Aachen, Germany, 21 May 2015 – Ask any of the world’s top equestrian athletes which of their sport’s major prizes they covet most and the answer is always the same. They dream of winning at Aachen.
In the high-performance world of international show jumping, the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen carries the same status as a championship; indeed, it is often more competitive, the world’s greatest horse and rider combinations are there to take part in the event.
This year, the World Equestrian Festival at Aachen, the first equestrian Major of the year, has been condensed to three days of exceptional sport, and has an earlier date, 29-31 May, due to the European Championships for show jumping and dressage being held at the same venue later in the season.
AN ELITE GROUP OF EQUESTRIAN ATHLETES
Rolex’s relationship with equestrianism is well established and the leading luxury watchmaking brand resonance in a world where precision, performance and courage under pressure are key.
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 qualities of horsemanship and sportsmanship that elevate an athlete to hero status.
All of Rolex’s equestrian Testimonees have their sights set on Aachen. Three of them have experienced the heady taste of victory in Europe’s most prestigious show jumping prize, the Rolex Grand Prix.
The brilliant Brazilian rider Rodrigo Pessoa succeeded in 1994, when he was just 22 years old. The ‘first lady’ of German show jumping, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, soared to victory in the Rolex Grand Prix in 2005, and in 2010 Canada’s finest rider, Eric Lamaze, took the Rolex title.
They are eager once again to feel the intense atmosphere within Aachen’s vast main stadium in front of 40,000 of the sport’s most passionate, knowledgeable fans.
Tough competition will come from fellow Testimonees – the reigning Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat; Frenchman Kevin Staut, already winner of an individual gold medal at the European Championships; and the outstanding American rider Kent Farrington, who finished second in the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen last year.
Rolex’s sole dressage Testimonee, the World and Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth, has won Aachen’s dressage Grand Prix a breath-taking 10 times. Still the most elegant and competitive of all riders, she will strive for an 11th victory in 2015.
A PARTNERSHIP BASED ON EXCELLENCE
Rolex has sponsored the Show Jumping Grand Prix at Aachen since 1999. It provides the most thrilling climax to the show, held in Aachen’s vast main stadium, where the atmosphere is never anything less than electric.
The course for the Grand Prix is widely acknowledged as one of the most demanding in the world. It tests horses and riders to the limit of their skill and talent, demanding absolute perfection and remarkable reserves of courage. Those who conquer the challenge always go on to prove their ability at the Olympics and World Championships; there are no “lucky” winners at Aachen.
Aachen is renowned for its exceptional facilities, immaculate organization and attention to detail. Athletes who take part in the action at Aachen feel that it raises their game simply to be there among the very best of their peers.
Rolex Testimonee Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum holds Aachen in the highest esteem. “I am always so thrilled and excited to go to Aachen; it is absolutely a highlight of my entire summer. Every great rider has ridden there and every great horse has competed there. The crowd is a huge motivating force for me in Aachen; to have 55,000 people cheering for you and hoping that you won’t touch a rail on the course is just an incredible feeling.”
THE SPORT’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE
Rolex enjoys an enduring partnership with Aachen, which is acclaimed as the number one show in the world by both riders and fans. As a result a highly appropriate venue for the first leg of Show Jumping’s ultimate challenge – the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
This unique concept, created in 2013, unites the sport’s three Majors – the Grands Prix of Aachen, Spruce Meadows and CHI Geneva. Riders travel the globe from Germany to Canada and on to Switzerland, striving to claim this exceptional prize. No rider has yet managed to win more than one stage of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. The live contender as we approach Aachen is possibly the most exciting and captivating young rider in the sport.
Scotsman Scott Brash has leapt to the very top of Show Jumping since he was part of Britain’s gold medal-winning team at the London 2012 Olympics. He was the number one ranked rider in the world in 2013 and 2014.
He has continued to enjoy outstanding success since his victory in both the Rolex Grand Prix and the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final in Geneva in December. His tenacity, skill and exceptional horsemanship make him a worthy contender for the next step in his bid to take the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
ROLEX GRAND PRIX AACHEN – PREVIOUS WINNERS
2014 Christian Ahlmann (GER), Codex One
2013 Nick Skelton (GBR), Big Star
2012 Michael Whitaker (GBR), GIG Amai
2011 Janne Friederike Meyer (GER), Cellagon Lambrasco
2010 Eric Lamaze (CAN), Hickstead
2009 Denis Lynch (IRL), Lantinus
2008 Albert Zoer (NED), Sam
2007 Elizabeth Madden (USA), Authentic
2006 Jos Lansink (BEL), Cumano
2005 Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, (GER) Shutterfly
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