it everything I have got to try and win it.”

Founded over 50 years ago, The Dutch Masters, previously known as Indoor Brabant, has long been a highlight of the global equestrian calendar. However, the announcement in 2017 that the show would become the fourth Major within the coveted Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has elevated its status to one of the most prestigious events of the year, alongside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva.

Over 60,000 spectators are expected to attend across the four days of competition, which also features FEI World Cup Dressage as well as the CSI5* Show Jumping, the pinnacle of which is the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday 11 March.

GRAND SLAM CHALLENGER

Sadly, American rider Kent Farrington was forced to officially withdraw from The Dutch Masters due to injury. Farrington won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva last year and with this victory he started his challenge for the Rolex Grand Slam. Unfortunately, his chance to win the Rolex Grand Slam title is now gone for now.

Local riders Harrie Smolders and Maikel van der Vleuten, currently ranked second and eleventh in the world, respectively, will be looking to give the home crowd something to cheer about, following in the footsteps of compatriot Leopold van Asten, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix in 2017.

A strong contingent of Rolex Testimonees will be attempting to emulate the achievement of fellow Testimonee Scott Brash, who remains the only rider so far to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, following his emphatic victories in 2015.  Kevin Staut (FRA), a winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in 2014, heads the challenge, with Canada’s Eric Lamaze, currently ranked world No. 12, making the trip from his winter base in Florida, USA for the competition. World No. 8 Steve Guerdat (SUI) will be making his 16th appearance in a Major, the only rider to have competed in all Majors since they began in 2013, with Britain’s Scott Brash also competing as he seeks to repeat his remarkable Rolex Grand Slam feat.

Reigning European Champion and Olympic silver medalist Peder Fredricson (SWE), world No. 7 Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), and the in-form Henrik Von Eckermann, fresh from victory in FEI World Cup Qualifier in Gothenburg, will add to the stellar line-up of riders taking part.

For further information on The Dutch Masters or the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, please visit www.rolexgrandslam.com.

Riders from around the World Target Dutch Masters in Pursuit of Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

02 March 2018, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands – After a thrilling end to the 2017 international equestrian season at the CHI Geneva, with Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington securing the Rolex Grand Prix at the event for the first time, all eyes now turn to The Netherlands where many of the world’s best riders will congregate on 08-11 March, for the new first Major of the year.

Since its founding more than 50 years ago, The Dutch Masters has focused on delivering elite-level sport alongside a rich tradition and love of horses. In 2017, The Dutch Masters (formerly Indoor Brabant) welcomed 60,000 spectators across four days of competition, as the sports elite riders contested the Rolex Grand Prix, the competition highlight. Such commitment to outstanding equestrian sport and a passion for excellence reflect Rolex values, and in 2014 the leading Swiss watch brand extended its long-term partnership with the event, enhancing its position as one of the most esteemed indoor shows on the calendar.

This shared approach to the pursuit of perfection has been globally recognized, and in 2017 it was announced that The Dutch Masters would join equestrian sport’s most coveted competition, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, as the fourth Major in the cyclical calendar. It now sits beside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva. As such, the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in 2018 will draw the world’s best riders attempting to emulate the achievement of Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash, who in 2015 became the only rider to have won this most sought-after prize to date.

THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX

A demanding course is expected at the sport’s toughest Majors, and The Dutch Masters will be no exception. Having co-designed with Gérard Lachat (SUI) the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Louis Konickx (NED) is welcomed back for Sunday’s highlight competition. “I have designed a technically exacting course with the intention of testing these riders within one of the best indoor arenas around the globe,” Konickx said.

After his victory at the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva, Rolex Testimonee Kevin Staut is well placed to contest for the Rolex Grand Prix. “It’s always a difficult course when designed by Louis, but I look forward to taking the challenge on and will do my best to repeat my winning success here in 2014.”

Along with the roster of elite show jumpers contesting the Rolex Grand Prix, The Dutch Masters will also host the world’s top dressage riders as they compete for title places in the World Cup and World Cup freestyle competitions. Numbered among these outstanding athletes is Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth. With a trophy cabinet overflowing with Olympic, World and European Championship medals, the knowledgeable Dutch crowd is always excited to see the German maestro in action.

ROLEX TESTIMONEES SET TO COMPETE AT ‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH

The Rolex family of Testimonees has been victorious in the Grand Prix four times since 2003, the most recent being French rider and world number four Kevin Staut, who claimed the Rolex Grand Prix in 2014 riding Silvana*HDC.

Canada’s Eric Lamaze will travel from his winter base in Florida, USA for the competition. With a string of successes already at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington (Florida), it would appear Lamaze is in prime form to take up the challenge.

The crowd will welcome the return also of homegrown hero Jeroen Dubbeldam. As reigning World Champion and a former European Champion, Dubbeldam and SFN Zenith are a formidable partnership.

Rolex’s newest Equestrian Testimonee, Martin Fuchs, and youngest, Bertram Allen, will also be entering their top mounts for the competition. Fuchs will be one of two Swiss riders from the Rolex family of Testimonees, with Steve Guerdat journeying to the Dutch show with his mare Bianca XXXIV. Guerdat was recently voted Rider of the Year 2017 and Bianca XXXIV Horse of the Year 2017 in Switzerland.

British show jumper Brash will head to The Dutch Masters looking to further enhance his revered status in the sport.

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A Thrilling Jump Off Saw Gregory Wathelet Claim Victory in Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen

23 July 2017, Aachen, Germany – The first equestrian Major of the year has been won by Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet riding Coree, thrilling the 40,000 capacity crowds in the main arena at CHIO Aachen in a dramatic jump off. Portugal’s Luciana Diniz riding Fit for Fun 13 was second and The Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager riding Sterrehof’s Calimero took third place.

A cool, overcast day welcomed the 40 horse and rider combinations who had qualified for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday 23 July, the finale and highlight of the nine-day World Equestrian Festival in West Germany. As one of the four Majors which make up the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, every rider had travelled here with one aim: to win in one of the sport’s greatest outdoor arenas.

The Rolex Grand Prix course, designed by the notoriously demanding Frank Rothenberger asked these world class pairings continuous questions over the first round, with 16 jumping efforts to tackle. Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash was third to go and despite a seemingly faultless start, the penultimate triple combination saw Brash take an unlucky four faults.

Testament to the difficulty of the course, only seven clear rounds were produced within the time, including a foot perfect round from Canadian Olympic 2016 bronze medallist and Rolex Testimonee, Eric Lamaze. Two seconds faster than the rest of the field; he had set the bar high for the second round.

18 riders progressed through to round two, with Scott Brash and Eric Lamaze joined by fellow Rolex Testimonees Kent Farrington and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, both of whom carried four faults from the first round.

The course was altered for the second stage of the competition: a revised track of 15 jumping efforts tested each horse and rider combination, requiring utmost accuracy and precision to leave the poles standing. Clear rounds were easier to come by and after Luciana Diniz of Portugal followed Marc Houtzager by posting the second double clear, the crowd knew it was going to be treated to a jump-off. Gregory Wathelet of Belgium and Laura Kraut of the USA followed suit, taking the final round to four competitors. Despite recording the fastest first round ride, Rolex Testimonee Eric Lamaze had an unlucky four faults, taking him out of contention of winning the Rolex Grand Prix.

First to go in the jump off was Marc Houtzager, posting a clear round with a time of 53.66 seconds, but this was quickly beaten as Luciana Diniz raced around the course in 47.40 seconds. With two riders left to go, a hushed silence descended over the crowd as Wathelet entered the arena aboard his mare Coree. The pair turned up the pressure and took another second off the fastest recorded time, finishing on 46.60. The cheering crowd once again quietened as the last rider to go, Laura Kraut, entered the arena. Unfortunately, luck is not always on your side in this sport and Kraut knocked the last rail, dropping her into fourth place, giving Wathelet the title spot.

Speaking about his first Rolex Grand Prix win at CHIO Aachen, Wathelet remarked, “Rolex has the best Shows to form the Rolex Grand Slam with Aachen, Calgary, Geneva and Den Bosch and every rider wants to win. For me it is a dream come to true to win the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen and have my name on the wall and Calgary would be the same, so I hope to get a good result there also.”

Show Director Frank Kemperman spoke after the Rolex Grand Prix: “First of all I would like to congratulate the winners; you presented some fantastic sport today; a special thank you to your horses. A big thank you to Rolex because without Rolex it would not be possible to have this Grand Prix today. This is the start of a new Rolex Grand Slam for Gregory; our friends in Calgary and Geneva are waiting for you.”

Along with the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping trophy, Wathelet also received an engraved Oyster Perpetual Datejust II. All eyes will now be looking ahead to the next equestrian Major at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September, where Wathelet will be attempting to continue his reign as the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

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CHIO Aachen Welcomes the World’s Best to Contend for the First Equestrian Major of 2017

05 July 2017, Aachen, Germany – Elite competitors and world-class show jumping will be on display at CHIO Aachen this July, as the sport’s leading riders compete in the first equestrian Major of the year.

Each summer over 360,000 spectators travel to the iconic equestrian venue in West Germany to watch five disciplines of equestrian sport over 10 days; this includes dressage, eventing, driving, vaulting and show jumping. Hailed as the world’s greatest equine sporting exhibition, the historic CHIO Aachen is one of the calendar year’s most highly anticipated events.

The competition will culminate on Sunday 23 July with the highlight of the show, the Rolex Grand Prix. As part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping the pinnacle of CHIO Aachen will be played out in front of a full house in the main jumping arena, a spectator setting which accommodates over 40,000 fans. Part of the magic of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen can be attributed to the notorious difficulty of the jumping efforts, designed by world-famous Frank Rothenberger. Generally considered the most demanding course for show jumping athletes, the competing horse and rider combinations will strive to be crowned the coveted champion by producing a faultless performance over the 1.60m 5* track.

Having taken the top spot in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in December last year, Brazil’s Pedro Veniss will be seeking his second consecutive Major to keep his Grand Slam dream alive.

ROLEX AND CHIO AACHEN

Rolex prides itself on its long standing partnerships at the pinnacle of the sport. 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of Pat Smythe becoming Rolex’s first equestrian Testimonee, an example of an exceptional athlete who laid the foundations for the enduring relationship between Rolex and the world’s finest competitions and Testimonees that is thriving today.

CHIO Aachen is a shining example of that flourishing relationship. The affiliation between Rolex and Aachen has continued to go from strength-to-strength since ties were first made in 1999.

Rolex Director of Communication & Image, Arnaud Boetsch, said: “As Rolex celebrates 60 years in equestrianism we remain dedicated to one of the greatest equestrian shows of the calendar year. Like Rolex, Aachen is an iconic institution symbolising both heritage and world class performance.”

SHOW JUMPING’S SUPREME COMPETITION

Established collectively in 2013 by CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has been extended to four Majors with the inclusion of The Dutch Masters in 2018. Riders will now have the chance to win the coveted title at four events across the show jumping year while keeping the same format of needing to win three consecutive Majors to claim the Grand Slam title.

In 2017 the world’s best will be hoping to replicate the achievement of Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash, the British rider who made history in 2015 by winning every consecutive Grand Slam Event, the first ever rider to do so.

Brash remarked: “Every rider wants to be part of the Rolex Grand Slam and have the opportunity to try and win the most coveted prize in our sport. Aachen is a highlight of the year and everyone will be heading to the first equestrian Major with one aim: to win.”

ROLEX EQUESTRIAN TESTIMONEES AT CHIO AACHEN – PAST AND PRESENT

Rolex understands that to produce one’s very best, precision is of the utmost importance. This attention to detail that can be found in abundance amongst its sporting affiliates, not least its equestrian Testimonees.

The equestrian athletes who perform at the highest level must hone their craft so that they can execute to such a finely tuned detail under immense pressure and when the stakes are at their highest.

The Grand Prix (named Rolex Grand Prix since 1999) at CHIO Aachen has an illustrious list of previous winners not least the legendary father and son duo of Nelson and Rodrigo Pessoa, Rolex’s longest serving equestrian Testimonee. Alongside Rodrigo, Canada’s two-time Individual gold medal winner, Eric Lamaze, the ‘first lady’ of German show jumping, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, and Dutch hero Jeroen Dubbeldam have all taken the title spot here.

American Olympian and current World Number One Kent Farrington will be looking to continue his fine form at Aachen after being crowned champion at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the Rolex Grand Prix, for the second year running.

With recent victory in the CSIO 5* FEI Nations cup in La Baule, Kevin Staut will be a keen contender for the title prize. Swiss rider Steve Guerdat and Rolex’s youngest Testimonee Bertram Allen will both be travelling to Germany to challenge their international rivals.

Rolex’s most decorated dressage Testimonee, World and Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth has won Aachen’s dressage Grand Prix an outstanding 10 times. As runner-up in last year’s event expect her to be at her best as she attempts to claim a coveted 11th title in the breathtaking 6,300 seater Deutsche Bank Stadium.

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The Second Equestrian Major of the Year Welcomes the World’s Best to Canada

05 September 2016, Spruce Meadows, Canada – The world’s best horse and rider combinations will gather in Calgary from 7-11 September as Spruce Meadows plays host to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the second equestrian Major of the year.

The 41st edition of this world-renowned event will culminate on Sunday 11 September with the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, the focal point of the Masters and one of the world’s most demanding Grand Prix competitions on the equestrian circuit. As part of the three Majors that link the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, it is fitting that this prestigious trophy will be contended by Rolex Testimonees and the only Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping winner Scott Brash, alongside current Olympic Individual bronze medallist and Rolex Testimonee, Eric Lamaze.

“Winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping at Spruce Meadows in 2015 was a dream come true for me so it holds great memories, I’d love to go back there and try and earn the title again,” says Scott Brash ahead of his return to the iconic venue where he became the first ever victor of the Rolex Grand Slam by virtue of winning his third consecutive major.

All eyes will be focused on the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Philipp Weishaupt, winner of the first Equestrian Major, the Rolex Grand Prix, at CHIO Aachen in July, aboard LB Convall.

Weishaupt will be looking to continue his path towards greatness and produce a performance akin to that in Aachen, one of precision and perfection, which will be required in order to reign supreme against the world’s greatest.

THE ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF SHOW JUMPING
Launched in 2013, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the only global initiative to reward the outstanding rider who wins the three Majors consecutively – CHIO Aachen in Germany, the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Canada and CHI Geneva in Switzerland.

Only a great horseman or woman could win show jumping’s most prestigious challenge. In September 2015, the British competitor, Scott Brash made history and became the first ever to succeed.

SPRUCE MEADOWS MASTERS
Spruce Meadows is regarded as the most versatile event location in the world. It was the founding family’s vision to create a unique friendly atmosphere where trade and world class sport could thrive. The Masters tournament is the climax of four months of world class equine competition, everything show jumping has to offer is at home in Spruce Meadows, ranging from youth and amateur through to the pinnacle of professional sport.

The seven outdoor arenas and two indoor arenas are spread out over grounds measuring 553 acres, making it an ideal venue to stable 1,000 horses and host approximately 500,000 spectators every year. Set among rolling green pastures with the beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Spruce Meadows is a unique and world-renowned venue.

ROLEX TESTIMONEES
A fascination with equestrian sport comes from the fact that however talented and consistent riders may be, they must possess an exceptional range of abilities to form winning partnerships with their horses. They must be patient, sportsmanlike and courageous. Rolex has developed particularly close partnerships with a handful of the very best riders in the world – its equestrian Testimonees, all of whom reflect these qualities.

Many of Rolex’s Testimonees are returning with their leading horses this year. U.S. Olympic silver medal winning team member Kent Farrington will be there to contend for this trophy alongside 2012 Olympic Champion and Rolex Grand Prix winner at CHI Geneva in 2015, Steve Guerdat.

The Canadian sporting hero Eric Lamaze will also compete this year. He took home Individual gold at the 2008 Olympics and Individual bronze at this year’s Olympics in Rio, and his many Spruce Meadows victories include two at The International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex (the predecessor to the now CP ‘International’).

The 2015 winner and Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion Scott Brash will be returning to defend his title, alongside the ‘first lady’ of German show jumping Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, fresh from claiming Team bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. French rider Kevin Staut will also travel to Canada after a successful Olympics winning Team gold in the show jumping competition.

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Philipp Weishaupt Wins Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, the First Equestrian Major of the Year

Image courtesy of ROLEX.

Home favourite Philipp Weishaupt, riding LB Convall, thrilled the capacity 40,000 crowd to win the Rolex Grand Prix on the final day of the world famous CHIO Aachen, the highlight of the World Equestrian Festival, and the first equestrian Major of the year.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping holder Scott Brash, riding Ursula XII, took second place and Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya aboard Carlo 273 was third.

Under an overcast sky and humid conditions, 40 riders from 13 nations qualified for the Rolex Grand Prix, and were faced with a typically challenging course set by designer Frank Rothenberger. Rightly considered by both spectators and riders as the toughest Grand Prix in the world, the first round showed the sport of show jumping at its most challenging.

Reiterating the importance of the clock, only 13 riders completed their first round within the time allowed, but incurred jumping penalties. Three combinations jumped but picked up penalties against the clock. Separated by time faults, the first rider into the ring Philipp Weishaupt accumulated two, behind Gerco Schröder and Martin Fuchs with one.

The second round seemed like an entirely different competition with the seventeen starters posting eleven clear rounds including a scintillating performance from Rolex Testimonee Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum riding Fibonacci 17, who also jumped double-clear during the Nations Cup competition earlier in the week, and Aachen favourite Marcus Ehning on board Pret a Tout, who were willed over every fence by the patriotic crowd.

But it was Weishaupt who turned up the pressure, with a fault-free second round leaving him in the driving seat. The atmosphere was electric as the crowds waited for the last two riders, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs riding Clooney 51 and Gerco Schröder riding Glock’s Cognac Champblanc N.O.P., to enter the ring. But sport can be cruel, and with Fuchs’ horse refusing the final fence, and Schröder incurring four faults, Philipp Weishaupt and LB Convall were crowned the winner of the Rolex Grand Prix.

Weishaupt has only ridden the nine-year-old LB Convall for the last ten months, starting the 2016 summer outdoor season competing in 3* Grand Prix classes, and only progressing up to 5* level during the Grand Prix at the Spruce Meadows summer series, which proved to be the perfect preparation for the large grass arena at Aachen.

Commenting on his victory, Weishaupt said, “I was first to go so did not have too many expectations. When I walked it I knew it was hard to jump a clear round, but Convall jumped amazingly in both the first and second round. I have been riding in the Grand Prix here at Aachen for the last ten or twelve years and that was the toughest course I have ever jumped.”

He continued by saying, “I just did my thing and it is unbelievable. I just can’t believe it.”

This year’s Rolex Grand Prix saw the welcome return of Scott Brash’s Ursula XII who proved she is back to winning ways with a clear in the second round. Speaking about Ursula, Brash said, “Ursula jumped wonderful today and I’m delighted with her. She has been out of the sport for two years; she’s now 15 so to get her back to this level of the sport, all my team, all my staff have done a wonderful job getting her back this top end, so touch wood, she feels fantastic and hopefully we’ll get a victory with her soon.”

All eyes will now be looking ahead to the next equestrian Major at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September, where Weishaupt will attempt to continue his reign as the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, and write his name in the history books alongside Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash.

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Highlights News Film from the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen

18 July 2016, Aachen, Germany – The Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen in Germany 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 venue, as the finest riders compete for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix title.

Please find below a short copyright free news film, presented by Rolex.

YOUTUBE LINK

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CHIO Aachen Welcomes Steve Guerdat, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender

05 July 2016, Aachen, Germany – Elite performances and highly competitive show jumping will return to Aachen in July, as the world’s finest riders compete in the first equestrian Major of the year.

Considered by many to be the most breathtaking equestrian show in the world, CHIO Aachen attracts a record attendance of passionate supporters, with over 400,000 spectators across 10 days of exhilarating competition.

CHIO Aachen offers competition in five equestrian disciplines, including show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving and vaulting, with the Rolex Grand Prix, the highlight of the competition, on Sunday 17 July.

Designed by the legendary course designer Frank Rothenberger, the course for the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen is widely acknowledged as one of the most demanding for equine athletes, testing horses and riders to the limit of their skill and talent. Crowds in excess of 40,000 are expected to watch Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat tackle this challenge and attempt to maintain his position as the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

THE ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF SHOW JUMPING

Created jointly in 2013 by CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping rewards the rider who wins the Grand Prix at each of the shows, amounting to three Grands Prix in succession.

The Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen has been won by some of the most famous names in the sport, including father and son team Nelson and Rodrigo Pessoa, alongside Rodrigo’s fellow Rolex Testimonees, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Eric Lamaze and Scott Brash. The year 2015 was momentous for the international world of show jumping, as Brash won the pinnacle of equestrian sporting achievement. Aachen was the second Major in his path to writing history, before lifting the prestigious trophy in the atmospheric grass arena at Spruce Meadows.

This year all eyes will be focused on leading Swiss rider and current Olympic champion Steve Guerdat, who is following in the footsteps of Brash by winning at CHI Geneva in December 2015. Guerdat will be looking to continue his quest in challenging for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping at Aachen to firmly establish his own place, alongside Brash, in the ranks of equestrian legends.

EQUESTRIAN TESTIMONEES SET TO COMPETE AT AACHEN

To be the very best, an athlete must be able to deliver repeatedly under pressure. As the world’s leading makers of timepieces, this is something Rolex understands perfectly.

Rolex has developed particularly close partnerships with a handful of the very best riders in the world – its equestrian Testimonees. These men and women are notable not only for their exceptionally high levels of achievement, but also for the virtues of horsemanship and sportsmanship.

They must be patient and persistent, as well as courageous, resilient and quick thinking. It is these qualities that turn a rider into a horseman, qualities found at the heart of every Rolex Testimonee.

Many of Rolex’s Testimonees are set to return with their leading horses this year, to compete for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Two-time individual gold medal winner and Canadian sporting hero Eric Lamaze will be ready to challenge Guerdat. Having won the Rolex title here in 2010, he will be hungry for further success. Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash is expected to return in 2016 to defend his Rolex Grand Prix title, alongside the ‘first lady’ of German show jumping Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, who will be looking to repeat her 2005 victory at Aachen.

Kent Farrington will be eager to continue his winning form at the end of 2015, with victory in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva. Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen, French rider Kevin Staut and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa have also all entered their world class horses to compete for the esteemed Rolex Grand Prix trophy.

Rolex’s iconic dressage Testimonee, the World and Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth has won Aachen’s dressage Grand Prix a breathtaking 11 times, and is set to return again in 2016 to compete in the magnificent 20,000 seater Deutsche Bank stadium.

AN OPENING CEREMONY LIKE NO OTHER

Rolex has sponsored the Grand Prix at Aachen since 1999 and are proud to continue their enduring partnership with this iconic and emblematic event.

More than 160 horses and around 500 active participants are expected in the impressive main stadium on 12th July for the official opening ceremony. There will be plenty of surprises, spectacular stunts and impressive show elements in the fascinating floodlit atmosphere of the stadium that holds a crowd of 40,000. “Forget everything you know about the CHIO Aachen opening ceremonies to date. This year’s ceremony will be better than ever,” said Show Director Frank Kemperman.

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Eric Lamaze Closes 2015 Season with Top Three Finish in Geneva

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.

For more information on Eric Lamaze, visit www.EricLamaze.com.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Steve Guerdat Displays Precision Timing to Win Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

Steve Guerdat and Nino Des Buissonnets. ©Rolex/Kit Houghton.

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

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