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.
08 September 2015 – The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the ultimate prize in equestrian sport. In five days’ time, at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, one horseman, Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash, has the chance to make history and become the first rider to claim the prestigious award.
Please find below a short copyright free preview film, presented by Rolex.
Aachen, Germany, 31 May 2015 – History was made today at the World Equestrian Festival Aachen in Germany when Scott Brash, riding Hello Sanctos, won the first equestrian Major of the year, the Rolex Grand Prix, and his second stage of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Scott Brash is the first rider to achieve this remarkable feat since the introduction of the sport’s ultimate challenge in 2013, and goes to the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September hoping to be the only rider in history to win all three Majors in succession.
Germany’s Daniel Deusser riding Cornet d’Amour was second and France’s Simon Delestre on Ryan des Hayettes was third.
The World Equestrian Festival at Aachen, reduced in length to accommodate the European Championships later in the year, is considered by both the riders and fans as one of the finest equestrian competitions in the world. On the final day, even the cool weather which carried a chill in the air, did not affect the enthusiasm of the packed 45,000 capacity crowd who flooded in to watch the Rolex Grand Prix, the highlight of the three days.
The Rolex Grand Prix is notoriously challenging, and the riders who make the annual pilgrimage expect to be asked the toughest questions by course designer Frank Rothenberger. Initially it appeared as if clear rounds would be hard to come by, with many of the big names in the competition collecting penalties, but by the time all 40 riders had tackled the 13 obstacle course in the first round, Scott Brash, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in December, led by less than half a second.
Ten riders were faultless going into Round 2, including Rolex Testimonees Kevin Staut and Kent Farrington; this was then reduced down to seven who went into the final jump off – little did the 45,000 spectators realise what was about to play out in front of them.
The riders always acknowledge the special role played by the spectators at Aachen, and the crowd did not fail to live up to expectation. Though naturally highly supportive of the German combinations, every horse and rider who entered the arena, regardless of which country they were from, were willed over every jump as the tension increased following each round in the jump off.
The first three riders all had a pole down, and then Germany’s Daniel Deusser set the benchmark with a clear round in what looked like an incredible time of 48.37 seconds.
The legendary Ludger Beerbaum, an Aachen favourite, followed and he too produced a clear round, but he could not match the time set by Deusser. France’s Simon Delestre was next to go clear, but was also not quick enough – the home crowd was beginning to think that the Rolex Grand Prix title could be staying in Germany.
Last into the arena was World No. 1 Scott Brash; his round started off slow, but his wonder horse Hello Sanctos made up time over the second half of the course, crossing the line in a nail biting 48.04 seconds to win the Rolex Grand Prix to a standing ovation and rapturous applause from the crowd.
Talking about his victory, Scott Brash said, “I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet; it has been my dream to win Aachen, so to win is a dream come true. I am ecstatic.
“What makes Aachen so special is the crowd; to jump in front of 45,000 people that are also very knowledgeable is great for us riders and brings out the best in us.”
Having started his Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping winning ‘cycle’ in Geneva, Scott Brash now travels to the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, 9-13 September 2015, to compete for the sport’s ultimate challenge and the €1m bonus. “To win one leg is already hard enough; to win two is extremely difficult; to win three is going to be really hard, but it would be silly not to try so I will definitely try and win it,” he said.
Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth had another successful year in the Dressage at Aachen riding her bay gelding Don Johnson FRH. Producing a technically precise test in the Grand Prix, Werth claimed victory with a final score of 76.300%. The horse and rider combination continued to impress in the Freestyle producing an eye pleasing performance, with a final score of 81.200%, securing second place.
Talking about the two competitions, Isabell Werth said, “I am very pleased. Johnny was really good in both tests; the first was a win and the second was very close, and to come second in such a close final is not a shame and I am really happy with Johnny. It is great to be here and to have this show; Aachen is always very special; it is a great mixture of top sports, event and entertainment which makes it so special.”
To view the Rolex Grand Prix results, please click here.
Scott Brash (GBR), pictured here at the Miami Beach 2015 CSI5* on Hello Sanctos, is back as world Jumping number one at the top of the Longines Rankings. (FEI/Amy Dragoo-arnd.nl)
Lausanne (SUI), 7 May 2015 – Scott Brash (GBR) is now back at the top of the Longines Rankings as world Jumping number one.
Brash, 29, the youngest member of the London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal winning British team, jumped into the lead of the Longines Rankings for the first time in his career in December 2013, and held on for an impressive 16 months.
Germany’s Daniel Deusser then managed to break this run last month, and headed to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Las Vegas (USA) to defend his title wearing the coveted Longines Rankings leader armband.
Brash now has a 143-point lead on second-placed Deusser, and the reigning Olympic champion Steve Guerdat (SUI) has now been catapulted into third place from ninth in the Longines Rankings after winning the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Las Vegas.
Scott Brash in 2015
Brash, from Peebles in Scotland, is no stranger to success. After his Olympic début at London 2012, he went on to win team gold and individual bronze at the ECCO FEI European Jumping Championships in 2013.
In the same year, he became the youngest athlete to win the Longines Global Champions Tour, winning it again in 2014, and is currently top of the leaderboard for this year’s series.
Miami, FL – April 5, 2015 – World No. 1 Scott Brash was victorious for the second night in a row on Miami Beach Saturday evening as he galloped away with the inaugural Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix title aboard Hello Sanctos. This was the two-time Longines GCT Champ’s fifth Grand Prix win in the last three seasons as he continues to dominate the Tour in spectacular fashion.
Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) and his relatively new ride Palloubet D Halong put in the performance of their young partnership to take Silver. While 2014 Longines GCT of Shanghai Grand Prix winner Pieter Devos (BEL) and Candy finished with a worthy Bronze medal. From the VIP Lounge, Michael Bloomberg, Bruce Springsteen, HE Sheikh Joaan Al Thani and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine watched world-class sport at its very best.
Speaking from the VIP Hospitality Lounge, Mr. Bloomberg said: “I think this is a wonderful thing for Miami and for the economy of Miami. This could become like the Formula 1 is to Monaco and places like that not just the people who come to watch the show, the people who support it, the people who work in the hotels where we all stay, the restaurants. It is amazing the hard work that goes into this.”
Having claimed a strong victory with his new mount Hello Forever in yesterday’s 42nd American Invitational, Scott Brash went into the Grand Prix a firm favourite, but facing hot competition from a stellar line-up of world-class riders from around the globe.
The first round of the Grand Prix was a testing and technical course which caught out many an experienced combination. The tight, awkward distances, tall uprights and sharp corners demanded precision, control and power. There were no clear bogey fences, though an airy vertical on a dog-leg following the Longines combination claimed many.
Of the 50 Grand Prix starters, 12 clears proceeded to the 2nd round, including Katie Dinan (USA) and Stakorado, Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) and Royce, Denis Lynch (IRE) and Ho Go van de Padenborre, Luciana Diniz (POR) and Apollonia, Beezie Madden (USA) and Simon, Kent Farrington (USA) and Voyeur, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Rosana du Park.
The top 18 riders came back to try their talents against another Uliano Vezzani course, including four on 4 faults. The U.S. had a strong showing with seven riders going through to the next round. All eyes were on Scott Brash and his 2012 Olympic mount as the combinations came back for their next test against the course.
The second round saw an early clear from Laura Kraut (USA) and Nouvelle carrying four faults from the first round. But subsequent clean rounds were few and far between until Bassem Mohammed and Palloubet D Halong notched up the first double clear. The course was twisty and with many turns, requiring immense control, with big oxers demanding scope and care.
Beezie Madden and Simon agonisingly lowered the final fence, but were swiftly followed by reigning European Champion Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) and Nippon d’Elle who were the second double clear. It wasn’t until near the end of the first round that Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos joined Bosty and Bassem in the final showdown – the combination looked on cracking form from the very beginning.
Bassem set the standard first to go in the jump-off, clear in a time of 39.74s. Second to go, Bosty risked a tight turn back to a tall upright and picked up a refusal, leaving him in 4th place. Scott Brash knew what he had to do and executed his plan with foot-perfect precision to stop the clock in 38.57s. Last to go, Pieter Devos pushed his mare, recently returned from a long break from competition, but lowered an early fence in the tricky jump-off course leaving Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos once more unbeatable.
Scott will be back in action in Antwerp in a few weeks once again hot on the trail on the Longines GCT Championship, which if he wins once again this season, will be his 3rd in a row – a truly incredible feat.
Todd Minikus wins the Elm Rock Farm Trophy
On flying form, Todd Minikus (USA) raced away with the Elm Rock Farm Trophy Saturday afternoon with Quality Girl, beating the world-class opposition with a supremely quick round to take the class in 54.41s. Marlon Zanotelli (BRA) had another great result with Zerlin M to finish 2nd in 55.85s, with Pablo Barrios (VEN) and Zara Leandra finishing 3rd in 56.76s.
It was another gorgeous day on Miami Beach and the public filled the grandstand and pressed against the arena fencing to watch the speed class unfold. The beautiful arena filled with spectacular flowers and eye-catching jumps proved a mega draw for nearby sun-worshipers who were drawn over to watch these fabulous horses and riders in action.
Miami Beach, FL – April 3, 2015 – It has been 29 years since a rider representing Great Britain has led the coveted American Invitational victory gallop, but today, the world’s number one rider, Scott Brash (GBR), clinched the victory during the 43rd $127,500 American Invitational. Aboard Hello Forever, Brash broke the beam in 33.35 seconds to outrun his fellow eight contenders in a nine-horse jump off and take back the title after nearly a 30-year drought for his homeland.
It was an occasion of firsts for Brash. For many, the American Invitational is the crown jewel of show jumping, eluding many at the top of the sport. Although it was only Brash’s first time attempting the toilsome track, he left no stone unturned with his eye set firmly on the victory.
In its long history, today marks only the second time a rider from Great Britain has won the notable event. Brash followed in the footsteps of the late Tim Grubb, who rode Linky to victory at Tampa Stadium back in 1986. Grubb, a British Olympic Silver medalist, was the first foreigner to take the Invitational title and counting Brash’s win today marks only the fourth time a rider outside the U.S. has led the round of honor.
Italian course designer, Uliano Vezzani, created the difficult track, challenging the field of 52 riders to 16 efforts in a tight time allowed of 81 seconds. He featured a tricky double combination set on the rail, a liverpool, a second double combination featuring a vertical to an oxer, as well as large square oxers and open distances. Faults racked up throughout the course, with no definite bogey and only nine horse and rider combinations would find their way into the tiebreaker.
This was the first appearance Brash made stateside all winter circuit, traveling exclusively to the Longines Global Champions Tour in Miami Beach with two of his top horses. He was only the third to return for the jump off, and with six competitors hot on his heels, he knew that he would have to push the throttle with Hello Forever to make them chase his time. He took a tight turn to the third obstacle, racing around the corner to the square Longines oxer from the tight double combination. His tight track and quick turns obliterated the previous times.
“The American Invitational is a very prestigious event. We hear about it every year, but unfortunately we’re never here to jump in it,” Brash said. “It’s very nice to be here and to be a part of it. I’m really glad that the result worked out in the end. We always read about it, but unfortunately we are never here to jump in it. Jan [Tops] has brought the tour here, and it’s great that the American Invitational is at this show. Hopefully if it can stay here, I think it’s going to be an even bigger and better event every year.”
Beginning in 1972, the American Invitational was designed as a reward for the riders at the end of a long circuit. Although international riders have always been welcome, this is the first time that riders representing three different countries took hold of the top three spots.
It was Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani of Qatar and Concordija, owned by First Sport Horses AG, who took the second place position less than a tenth of a second shy of Brash’s time. He opted to leave out a stride in the turn to the third fence, and then raced through the turn after the double combination nearly catching Brash’s pace.
Al Thani said, “For me, it was very good. With number one in the world, I was happy ending up second. It was a fast jump-off and I tried my best. I couldn’t catch him, but I was happy.”
Reigning Show Jumping World Cup Finals Champion, Daniel Deusser (GER), and Pironella would end the event in the third place with a speedy but more conservative time of 34.14 seconds. He admitted that although he tried to catch Brash, he was pleased with his third place finish.
“The riders, we are very proud to be here; for us it is a super event. It cannot be much better actually. For the class, for myself, I’m very happy with the third place,” Deusser said. “My horse is still very young, and not too experienced in these classes. I missed maybe a little bit to the last fence. In the end, Scott was very, very fast, and that’s the reason that he is number one in the world.”
Paige Johnson and Dakota captured the fourth place with a double clear in 34.63 seconds, while Schuyler Riley and Dobra de Porceyo finished fifth in 35.46 seconds. The fastest four-faulter was Georgina Bloomberg aboard Calenda, crossing the timers in 35.33 seconds to round out the top six.
Today’s victory came aboard a new mount for Brash, having only been paired with Hello Forever for four months. “He is quite a new horse to me,” admitted Brash. “He’s quite inexperienced actually, but he’s a competitive horse. I just tried to stay as smooth as I could, and as tight as I could, and tried to see what my horse could do. It worked out in the end. I did think that Sheikh Ali was going to get me at the end there. It was very, very tight.”
Brash has held the title of Number One Rider in the world for 16 months, only two months shy of Marcus Ehning’s record. “I think this man on my right, Daniel [Deusser], is just about to take it off me. I better clean the armband and get it ready, probably tomorrow [laughs].”
At the conclusion of the Miami Longines Global Champions Tour, Brash, as well as the others at the top of the podium, will pack their bags to head out to the next endeavor. Deusser plans to defend his title as the World Cup Champion, while Brash is focusing on European shows and following the Longines GCT.
President of Stadium Jumping, Michael Morrissey, said, “I think the event was great. It’s so unique to be out here at the beach. To team up with a world class organization in a world-class city putting on an event like this was fantastic. Gene [Mische], who has passed away, would be very proud of that this event became so terrific, especially here in Miami.”
Morrissey continued, “Our goal and our plan is to return to the Longines Global Champions Tour in the future. The team that Jan put together is second to nobody. Because of the great team that he has assembled, I think the production of this is second to none in this country. It was a great event. The course designer did a great job, and it was a great class. It was a great jump-off. It was exciting and kept people waiting for the next one to try to win. I feel like it has everything.”
The Longines Global Champions Tour first found its home in Wellington in 2004, when Tops and Mische worked in tandem to kick off what would become an empire in Europe for the sport of show jumping. The Miami Longines Global Champions Tour marks the series’ 10-year anniversary, and the kick-off event brings the event full circle as the series returns to its pilot location – South Florida.
President of the Longines Global Champions Tour, Jan Tops, concluded, “I think it’s important that we connect the United States. It’s a very important market, especially for good riders, and it needed to be here as well again. We were very happy that we could organize the American Invitational here, and working with Stadium Jumping was spectacular. Number one in the world won it, and he won it good, but all the riders gave him very good competition. It was very exciting to the last rider, and I think it worked out very well.”
The Miami Longines Global Champions Tour continues tomorrow with the $600,000 CSI5* 1.60m Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix with two different rounds against the clock with a jump-off. For more information on Stadium Jumping and the American Invitational, please visit www.stadiumjumping.com. To learn more about the Longines Global Champions Tour, please visit www.globalchampionstour.com.
Miami, FL – April 3, 2015 – World No. 1 and reigning Longines Global Champions Tour Champion Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Forever won the feature class of the day, the historic American Invitational. Following a thrilling jump-off, Scott set the pace early with his new ride, and though they tried their best to catch him, Sheikh Ali bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) and Concordija and on-form Daniel Deusser (GER) and Pironella had to settle for second and third, respectively.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine presented the prizes to the winners: “This is absolutely incredible. We are so honoured to have this amazing Longines Global Champions Tour event right on the sands of Miami Beach and we know this is just the beginning of a long-term event. We will welcome you back next year. This is just absolutely exciting for everyone to watch – all the tourists, all the residents and congratulations to Scott. This is fabulous!”
This was the first really testing class of the event ahead of tomorrow’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix, as 53 horses took to the ocean-side arena for the 42nd American Invitational. Many of the Florida-based horse and rider combinations had been used to the large open arenas of Wellington, whereas for many who have flown over from Europe, this is their first outdoor event of the season.
As sunbathers gathered in around the unbelievable arena and the sun began to sink on this picture-perfect location this afternoon, some top-class show jumping unfolded on Miami Beach. Uliano Vezzani’s 1.55m first round course began with an inviting spread fence, but the tests came thick and fast from that point onward.
Home pair Schuyler Riley (USA) and Dobra de Porceyo was the first to jump clear, quickly followed by Georgina Bloomberg (USA), Michael Whitaker (GBR), Paige Johnson (USA) and Audrey Coulter (USA). Many top names fell by the wayside, caught out by the sharp corners and testing distances. Toward the end of the first round, Luciana Diniz (POR) and Lady Lindenhof jumped a neat clear following a clean round from Daniel Deusser (GER) and Pironella, and finishing with a great zero score round from a thrilled Sheikh Ali bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) and Concordija.
Schuyler Riley and Dobra de Porceyo set the standard in the 9-horse jump-off with a clear in 35.46s from first to go, but Scott Brash and Hello Forever swept around the course wiping over 2s off her time. Paige Johnson and Dakota put in a fantastic round to finish just over one second behind Brash, but Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Pironella slotted in between the two in 34.14s. Last to go, Al Thani threw caution to the wind but was unable to catch the World No. 1 finishing in 33.48s.
The snug arena, crowded on all sides by an enthusiastic crowd, creates an intense atmosphere so it will take a top horse and rider team to win the main event tomorrow afternoon, the opening Longines GCT Grand Prix of the season. Watch the Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix live on www.globalchampionstour.com via GCT TV; see highlights on NBC Sports Network Sunday 5th April 3.30pm – 4.30pm (EST) or on Eurosport on Sunday at 8pm (CET).
Geneva, Switzerland, 14 December 2014 – In sport, legends are created by repeated success at the very highest level. The remarkable Scott Brash today proved why he is the very best that equestrian sport has seen in a long time, when he won the third equestrian Major of the year, the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva. Brash adds this title to his Rolex Top 10 Final victory, which he claimed less than 48 hours earlier.
Riding the majestic Hello Sanctos, on whom he has enjoyed huge success in 2014, Brash was one of 12 riders who went through to the jump-off from the original 40 on the start list.
The first four into the ring all produced a clear second round, and it quickly became obvious that it was going to take a very special performance to take the Rolex Grand Prix title. But, as he has proved all year, Brash thrives on tough challenges.
He was the sixth rider to enter the huge arena at the Palexpo and, when he left it, he had yet again produced a fast, clear round that was to become the benchmark for the remaining six riders to attempt to better. Dismounted and pacing the warm-up ring in the company of Hello Santos’ owners, Brash had to go through the nerve wracking experience of watching his fellow riders try and better his jump-off time of 35.69 seconds.
Brash’s time remained relatively safe until France’s Roger Yves Bost entered the arena, clearly with every intent to put everything on the line to challenge for the title. The crowd was hushed but the atmosphere crackled, as Qoud’Coeur de la Loge seemed to fly around the course. But their final time, 35.94 seconds, was still not quick enough, and when the final rider brought one pole down, the Rolex title belonged to Brash.
Speaking about the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Scott Brash said, “I think you have to make it your aim once you win one leg, because what Rolex has done in putting sponsorship up for these shows is just incredible and it’s kept our sport at a high, high level and raised our sport even more. So I think with that goal in mind, anyone who wins one leg will be targeting the next leg.”
Winning a Major defines a sportsman’s career, and the Rolex Grand Prix, the third stage of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, is one of the most difficult titles to claim. Brash now becomes the live contender and travels to Aachen in May 2015 to attempt to win his second title in the cycle, and claim the €1m bonus on offer to any rider who can win the Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva.
CHI Geneva is renowned within the equestrian community for its giant arena, which is at least twice the size of any other indoor venue, and the popularity of the show has never been higher, with the huge grandstands completely sold-out for the Rolex Grand Prix. Forty of the world’s greatest riders travelled to Geneva to challenge for the title, including Rolex Testimonees Kent Farrington, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Kevin Staut, and last year’s winner, Steve Guerdat but, in the end, they were left to dream at what might have been as Brash dominated once again.
Alban Poudret, the Sport Director at CHI Geneva, said, “It is a great gift, when the public is here and when the public love it; that really is the best gift for all our efforts. Yesterday evening for the first indoor cross-country the public was incredible and during the Rolex Top 10 Final, and Rolex Grand Prix we thought that we were at a Championship. At CHI Geneva, we are emotional and passionate, and we do it with our heart for the passion of the sport, and for the friendship between all of us and we share this friendship with the riders.
“It is important to have a colourful show with different type of competitions, not something with too much format. There are too many shows that are the same and here we are happy when we see riders that understand that all the 700 volunteers pay such attention to detail to make such a great sporting feast.”
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping now takes a break until May 2015, when the Rolex Grand Prix will be staged during the weekend of 30-31 May at Aachen.
Official Quotes and Audio
To download transcribed quotes and audio interviews with the Top Three riders, please click here: http://po.st/93HYOY.
Rolex Equestrian Films
To celebrate the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Rolex has created a number of films featuring its equestrian Testimonees. To view these films, please click here.
Geneva, Switzerland, 12 December 2014 – It is an elite competition for the best of the best and an opportunity for the Top 10 riders and horses in the world to compete for end-of-year supremacy. And after two rounds of intense competition, it was the rider who has dominated the World Rankings throughout 2014, Great Britain’s Scott Brash, who produced two flawless displays of Show Jumping to win the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, stamp his dominance on the sport, and stake a claim to being the rider of the year.
Riding his great gelding Hello Sanctos, Brash was one of four riders who went into the second round faultless. As the round progressed, the poles dropped, and Brash was the only double clear as the final rider, Penelope Leprevost, riding Flora de Mariposa, came into the ring. The only female rider to be competing in the Rolex Top 10 Final, the noise from the crowd hushed to a respectful silence, as they willed the Frenchwoman to another clear round.
But top level Show Jumping can be a tough sport, and after trying to cut time off the tightest turn on the course, Leprevost brought down the wall, resulting in four faults. The combination then knocked down a further two poles dropping them from first to last place.
Scott Brash said, “I must say my horse jumped wonderful today; he jumped really, really good and to be standing here, the winner of the Top 10 – it’s a class I’ve always only ever dreamed of winning, as a kid growing up. I always thought it was impossible to be in there, but to come here, in Geneva of all places, and win – it’s wonderful and I’m delighted.”
In a further twist of fate following a similar result during the World Equestrian Games earlier in the year, a single time fault in the first round for the French rider Patrice Delaveau, meant his clear in the second round resulted in being the runner-up once again by less than two seconds. Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat’s horse Albfuehren’s Paille lost a shoe just before entering the ring before the second round and after a quick visit to the farrier, Guerdat was able to finish with just four faults, and claim his spot on the podium in third place.
Speaking about his second place, Delaveau said, “Yes, it was the same fault for me [as at the World Equestrian Games] so for the future I will focus my training on this type of fault. It was difficult for me tonight with the speed. Scott was very quick, but for me it’s OK; I was very happy.”
Similar to the ATP World Finals in tennis, which is also supported by Rolex, the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final is the only competition that is run by the competitors through the International Jumping Riders Club and, due to its very nature, is one of the toughest in the world to win. Staged during CHI Geneva for the tenth time since the competition started in 2001, at the riders’ request, the competition will now stay at the venue for the next few years.
The results of the 14th Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final:
1st Scott Brash (GBR), riding Hello Sanctos
2nd Patrice Delaveau (FRA), riding Lacrimoso HDC
3rd Steve Guerdat (SUI), riding Albfuehren’s Paille
4th Daniel Deusser (GER), riding Cornet D’Amour
5th Maikel Van Der Vleuten (NED), riding VDL Groep Verdi TN N.O.P.
6th Ludger Beerbaum (GER), riding Chaman
7th Kevin Staut (FRA), riding Estoy Aqui De Muze HDC
8th Marcus Ehning (GER), riding Cornado NRW
9th Kent Farrington (USA), riding Voyeur
10th Penelope Leprevost (FRA), riding Flora De Mariposa