Niels Bruynseels at Knokke Hippique (Photo: Knokke Hippique)
The second Major of the year, the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, takes place on 22nd July and is expected to attract over 40,000 spectators to witness the prestigious competition. The course, set by Frank Rothenberger, is considered to be one of the most challenging and demanding 5* tracks. The sport’s finest horse and rider partnerships are tested to their limits, displaying enviable skill and talent, striving to make history and to be crowned the Rolex Grand Prix champion.
Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch
With the world’s best horse and rider combinations set to take center stage for Rolex Grand Prix, there are some notable contenders whose recent performance would state they are on track for a Rolex Major win:
Niels Bruynseels, the current Rolex live contender, has continued his great form since producing a lightning jump-off round at The Dutch Masters aboard his 12-year-old mare Gancia de Muze in March. The notoriously fast duo took the top prize in the Rolex Grand Prix at Knokke Hippique following a speedy and faultless jump-off. With the next stage of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping very much in his sites, Bruynseels will be pulling out all the stops to make sure his Rolex Grand Slam journey continues.
One of the most experienced riders on the circuit, Swiss hero Steve Guerdat, has had a successful summer so far. His most notable victory was in front of HM The Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May. Seeing off top-class competitors, Guerdat rode an impeccable round to snap up the Rolex Grand Prix victory. Guerdat is no stranger when it comes to winning Majors; crowned champion at CHI Geneva on more than one occasion, Guerdat stays calm under pressure and will certainly be a formidable contender for the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen.
Fellow Rolex Testimonee, Eric Lamaze, has prepared well for the CHIO Aachen. At the Rolex Grand Prix in Windsor, he shaved time off Guerdat’s winning result, but a light touch on the pole resulted in four penalties. Fresh from his victory in the ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows with his 15-year-old mare, Fine Lady, Eric Lamaze will be hoping to continue his recent form as he eyes up the coveted Rolex Grand Prix trophy.
Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca is also looking strong, having won the Rolex Grand Prix in Rome (Piazza di Siena). De Luca and his chestnut gelding, Halifax Van Het Kluizebos, jumped two immaculate clear rounds, stopping the clock at 45.37 secs, making him one to watch.
Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum has tasted victory at CHIO Aachen once before, having won the Rolex Grand Prix in 2005 on her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Shutterfly. Michaels-Beerbaum will have the patriotic home-crowd support, willing her to repeat her 2005 success thirteen years on.
Rolex Testimonee, Scott Brash, the first and only rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, brings a wealth of experience and always performs well under pressure.
Scott Brash and Hello M’Lady. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)
Olympia, London (GBR), 18 December 2016 – Scott Brash became the 15th British rider to come out on top in his home leg of the FEI World Cup™ Jumping series when galloping to victory with Hello M’Lady in the Longines qualifier at Olympia in London (GBR). This was the eighth round of the 2016/2017 Western European League, and the result leaves the 31-year-old rider only a few points short of a qualifying spot for the eagerly-anticipated Longines Final in Omaha, Nebraska (USA) next March.
The host-nation runners were in flying form, with Brash’s London 2012 Olympic gold-medal-winning team-mate, 33-year-old Ben Maher, finishing a close second with Diva while young Belgian talent, 23-year-old Nicola Philippaerts slotted into third with H&M Harley vd Bisschop. It was a frustrating result for Maher, who was also runner-up in the same event last year. “I wanted to win, but if I was going to be beaten by anyone I was hoping it would be Scott!” he said.
There were 13 into the jump-off, and it was Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson who set the pace with H&M Cue Channa who hit only the very last. Seventh to go, Maher produced the first clear in 38.85 seconds before America’s Laura Kraut and Zeremonie and John Whitaker and Ornellaia followed with foot-perfect runs but couldn’t catch him. Philippaerts, whose famous father Ludo won this prestigious competition with the legendary Darco 27 years ago, came close when breaking the beam in 39.07 seconds, but it was Brash who demoted his fellow-countryman when second-last to go.
“Ben was very fast back to the double, and it was on a blind turn which was tricky for the horses, so we had to be quick to beat him!” Brash said, after galloping home in 38.73 seconds. And when it fell apart for Germany’s Marcus Ehning and his Madrid-leg winner Comme Il Faut who were last to go, it was an all-British one-two.
“It’s very special to win in front of the home crowd; they were really behind us and it gives you that extra edge!” said Brash who now has the series Final in his sights. “I’ve never really targeted it in the past because the calendar is so full and there’s often a championship, but I’m very fortunate to have a strong team, all coming back from injury, including Hello Sanctos,” he added.
Scott Brash GBR (1st), talking about Hello M’Lady: “She’s a wonderful horse, really talented. She jumped really well in Geneva last week but we were unlucky; you have to get everything right on the day. My next outing is in Liverpool for the New Year; it’s great to get another 4-Star event in our country so I’m very happy to support it.”
Ben Maher GBR (2nd): “Diva jumped great; she loves this show. Congratulations to Scott – I couldn’t have done any more, and I’d have been happy with sixth!”
Nicola Philippaerts (3rd): “It’s fantastic to be sitting here with these two great riders! My horse jumped well and I’m very happy. My father (Ludo Philippaerts) came to help me and it’s a big advantage to have him here at the big shows.”
Kelvin Bywater GBR, Course Designer: “I was extremely pleased; we had good sport and good entertainment. It’s a team effort.”
John Roche, FEI Jumping Director: “Olympia, under the management of Simon Brooks-Ward, ran an amazing event which is one of the flagship fixtures of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League.”
Scott Brash GBR (1st): “The courses nowadays are big and technical and Kelvin (course designer Kelvin Bywater) did a wonderful job but some horses will just skip round whatever the builder puts up!”
Scott Brash thrilled the packed house at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, with a virtuoso performance aboard the fleet-hoofed mare Hello M’Lady to snatch the Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier presented by H&M by the tiniest of margins.
There were double celebrations when Ben Maher, the last British rider to win this prestigious class, back in 2011, finished second on another mare, Diva ll, by just 0.12 of a second.
On H&M Sunday at Olympia, it was appropriate that Belgian rider Nicola Philippaerts, whose father, Ludo, won this class back in 1988, was third on H&M Harley vd Bisschop.
Thirteen riders from eight nations went through to Kelvin Bywater’s ingenious jump-off track which hinged on getting the sharp angle back to a double on a blind turn and then clearing the upright fence on a curving galloping line.
“Kelvin [Bywater, course-designer] did a great job,” commented Scott. “It was big and technical but, nowadays, the standard is so high that there are horses that will just skip round.”
Only five of the 13 riders achieved a double clear and German maestro Marcus Ehning, who could have spoilt the British party when last to go on Comme Il Faut, racked up a surprising 20 penalties.
US rider Laura Kraut, whose partner Nick Skelton was already en route to Birmingham for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, was fourth on Zeremonie and 61-year-old John Whitaker rode superbly to finish fifth on Ornellaia while crowd favourite Lorenzo De Luca finished sixth for Italy with one rail down on Limestone Gray.
Olympia represents the eighth of 13 legs in the Longines FEI World Cup™ and Scott’s win elevates him 26 places to sixth in the standings and within sight of a place at the final in Omaha, USA, in April.
“I think I will target the FEI World Cup™ Final this year,” revealed Scott. “I don’t very often, because there’s such a full calendar, but I’m very fortunate to have a strong team of horses, some of which are back from injury now – including Hello Sanctos [his Olympic gold medallist] and Hello M’Lady.”
Of Lady Kirkham’s agile nine-year-old mare, Scott commented: “She’s sharp, an exceptional jumper and very much one for the future. It was very special to win in front of a home crowd.”
Ben Maher, the first rider to go clear in the jump-off, could perhaps consider himself hard done by, having set such an exacting standard, but his mare was returning to form and he said simply: “I would have been happy with sixth, quite honestly. Diva loves this show and jumped brilliantly; it’s just great to have her back. Congratulations to Scott – I couldn’t have done any more.”
30 November 2016, Geneva, Switzerland – The 2016 global equestrian season comes to a close in scintillating fashion with the third equestrian Major of the year hosted by CHI Geneva.
The 56th edition of this prestigious show takes place from 8-11 December 2016 in Rolex headquarters’ pristine home city of Geneva. The Swiss indoor show has been voted the world’s best show jumping event for the 8th time by many of equestrian’s greatest riders and Rolex is proud to have been the presenting partner since 1996.
As the only one of the three Majors that comprise the Rolex Grand Slam to be hosted indoors, CHI Geneva is unique in its setting and atmosphere, creating an entirely fresh challenge for riders and horses alike.
ROLEX GRAND PRIX
CHI Geneva builds to a climax on Sunday 11 December with the Rolex Grand Prix, one of the three Majors that together form equestrian sport’s most sought-after award, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
As one of the most renowned competitions in the show jumping season, winning the Rolex Grand Prix at the Palexpo stadium in Geneva will require supreme courage and immaculate timing. With an imposing course set to defy the world’s foremost riders, an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd creates a cacophony of noise to complete an atmosphere unparalleled in equestrian sport.
SCOTT BRASH EYEING HISTORY
To date Scott Brash is the only winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the sport’s greatest prize. By winning the three equestrian Majors in succession in 2015, a feat even more impressive considering it was achieved on the same horse, Brash secured his place in equestrian sport’s illustrious hall of fame.
After winning the 2016 CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, in Spruce Meadows, Brash arrives to Geneva as the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam, once again in a position to take home the ultimate prize. He will need to demonstrate passion, determination and exceptional performance to continue his quest towards a second Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping title.
“To win the three equestrian Majors back to back, and accomplish a second Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping title, would be incredible. It’s what every rider wants to be a part of. I am delighted to be back on track and am looking forward to attempting to take the next chapter in this extraordinary challenge.”
Having triumphed in 2014 aboard Hello Sanctos, Brash knows exactly what is required to win CHI Geneva, putting him in an excellent position to compete against his fellow equestrian elite.
ROLEX TESTIMONEES SUCCESS AT CHI GENEVA
The last three victors in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva have all been Rolex Testimonees, underlying the exceptional talent of this group of supreme athletes.
Steve Guerdat has enjoyed the most successful record at CHI Geneva, winning the title in 2006, 2013, and most recently in 2015. The Swiss favorite will be looking to return in 2016 and contend for his fourth title. The champion equestrian athlete will be riding Nino des Buissonnets, in what will be the gelding’s last competitive appearance and third CHI Geneva title if the pair win. It seems only fitting that Guerdat will be retiring his prize horse at his home show.
The 2008 champion, Eric Lamaze, will be looking to add a second Geneva title to his extensive list of titles when he enters the Palexpo arena riding Fine Lady 5.
Kevin Staut, who was victorious in 2010’s jump-off, and Great Britain’s Scott Brash complete the list of Rolex Testimonees who have triumphed at the world’s premier indoor equestrian show.
Winning his first ever Rolex Grand Prix at Geneva aboard Voyeur would be a superb way for Kent Farrington, current world number four, to complete a victorious 2016 season in which he won Team silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, arguably Germany’s greatest show jumper of all time, has one of the finest equestrian resumes in history and with the Rolex Grand Prix missing off that impressive list she will be hoping to make amends riding her gelding Fibonacci 17.
The newest Rolex Testimonees, Jeroen Dubbeldam riding SFN Zenith N.O.P., and Bertram Allen, will also be vying to win their first Rolex Grand Prix at Geneva, adding to their long list of equestrian accomplishments.
ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL
The Rolex International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) Top 10 Final is one of the highlights of the CHI Geneva programme. Held on Friday 9 December 2016, this exciting competition brings together the world’s best horse and rider partnerships in one of the most prestigious classes in the global equestrian calendar.
With only the world’s Top 10 ranked riders invited to participate, the roster of the Top 10 Final is unrivalled in world equestrian sport. Winning the coveted title requires impeccable precision and timing.
Rolex Testimonee and defending champion Kent Farrington will return to CHI Geneva to defend his Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final crown, having enjoyed an immaculate year that included helping Team USA to silver at the Rio Olympic Games.
Alongside Kent Farrington, Rolex Testimonees Eric Lamaze, Steve Guerdat and Kevin Staut have also qualified to compete in the 2016 Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. Rolex has proudly supported the IJRC Top 10 Final since it’s inauguration in 2001 and five of its equestrian Testimonees have claimed the sought-after trophy: Rodrigo Pessoa (2003 and 2005), Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (2004 and 2006), Steve Guerdat (2010), Scott Brash (2014) and Kent Farrington in 2015.
Scott Brash and Ursula XII. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB – For the second year in a row, Great Britain’s Scott Brash took the win in the biggest Grand Prix in show jumping competing at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO5*. On Sunday, September 11, Brash and Ursula XII were the winners of the $3 Million CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, in a thrilling jump-off against USA’s McLain Ward and HH Azur. Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca and Ensor de Litrange LXII finished third.
Brash also won the $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex, in 2015, along with taking the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping for the first time in history. The prize money was even bigger this year, initially listed as $2 million, and then jumping up to $3 million in an additional increase made by CP just prior to the event. For his win alone, Brash took home a check of $1 million.
Leopoldo Palacios (VEN) set difficult tracks for Sunday’s competition, held over two rounds. A challenging oxer-oxer-vertical triple combination set next to the in-gate with double liverpools was responsible for many faults in the first round. Only four entries were able to clear the first round course without fault.
The top twelve entries in the first round were then invited to return for round two in reverse order of penalties. The twelve that returned included the four clear rounds, as well as seven competitors carrying four faults, and one entry on five faults.
The four best entries from round one were able to maintain their positions on top of the leaderboard after the second round. Scott Brash and McLain Ward each jumped clear in round two to move on to a third round for an exciting head-to-head jump-off. Brash was first to go on the short course with Ursula XII and set the challenge with a clear round in 41.19 seconds. Ward followed with HH Azur, but dropped one rail to solidify a second place finish in a time of 43.11 seconds.
Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca just missed out on the jump-off with a single time fault in round two, leaving the rider in third place overall with Stephex Stable’s Ensor de Litrange LXII. Kent Farrington (USA) was clear in round one and dropped one rail in round two to finish with four faults. Kevin Staut (FRA) also finished on four faults in total with a rail in round one and a clear in round two. Their tie was broken by first round times, leaving Farrington and Amalaya Investment’s Voyeur in fourth place, and Staut aboard For Joy Van’t Zorgvliet HDC in fifth place.
The biggest Grand Prix in the sport, the CP International is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, which was won for the first time by Brash on a historic occasion in 2015. Brash and Hello Sanctos topped three consecutive grand prix competitions in Geneva, Aachen, and then Calgary to earn the title. Though he was not in contention for the Grand Slam this year – he finished a close second in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen with Ursula XII in July – winning the CP International for the second year in a row was just as exciting for Brash.
“It is a little different, but just as good actually,” Brash stated. “I am actually so happy for my horse Ursula because it has been a long road with her. She has always been an unbelievable horse, but probably never had the recognition she deserves. She was the number one horse in the world, but never actually won a grand prix (before today). She was second so many times in so many big grand prixs, but never actually won one, so she picked a good one to win. She went through two years of injuries, and to finally get her back to the top end of this sport and then win the biggest grand prix in the world, I am absolutely over the moon, for the horse especially.”
Though several riders have won the CP International Grand Prix on more than one occasion, only Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa has previously achieved the feat of winning the competition in back-to-back years. He took the title in 2000 and 2001 aboard Gandini Lianos. Brash’s wins were with two different horses, but he had great confidence in Ursula this year, just as he had in Hello Sanctos in 2015.
Ursula XII, a 15-year-old Scottish Sport Horse mare (Ahorn x Papageno) owned by Lady P Harris and Lady P Kirkham, previously showed at Spruce Meadows with Great Britain’s Tina Fletcher in 2012 and jumped well during that time.
“I know her very well and I was always quite confident that she would be good in this ring, but never had the opportunity to bring her here,” Brash detailed. “I was just happy to get her here in good form to give us a chance at the grand prix, and she sure delivered today.”
With the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping on the line last year, Brash had a lot of extra pressure on his shoulders to do well. This year was different, but the jump-off with recent Rio Olympic team silver medalists McLain Ward and HH Azur presented a different kind of pressure.
“I think, to be fair, there was more pressure last year,” Brash admitted. “I do not think I was just expected to win the grand prix this year. I think all eyes were on Sanctos last year. He was in great form – he had won in Geneva and Aachen – and everyone was talking about it and the lead up to it. This year has been a lot different, but the pressure of the competition is still difficult. McLain and Azur are a fantastic combination, so I knew it was not over until he went. The pressure was on until the last moment.
“I am very confident in her because I know what a wonderful horse she is, but it was a strong field out there and when you have the likes of McLain and Azur coming behind you, you feel like you are at a bit of a disadvantage,” he continued. “Going out first in the jump-off actually probably worked in my favor this time. I knew I had to keep the poles up, but I knew I also had to do more than that to try to beat McLain, so I took a few risks and a few chances and she jumped amazing.”
Though Ward would have liked to win, his second place prize of $600,000 was still bigger than most competitions around the world, and he was very pleased with HH Azur on Sunday. The 10-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui) owned by Double H Farm and Francois Mathy has achieved a lot at a young age and only continues to improve.
“She is still a young horse and still learning a little bit to jump-off against the clock and to jump three rounds,” Ward noted. “That gets better with maturity, so I do think that as amazing as she is, the future is even brighter for her.
“If you are going to be second to anybody, being second to Scott is a good choice,” Ward added. “He is brilliant and has probably been the most on-form rider over the last several years. I am not disappointed. The horse was spectacular. That was the only fence she touched all day; I thought she jumped in great form.”
Though the course was tough for many competitors, the best horses and riders rose to the top on Sunday, and Leopoldo Palacios was happy with the final result. With the biggest payday in show jumping at stake, the competition is meant to be challenging and has only seen three jump-offs in the 40-year history of the event.
Remarking on his outcome, Palacios stated, “In reality, it is not my first time that I have used this triple combination, with the same material, in the same position. I am not very happy that there were so many problems in that combination; that was not what I expected, but at the end I think I had a very good grand prix. I want to congratulate the winners. I think the competition today was beautiful except for the problem on the liverpools. I am happy that we had a jump-off today. I have a very tough second round, and the time allowed was short, as Lorenzo can tell you. Scott and McLain did fantastic, and they deserved to have a jump-off.”
As Palacios mentioned, Lorenzo de Luca and Ensor de Litrange LXII finished third with just the one time fault in round two, but the rider was happy with his result. This was de Luca’s first trip to Spruce Meadows, and he also won a competition earlier in the week aboard Limestone Grey.
“I had a great week, so I can’t complain,” de Luca stated. “When you come to Spruce Meadows, like everyone told me and as I have watched, it should be hard. You find double ditches here just like you find in Aachen. The same combination was used in Aachen last year at the European Championships. You need to have a good horse.”
De Luca continued, “This show is amazing, and my horses jumped great. This is my first time here, and if I can come again next year, for sure I will come. I think this is the best show ever. It is proper sport, big classes, and good jump-offs. It is fantastic to be here.”
Concluding the day’s competition, Brash also remarked on the difficulty of the event, noting that the course builder set an appropriately demanding track.
“When we come to Spruce Meadows, we know what we are in for,” Brash stated. “It is the richest grand prix in the world, and it should be difficult. We know that those double of ditches are going to be in there. You do still need a special horse to be able to jump that combination. It is all very hard, but we expect it to be hard. If there were more clears, and there were six or seven in the third round, I would be disappointed with the competition. The same with Aachen – the course builder was criticized because there were no clears in the first round – but these are the hardest grand prixs in the world and they should be difficult in my opinion.”
With another fantastic win to his name, Brash heads next to compete with Ursula on the team for Great Britain at the Furusiyya FEI Nations’ Cup Finals in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of September. The mare will then have a short break before preparing for the third leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in Geneva, Switzerland, in December.
Sunday’s competition concluded the 2016 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO5*. For full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
The world’s best riders, including three FEI world no. 1s in Dressage, Show Jumping and Carriage Driving, have announced they will be descending upon the capital to compete at Olympia, the London International Horse Show which takes place from 15-21 December.
Show Jumping sensation Scott Brash will be making a rare competitive appearance in the UK along with Team GBR Dressage legend Charlotte Dujardin and Carriage Driving’s unstoppable Boyd Exell, who will head up the first-rate quality of competitors taking part over the seven days at London’s premier horse show.
Once again, the world’s top-class show jumpers will gravitate to the Olympia Exhibition Halls to compete at the UK’s biggest indoor equestrian show and wow fans with unforgettable competition. A collection of the world’s top 10 riders are among the entries along with the top British riders in attendance, including British world no.1 Scott Brash.
The talented Scotsman, and Team GBR gold medal hopeful for Rio next year, has had an incredible 2015 and hopes to end it on a high at Olympia: “I love Olympia. The atmosphere is always great and the home crowd always cheers me so I’m looking forward to that. I don’t often get the chance to ride in front of home fans as there aren’t many five star events in Britain so it’s always nice to come home and compete in front of the home crowd.”
Brash will face fierce competition with some of the biggest international names in the sport confirmed, including an incredibly formidable team of German riders: Daniel Deusser, Marcus Ehning, Ludger Beerbaum and Hans-Dieter Dreher.
From across the pond top French riders Simon Delestre and Kevin Staut will be hoping to continue their 2015 success at Olympia. European Team Champions, Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and Jur Vrieling (NED), will also be returning to the famous arena, whilst world number six, Bertram Allen, will be hungry for a victory to end the year on.
The best of the British will be out in force much to the delight of the home crowd, including Olympia’s favourite family, the Whitakers, with John, Michael, Robert and William all confirmed and armed with a strong team of horses. Former world no.1 Ben Maher will be hoping to defend his Olympia Grand Prix title, bringing with him a solid selection of horses, including Diva II. Young rising star, Jessica Mendoza, will be the one to watch hoping to round off a stellar year with a win at Olympia. Joe Clee, Laura Renwick and Guy Williams will complete the impressive line-up.
Show Jumping takes place during every performance from Thursday 17 December to Monday 21 December. Highlights include the Alltech Olympia Puissance on Thursday 17 December, the Longines FEI World Cup™ Leg presented by H&M on Sunday 20 December, and the Olympia Grand Prix on Monday 21 December.
The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage, supported by Horse & Hound, which takes place on the first and second day of Olympia, welcomes a star-studded line-up. Returning this year is the current world, Olympic and European champion, Charlotte Dujardin, who will be hoping to retain her unbeaten record at the event.
Joining Dujardin is crowd favourite Carl Hester upon his noble partner Nip Tuck, with whom he helped the team to score a silver medal at the European Championships earlier this year. With a career spanning over three decades, Hester is arguably one of the greatest dressage riders the world has seen and will be hoping to produce a shining performance under the bright lights of the Olympia arena. Fiona Bigwood, Henriette Andersen and Lara Griffith will complete the British line-up.
Leading the international contingent is one of The Netherlands’ best riders, Hans Peter Minderhoud, on his chestnut gelding Glock’s Flirt. Individual Bronze medallist at this year’s European Championships, Minderhoud will be joined by fellow Dutchmen, Diederik van Silfhout, both of whom will certainly provide stiff competition for the British riders.
A total of seven of the world’s leading four-in-hand drivers will set the arena alight in what promises to be a flurry of nail biting competitions on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 December, with the Final taking place on Saturday 19 December.
Defending champion, Boyd Exell (AUS), who has won the FEI World Cup Driving Championship title a record six times, will be hoping to repeat last year’s success where he drove an unimpeachable round to win by a four-second margin.
Ranked second and fourth from the outdoor season are Dutch competitors, Ijsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde, both of whom have competed at the show each year since 2011. Chardon has been at the top of world four-in-hand driving longer than any other driver currently on the circuit and his tally of medals is correspondingly larger; most recently he was on the gold medal winning team at last year’s WEG and this year’s European championships where he claimed second place individually. Just pipped to the post by Exell in 2014, he will be hungry for the win this year. De Ronde is also serially successful, having been a team member with Chardon over several years; he was third in the 2015 European Championships.
Jozsef Dobrovitz snr (HUN), ranked third in the world, is making his Olympia debut. Georg von Stein (GER) and Glen Geerts (BEL) will be looking to make the mark on the competition, and flying the flag for Great Britain is Daniel Naprous, lead member of the Devil’s Horsemen Stunt Team, who emerged victorious from the three events staged in the autumn to be selected as the home driver. He will be bringing the daring, precision and skill of his display and film work to driving a four-in-hand.
For more information or imagery, please contact Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
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Olympia, The London International Horse Show The first international horse show took place in the Olympia halls in 1907. Olympia, The London International Horse Show, the event we see today, was started by Raymond Brooks-Ward in 1971. This year’s show takes place on 15-21 December 2015 in the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington London. The show will play host to a packed timetable of all things equestrian and is expected to welcome over 90,000 visitors. It is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious equine competitions. The show mixes top class equestrian action, including FEI World Cup™ Jumping, Dressage and Driving with family entertainment, such as the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National and The Kennel Club Dog Agility.
Bertram Allen and Quiet Easy 4. Photos: Shutterstock Rex for EEM.
Los Angeles, CA. October 2, 2015 – Action at the second day at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles culminated with Friday night’s Longines Speed Challenge. Bertram Allen and Quiet Easy 4 raced against the clock with a remarkable time of 58.91 seconds. Scott Brash and Piergiorgio Bucci rounded out the podium, Brash with a time of 58.96 seconds on Hello Annie and Piergiorgio Bucci and Cuarta with a time of 62.94 seconds.
The energy was palpable as the microphoned jumps enhanced the sounds of the ring. Every spectator felt the electricity emanating between horse and rider as they raced around the course. 2014 Longines Masters of Los Angeles Longines Speed Challenge winner Jane Richard Philips returned in an attempt to reestablish her dominance but couldn’t keep pace with the 20-year-old Irish phenom.
The only speed competition of its kind in the world, the Longines Speed Challenge with $130,000 in prize money is a staple of all three Longines Masters events, in Paris, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles. The emotion and suspense were palpable as top-ranked international show jumpers raced through a course designed by renowned Belgian designer Luc Musette. With the launch of the Longines Masters series, the Longines Speed Challenge introduces the new 1.45m course design that will be carried to the Paris and Hong Kong events, challenging the riders to improve their time at each leg.
The Longines Speed Challenge format created by EEM emphasizes speed by and precision, as each fault is penalized by 2 seconds instead of the standard 4. A fallen rail needn’t be cripping, therefore, and riders can still hope to make up these two penalty seconds by going just a little bit faster.
“Scott Brash’s round was unbelievable,” said Allen in reaction to watching the World Number 1’s pace-setting round. “My horse really tried.”
John Whitaker rode to victory on Argento in the Prix Airbus, the day’s first 5* level competition. He beat Edwina Tops-Alexander and Lintea Tequila by a mere 0.59 seconds in the jump-off. The win adds to his recent success in the series as the winner of the Gucci Gold Cup and Longines Grand Prix at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong. Whitaker and Argento are in great form and heating up in time to compete in Sunday’s Longines Grand Prix in hopes of winning the second leg of the Masters Grand Slam Super Bonus of €500,000.
“With the way he [Argento] jumped today, I should give him the day off. He’s a fighter; he’s tough. He wants to do the job, and that’s 95 percent of the battle. You know he’s going to jump the jumps,” said Whitaker.
Recent “Veep” Emmy winner Tony Hale, actor Kaley Cuoco, director Steven Spielberg, rock and roll legend Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa and more cheered on their favorite riders from the Masters Club. Steffen Peters performed a dressage demonstration, and families enjoyed the first day of the Kids’ Village with face painting, a mini horseless jump course, and ponies.
The world’s best international show jumpers will continue to compete at the Los Angeles Convention Center throughout the weekend. To witness the champion caliber riding and enjoy the Kids Village, one-of-a-kind art pieces from Opera Gallery and more, purchase your tickets at http://www.mastersgrandslam.com/en/ticketing.
Established in three of the biggest cities — Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong — the unique Longines Masters series is recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale and is one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions worldwide. Created by EEM, the concept of the Masters was born in 2009 with the first edition of the Gucci Paris Masters, now renamed the Longines Masters of Paris. Inspired by the Grand Slam tournaments in tennis, the circuit rapidly developed abroad, with the Longines Masters of Hong Kong in 2013 and the Longines Masters of Los Angeles in 2014.
The world’s best riders and horses will compete for one million dollars in prize money at each leg of the series. In addition, any rider who consecutively wins the Longines Masters Grands Prix in Paris, Hong Kong and Los Angeles will be rewarded with one million euros Masters Grand Slam bonus. For two successive victories, the rider will be awarded €500,000, and winners of two non-successive victories within a series of three Longines Masters Grand Prix will receive a €250,000 bonus.
These events are broadcast in more than 120 countries and reach up to 550 million households.. Every edition of the Masters is must-attend event that brings together sports enthusiasts, amateurs, celebrities and corporate decision-makers from around the world, who come to enjoy a unique experience, boasting exceptional sport, entertainment, glamour, gastronomy and contemporary art.
Longines Masters of Los Angeles October 1st to 4th 2015
Longines Masters of Paris December 3rd to 6th 2015
Longines Masters of Hong Kong February 19th to 21st 2016
Calgary, AB, Canada – September 13, 2015 – The 2015 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament concluded with a momentous day of show jumping on Sunday, September 13, as Great Britain’s Scott Brash jumped to victory in the $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex, riding superstar mount Hello Sanctos. Belgium’s Pieter Devos and Dylano placed second, and Brazil’s Pedro Veniss and Quabri de L Isle finished third. With the win, Brash became the first rider in history to conquer the challenging Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
One of the most prestigious grand prix events in the world, the CP International was the third and final leg in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Prior to his arrival at Spruce Meadows, Brash already made history by winning two consecutive legs of the challenge with victories at CHI Geneva in December followed by a second victory at CHIO Aachen a few months later. By topping the final grand prix event at Spruce Meadows, the rider took home the competition’s winning prize of $500,000 Canadian Dollars (the equivalent of about €350,000). He was then awarded an additional bonus of €1 million for winning all three events in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
The 29-year-old rider was almost speechless as the magnitude of his accomplishment sunk in. “To win the Rolex Grand Slam is every rider’s dream. I did not actually think it could be done,” Brash acknowledged. “This means everything to me.”
As he thought about the win, Brash gave credit to Hello Sanctos, the 13-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding (Quasimodo vd Molendreef x Nabe de Reve) that helped make his biggest dreams come true.
“When you target something for so long, and your whole team has put so much work and hard effort in, to actually come and achieve that dream and have it all pay off is just a wonderful feeling,” Brash expressed. “I do not think words can describe how I feel. I am ecstatic and I don’t think it has really sunk in just yet.”
“Sanctos is a horse of a lifetime,” he added. “I thought he was a little fresh in the first round and was not absolutely perfect, but the second round he was just unbelievable. He tried his heart out today. He is a privilege to work with and ride.”
Thirty-nine entries started in round one and the top twelve were then invited to return for round two in reverse order of penalties. The twelve that returned included ten clear rounds and two entries that entered carrying one time fault.
The difficult course set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios took its toll in round two. Yann Candele (CAN) riding Watermark Group’s First Choice 15 and Alex Borrin (FRA) aboard SARL C Epona’s Marlou des Etisses each came into the second round with one time fault and added to their totals. Candele added ten faults in round two to finish tenth overall and Borrin added 19 faults to place twelfth.
Richard Spooner (USA) was the first of ten clear entries to return in round two, and completed a fantastic four-fault trip to eventually place fourth aboard Show Jumping Syndication Intl.’s Cristallo. Wout Jan Van Der Schans (NED) was next to go aboard K.V. van den Berg and S.J. Kat’s Capetown with ten faults to finish in ninth place.
Pedro Veniss (BRA) followed with a clear trip over fences, but one fault on the clock. He eventually finished third based on his time from round one aboard Carmen Davrella de Aguilera’s Quabri De L Isle.
“I am so happy. This was my first time to Spruce Meadows,” Veniss said of his finish. “It was a dream for me to come to Spruce Meadows. We just won the Nations’ Cup yesterday, and now third in the grand prix, so I am a very happy man today.”
McLain Ward (USA) and HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm and Francois Mathy, were next to return and had a great round until one rail fell at the final fence and one time fault was added. The pair finished fifth overall on five faults total.
Romain Duguet (SUI) returned clear with Christiana Duguet’s Quorida de Treho but dropped four rails in the second course to place 11th. Pieter Devos (BEL) and Devos Stables’ Dylano then jumped into second place with one time fault and their time from round one.
Devos previously won the competition in 2013 aboard Candy, and was very happy with his result this year riding Dylano.
“I am just behind Scott, so it is not a shame I think,” Devos remarked. “I came out of the ring with one time fault and a few people told me that I might have to jump-off with Pedro, who also had one time fault. Really inside, I knew that it would not come to a jump-off for us because Scott still had to go. I am very delighted to be here again and to be second. I won one time, but I am really happy with my second place now. I am happy with my horse; he did a really good job today.”
Last year’s champions, Ian Millar (CAN) and Susan and Ariel Grange’s Dixson, were next to go with nine faults to place eighth. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’ dropped two rails to place seventh, and Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Conrad de Hus, owned by Haras de Hus, also had eight faults in a faster first round time to take the sixth place prize.
Last to go, Brash had a lot at stake as he rode into the ring aboard Lord and Lady Harris and Lady P Kirkham’s Hello Sanctos. The world’s number one rider kept his cool and guided his talented mount to a beautiful clear round as the crowd exploded in applause. With the only double clear round, Brash won the biggest grand prix in the world and rode into history as the first rider to ever take the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
“I was just very focused on the course,” Brash said of his preparation. “I was here early this morning to walk. I must say, I think Leopoldo has done an absolutely fantastic job. It is easy for me to say that because I am sitting here as the winner. I think Spruce Meadows has a reputation of being a tough course, but I think that is really good. I think that is what makes it so unique. They always try to just get one double clear and for a course builder that is very difficult, but Leopoldo seems to deliver that year after year. My horse feels like he could do another round. He felt really, really good.”
Devos also praised Palacios on his course, stating, “It was two tough rounds, but the same with my horse that he came out after the second round and he felt like he could go again. I think that is very important. We know it is very tough here. It is a tradition; it is unique and it has to be like that, but the welfare of the horses is always important and it was very good today.”
The unique venue and challenging course of the CP International was the last in three very different competitions that Brash won in succession. When asked how he and Sanctos were able to jump so well in such different venues, Brash smiled, “That is a question for Sanctos really! He is an incredible horse. He has the mind of a human. To be able to win in a delicate ring like Geneva, then a big tough course like Aachen and then such a unique venue like Spruce Meadows – to do that on different horses is hard – but for the same horse to win all three is just incredible. You could go 20 or 30 years at least and it could probably never be done again. I think Sanctos deserves every bit of credit he is going to get for this. I think with age, he has gotten more comfortable with different rings and he has turned into a horse that can jump anywhere and do anything.”
With the conclusion of a phenomenal experience, Brash already has next year’s Grand Slam in mind and explained that he will try for the title again, along with aiming for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
“I will try and do both,” he laughed. “It is an incredible title to have to aim for, but the percentage chance of being able to win the three biggest grand prix in the world consecutively is very, very hard. We were told it was impossible. We will try again, but it is going to be very difficult. We will start again in Geneva. They are the best shows in the world, so every rider in the world wants to be at these three shows. Rio is in our plans too. We saved Sanctos a lot this year. I must say, he feels better than ever and we have high hopes for next year.”
Brash’s win concluded a fantastic week of competition at the 2015 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO 5*. For full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
13 September 2015, Spruce Meadows, Canada – Scott Brash (GBR) has made history by becoming the first and only rider to win the three equestrian Majors consecutively, claiming the pinnacle of equestrian sporting achievement: the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping title and a €1,000,000 bonus.
In a sport with top-level competition all year round, winning just one of the three Majors is a goal that motivates all riders. However, to dominate top sport consistently takes a truly unique horse and rider partnership – a legendary one that will remain etched in the annals of the sport.
Riding his formidable horse Hello Sanctos, Scott Brash started his Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping campaign by winning the Rolex Grand Prix at the greatest indoor show in the world, CHI Geneva in December 2014. In May 2015, he then went on to claim the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, the title to which every rider aspires. The final part of this Grand Slam challenge came with his third victory in the CP International presented by Rolex during the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’.
The build-up to the grand prix was dominated by warm weather and a buzz of excitement from the large crowd who knew they could be watching history being made. But conditions changed on the day of the CP International presented by Rolex and the riders were faced with wet conditions and a drop in temperature. Forty horse and rider combinations started the competition with twelve going through to the second round. As Scott Brash had posted the fastest time in the opening round, he had the benefit of watching his fellow competitors jump round what course designer Leopoldo Palacios described as “the biggest course on the circuit”.
The tension inside the Spruce Meadows International ring was electric as the huge crowd went silent each time a new partnership entered. Poles dropped and faults accumulated, and for a while it appeared that a single time fault from Brazil’s Pedro Veniss and the 2013 Grand Prix winner, Pieter Devos, would be enough to take them into a jump-off. With Scott Brash the last to go, he knew that a clear round would win him the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping and the record bonus.
As he has done on so many previous occasions riding Hello Sanctos, he rose majestically to the challenge and went clear barely touching a pole throughout his winning round.
Scott Brash said, “Winning one of the equestrian Majors was an incredible achievement; to win two was a dream come true, but to go on and complete the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is beyond belief. I have a very special horse in Hello Sanctos, and some amazingly supportive owners in Lord & Lady Harris, and Lord & Lady Kirkham. This close partnership has enabled Hello Sanctos and me to achieve success that will never be forgotten, and I would like to thank all those who have played a part in making this happen.”
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping was launched in 2013 by the three Majors as the ultimate challenge in equestrian sport. The shows have a natural synergy and a mutual respect for their respective achievements and heritage. Select riders, including Rolex Testimonees Rodrigo Pessoa and Eric Lamaze, have won all three Majors; however, this is the first time it has been achieved consecutively.
Arnaud Boetsch, Communications & Image Director of Rolex SA, said, “On behalf of Rolex, we would like to congratulate Scott Brash on winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the ultimate prize in equestrian sport.
“In winning this unparalleled challenge, Scott Brash has proven that he is the one of the finest riders of his generation. His achievement will go down as one of the most remarkable in the history of the sport, and will be talked about for years to come.”
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ enjoyed record crowds throughout the week with over 85,000 people coming through the turnstiles on Saturday when temperatures hit 30 degrees centigrade. Founded by Ron and Margaret Southern, the tournament grounds maintains a close link with the local Calgary community and sells many of its admission tickets for $5, giving families who enjoy equestrian sport the opportunity to watch world class action throughout the spring and summer.
Scott Brash and Hello Forever Top $126,000 Suncor Energy Cup
Calgary, AB, Canada – September 12, 2015 – The Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament hosted its $300,000 BMO Nations’ Cup on Saturday afternoon, with eight countries represented, and an exciting gold medal win for Brazil in the team’s first time ever competing in the event. The team of Pedro Veniss, Felipe Amaral, Eduardo Menezes and Rodrigo Pessoa jumped to victory in front of a record crowd for Saturday at the ‘Masters’, with a grand total of 85,747 fans in attendance. France earned the silver medal, and Canada took home Bronze.
Earlier in the day, Scott Brash (GBR) earned top prize in the $126,000 Suncor Energy Cup Winning Round 1.50m riding Hello Forever. The ‘Masters’ Tournament concludes its fifth day of world-class competition on Sunday, September 13, featuring the $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex.
One of the most prestigious grand prix events in the world, the CP International is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, where Brash will attempt to become the first rider to ever take the Grand Slam title. Brash already made history by winning two consecutive legs of the challenge with victories at CHI Geneva in December followed by a second victory at CHIO Aachen a few months later. An unprecedented €1 million in bonus money is on offer to any rider who can win all three grand prix events in succession.
On Saturday, teams representing the countries of The Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Belgium and the USA started in the first round of the BMO Nations’ Cup. The top six teams then returned for a second round over the same course, which was set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios.
The competition came right down to the wire, but it was Brazil who led in both rounds, with nine faults in round one and four faults in round two to finish on a score of 13. France finished with 16 faults overall, and Canada ended with a score of 24.
Only two riders were able to clear both rounds of competition without fault, and Pedro Veniss was one of them with his mount, Quabri De L Isle. Veniss started riding the 11-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Kannan x Socrate de Chivre) last year, and the pair jumped together for Brazil in both the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2015 Pan American Games. Commenting on the team’s big win, Veniss simply stated, “Today here at Spruce Meadows was a dream come true.”
The youngest rider on the team at 23 years of age, Felipe Amaral rode the 12-year-old Zangersheide stallion Premiere Carthoes BZ (Carthago Z x Voltner) to a clear first round, and the drop score of eight in round two.
“I started riding him in Brazil and he had some good results. Then I went to Europe and Rodrigo and Jean (Chef d’Equipe Jean-Maurice Bonneau) helped me a lot with the horse. Now we are here at the top level of the sport and it is all a dream to be here,” Amaral acknowledged.
Eduardo Menezes and Quintol were the drop score in round one with 24 faults, but returned for a four-fault score in round two. Menezes has also had great results with the ten-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Quintender x Cento) in past competitions at Spruce Meadows.
“This is a very special win because he was basically made here at Spruce Meadows. I come here almost every year,” Menezes stated. “I had a really bad first round where everything fell apart a little bit after the water jump. He is a very sensitive horse, but I remembered that I had some good teammates with me, so I tried to put things back together for the second round and fortunately it worked well.”
“This is the first time that Brazil has been here in the Nations’ Cup as a team,” Menezes added. “Rodrigo has been in the Masters many times as an individual and some other riders from Brazil, but never as a team. The course, as the results say, was tough enough. It always is, but the conditions were amazing and fortunately all of our horses jumped well because we came up here for the win.”
As the anchor rider, Rodrigo Pessoa had nine faults in round one, but jumped a clutch clear track in round two to secure the team victory. Pessoa was riding his 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Status (Satisfaction x Sao Paulo), who he has had for two years and also jumped in the 2014 World Equestrian Games.
“He has had some ups and downs, but today he performed really well for me,” Pessoa noted. “I rode better in the second round obviously. The first round was so-so, but I think he was up to the task in the second round.”
The most experienced rider on the team, Pessoa knew that he needed to come through for his teammates at the end, and ranks this win among his many big victories at Spruce Meadows.
“It is on the way up top in terms of things that I have won here,” the rider remarked. “To win individually is one thing, but when you ride for the team it is a different story. You have more pressure and more responsibility. You are able to share the win with your three colleagues and your Chef (d’Equipe) and everybody behind the team, so this ranks all the way up there with the good ones for me.”
“Obviously these are all really good riders with really good horses,” Pessoa added. “This was a tough task and we were really looking forward to today. We did not know how the class was going to unfold and we started really well in the first round. We had two bad rounds, but then started again with a good clear. We just had to keep it together and try to perform well, which we were able to do today. We had some mishaps, but just at the good times and we could pull the clears when we needed them. That was crucial.”
The riders from Brazil were led by Chef d’Equipe Jean-Maurice Bonneau, who was thrilled with the results and explained how he has worked to improve their strength as a team.
“When I took charge of that team five years ago, it was to aim to create the same condition in Brazil as the top nations like Germany, France and The Netherlands,” Bonneau stated. “In the beginning, we were not good enough to attend the 5* level, so we started with the 3* level. Last week, we won a 3* Nations Cup in Arezzo in Italy with another team. We are trying step by step to gather up the number of riders capable to join the team and I think this really represents what we are doing. Today we had youngest rider, Felipe at 23 years old, and Rodrigo the oldest at 43. We have youth coming up and also the experience.”
Brazil has the Olympic Games in their home country next summer and Bonneau is working to develop more riders to round out their options for the big event.
“I would like in nine months to have a choice among six or seven combinations,” he detailed. “It could be this squad, but it is too early to know. I want to continue to develop the team. Even though we won today, I think we need to have a debriefing because we had some bad courses. We need to be stronger. It is not enough for the Olympics in my opinion. We have to stay humble and continue to work.”
The team from France finished second with 16 faults in round one and a clean slate in round two. Jerome Hurel and Quartz Rouge were the only other combination to complete double clear rounds. Roger Yves Bost and Quod’Coeur de la Loge notched eight faults in round one plus eight from Cedric Angot and Saxo de la Cour. Kevin Staut and Qurack de Falasie HDC had the drop score of 20 in round one and did not need to return after all three of his teammates cleared the second track. They were led by Chef d’Equipe Philippe Guerdat.
Canada placed third overall with a 24-point total (12 in each round). Yann Candele and Showgirl, Tiffany Foster and Tripple X III, Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 and Ian Millar aboard Dixson all had four faults in round one, with one drop score. They continued on to round two where Candele had the drop score of eight faults and the other three riders all had one more rail. They were led by Chef d’Equipe Mark Laskin.
Course designer Leopoldo Palacios commented on the day, stating, “I am very happy with the result of the course. I think the faults spread out well and having Rodrigo at the end and winning with a clean round was very good. Three or four days ago Rodrigo told me that they came here to win and they did it, so I am very happy for them. The French team was very good in the second round. I am very proud of them to recover well with three clean rounds. The course was tough enough, as it is every year at Spruce Meadows. It is one of the hardest Nations’ Cups in the world.”
Fourth place went to the USA with 28 faults total, fifth place was awarded to Switzerland with a 30-fault score, and Belgium finished sixth with a score of 32. The team from Great Britain finished seventh and The Netherlands placed eighth.
Brash Is Best in Suncor Energy Cup
Leading into the biggest day of his career with the chance to make history in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Scott Brash (GBR) picked up a confidence boosting win in the $126,000 Suncor Energy Cup on Saturday at the ‘Masters’. Held in a winning round format over a 1.50m course set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios, 28 entries started in round one. The top ten competitors were then invited to return for the winning round, in which they begin again with zero penalties. The combination that has the fewest faults in the fastest time in the winning round is the winner.
As he makes his bid for history with top mount Hello Sanctos, Brash also brought nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding Hello Forever (For Pleasure x Nimmerdor) to compete this week. The pair completed the fastest of six clear trips in 40.73 seconds in the winning round to take top honors and the first place prize of $41,580.
Great Britain also finished second as Guy Williams jumped clear in 41.03 seconds aboard Casper de Muze in the second phase of competition. USA’s Hardin Towell took third place honors riding Jennifer Gates’ Lucifer V through the timers in 41.99 seconds, and France’s Jerome Hurel placed fourth in 43.21 seconds riding S.A.R.L. Ar Tropig’s Ohm de Ponthual.
Brash has only ridden Hello Forever for about eight months, but the duo has already formed a fantastic partnership that includes wins on the Global Champions Tour in Miami and Valkenswaard. Brash explained that Forever has been a bit inconsistent throughout the year, however, and he brought the horse to Spruce Meadows specifically for the experience in a large grass arena. The nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding (For Pleasure x Nimmerador) is owned by Lord and Lady Harris and Lady P Kirkham and was purchased from Stuart Harvey in England.
“Stuart produced him really well on the national circuit and then we took him over and he did a couple of the indoor winter shows,” Brash detailed. “He won a good class in Miami, but in a sand ring. Then when he went into the big grass rings, he got a little inconsistent, so it is great to finish off with a win here on a big grass arena for this year.”
“I think he is going to be a really good horse and I am very excited for him,” Brash continued. “He used to be afraid of these big rings, so I thought it was best to bring him to these types of shows to get him used to them. Hopefully he will be coming here one year to jump the grand prix or the Nations’ Cup, so it is great that he has been here now and he has that experience under his belt. I must say, he has gotten better every day here. I do have really high hopes for him. I think he is going to be very good for the future.”
Speaking of his round in Saturday’s competition, Brash explained that Hello Forever jumped the 1.60m track on Friday and had a bit of bad luck, so he chose to drop the horse down a level and give him a good final day.
“He jumped a big course yesterday and I thought it would be nice for him to drop down and have another trip around the arena,” Brash explained. “I felt confident today because he jumped so well yesterday and he jumped a really good first round today. I knew it was going to be a fast jump-off, and he is a fast horse, so we set off and luckily the rest did not catch us.”
The ‘Masters’ Tournament concludes on Sunday with the $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex, where all eyes will be on Britain’s star duo. Brash rode Hello Sanctos on Saturday and declared that the horse felt good and ready to go.
“It will be nice to get on with it now and go and do our job,” he said of the anticipation.
The world’s number one rider now also has an extra boost of confidence from a win before the big day. Brash laughed, “I don’t think it can do any harm anyway! It is great to get a win under our belt. Everyone wants to win at Spruce Meadows, so first of all it is nice to get a win and it does give you a bit of confidence that what you are doing is right.”
The $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex, will begin at 12 noon. For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.