Tag Archives: Show Jumping

The World’s Best in Action on Day Three of The London International Horse Show

Great Britain’s Tokyo 2020 individual gold medalists Ben Maher and Explosion W took centre stage in a dedicated celebration of his Olympic success. With the crowd on its feet, the pair left the arena to Alesso’s Heroes, a fitting tribute to their outstanding achievement.

The FEI Driving World Cup presented by Eurofip International came to a thrilling conclusion with World No. 1 Boyd Exell coming out on top once again.

It was a busy day for the Show Jumpers, opening with The LeMieux Six Bar, which was shared between Alfie Bradstock and Max Kühner, who both produced faultless performances across the five rounds. World No. 4, Martin Fuchs, made it a London International Horse Show 2021 treble in The Global Herbs Snowflake Stakes, with The Longines Christmas Cracker going to XX.

Other notable highlights include wins for Jessica Clarehugh with Avonwolf Beanies Dizzy Dora in The Kennel Club Dog Agility Stakes Finals, and Robert Murphy receiving the Ella Popely Award, presented each year in recognition of the rider between the ages of 18 and 25 who has shown the qualities of being a true sportsman or woman: representing the sport well, acting as a team player, and encouraging others to excel.

EXCELLENT EXELL STRIKES AGAIN

The FEI Driving World Cup presented by Eurofip International saw the top three Drivers go through to a drive-off which had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Germany’s Mareike Harm set the pace with an accurate round, finishing with clear in a time of 143.70. Koos De Ronde from The Netherlands was second in and put in an impressive performance to cross the line in 137.25 seconds; however, with four penalties to add, his score of 141.25 left the window open for last to go, Boyd Exell. The Australian was down on the time in the first half; however, a spectacular second section saw him make up over three seconds with no penalties to add, to win by a wide margin.

Exell said: “This is such a fabulous arena; the sound system is great, the crowd sound even clearer, and they are really with you for every turn. We had a change from yesterday; we were resting one of the wheelers as he had done three shows in a row. It was a tactic because we are wildcards. Annabel and Simon Brooks-Ward invited me to be here, so it’s a chance to do well but also to try some different things and it worked out today.”

Great Britain’s Daniel Naprous added: “I just want to say thank you to The London International Horse Show for being brave enough to put on the event and give us somewhere incredible to compete at. The atmosphere has been amazing tonight and I am so grateful to be here.”

JACK’S THE KING OF THE PACK

Nine combinations went through to the jump-off of The Longines Christmas Cracker. Eager to set an unattainable target, the first four to go against the clock all picked up penalties en route. Great Britain’s Jack Whitaker was the first to post a clear, jumping a smooth but relatively conservative round aboard Valmy de la Lande to ensure his place in the prizes. With those who followed also accumulating faults in their attempts to increase the pace, Finland’s Noora Forsten was rewarded for her tactics in jumping a steady clear round, finishing in second, with Harry Charles back in third, the fastest of the four faulters.

A delighted Whitaker said: “It’s difficult to put into words to be honest. I’ve been wanting to compete here since I was a little kid. I’ve been coming to this show for as long as I can remember; it’s what I’ve always dreamed of and I got lucky tonight. It wasn’t a great jump-off course for me tonight, and so when I saw the ones ahead of me knocking jumps down, I thought I might get away with just jumping a nice clear, and I did.”

The world’s best Show Jumpers battled it out in The Global Herbs Snowflake Stakes. The top 10 from the first round went through to the jump-off, carrying forward any penalties incurred. The first to secure the coveted first double clear, Austria’s Max Kühner, set the pace of 39.28 seconds; however, Martin Fuchs, already a double winner at the Show this week, pulled out all the stops to take the lead with an impressive time of 36.20 aboard Tam Tam du Valon.

The Swiss World No. 4 was looking hard to beat. Dutchman Harrie Smolders came close with a beautifully smooth round in a time of 37.72, as did Germany’s Christian Ahlmann; their efforts were only good enough for third and second place, respectively, leaving Fuchs with his third London International Horse Show 2021 victory.

The Lemieux Six Bar provided top-class entertainment. 13 starters lined up to face the six-obstacle course, run over a knock-out format, whereby those jumping clear in the first rounds went through to face the increasingly imposing course. Just two combinations made it to the fifth round, with the final fence standing at an incredible 1.90m – Austria’s Max Kühner riding EIC Coriolis des Isles and Great Britain’s Aflie Bradstock aboard H. d’Or.

Up first, Kühner put on a foot perfect performance to secure his place at the top of the leaderboard and placing the pressure on Bradstock. The Brit rose to the occasion with a fine display of athleticism to match Kühner’s feat and share the honours, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Celebrating his first London International Horse Show victory, Bradstock said: “It’s amazing just to even compete here, and to win something is a real dream come true. This horse is a Puissance specialist, and the Six Bar was a something extra that we thought we may as well give a go while we’re here. I never expected him to do that, but with the support of the audience he just got better and better. The crowd was fantastic; to have the home crowd cheering like that was unbelievable.”

Kühner added: “I’m really enjoying the Show; it’s fantastic because the crowd is still the same; they give us such a boost; it almost feels like we have wings. The London crowd really is stunning;S it was really special. My horse is only nine, but he is incredibly talented already, and has achieved a lot this year. He’s done a great job today and I have a good feeling about tomorrow too.”

More information about The London International Horse Show can be found here.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Dujardin Delivers Sensational Double in London

It was an action packed second day of The London International Horse Show at ExCeL London. In addition to spectacular international competition in three FEI disciplines, Driving, Dressage, and Jumping, the Show hosted a dedicated Medal Parade to celebrate the achievements of the equestrian Team GB athletes at this summer’s Olympic Games and European Championships.

Additional achievements were acknowledged across the course of the day, with the British Equestrian Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Carl Hester and British Dressage International Champions Trophy awarded to Charlotte Dujardin and her Tokyo 2020 Olympic mount Gio, as the highest placed British combination at this year’s championships.

The Services Jumping Championship was won by Sgt Charlotte Lee from the Police, riding Bermudez BDA, the only competitor to jump clear in the second round, with Dawn Weaver’s Ag Ch Galaxy’s Dream Summer winning the Kennel Club Small Agility Stakes Final.

DUJARDIN MAKES IT A DOUBLE

The FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle supported by Horse and Hound took centre stage for the evening performance. Great Britain’s Lara Butler set the standard in the first half of the field, producing a solid score of 76.305%. Butler, riding Kristjan, performed a well-executed test, including impeccable flying changes and piaffes, to music which had the crowd clapping along as she completed.

Germany’s Frederic Wandres, runner-up in last night’s FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix, riding Duke of Britain FRH was the first to mount a challenge to Butler’s lead. Wandres demonstrated the qualities which have contributed to him being the current leader of the FEI Dressage World Cup Western European League to post an outstanding score of 80.260%.

British Tokyo 2020 team bronze medalist Lottie Fry capped a fantastic year, posting an outstanding score of 81.945 to take over the lead. Riding the 13-year-old gelding, Dark Legend, Fry started strongly with a piaffe passage and despite scoring slightly lower in the middle section, finished well to put the pressure on the final two riders.

Last to go, Charlotte Dujardin, is not one to shy away from pressure, and once again proved why she is Great Britain’s joint most decorated female Olympian. Aboard Gio, her Tokyo mount, Dujardin rode her Olympic Freestyle test for just the third time, demonstrating quality in abundance, with each movement perfectly in time to the music. She was rewarded by a phenomenal score of 89.040 to take her fifth London International Horse Show FEI World Cup Freestyle victory, with teammate Fry in second and Wandres in third.

Watching from the crowd, mentor and British teammate, Carl Hester, said: “It’s an amazing score and he’s an amazing horse who gives his all; they thoroughly deserve it. The programme is extremely difficult as you could see. It’s a little bit disturbing when you watch somebody so good and a horse that’s so good that you don’t realise how difficult the movements that she’s doing are, because she spins together these incredible movements and the horse just responds so beautifully, so I’m not surprised at the score.”

Dujardin added: “I’ve just finished off the most incredible year in the best way possible. He truly is a very special horse; his very first Olympics, his very first Europeans, and now he’s just finished the year off winning the World Cup here at The London International Horse Show – what a legend. There’s nothing like riding in front of your home crowd, having them cheering you on. I’ve really missed everyone and I would like to thank everyone for coming and supporting.”

EXELL EXCELS AT THE EXCEL

The first leg of the FEI Driving World Cup presented by Eurofip International was won by Boyd Exell, a regular winner here in London. The Australian’s masterful display of horsemanship was over seven seconds fast than the runner-up, Koos de Ronde from The Netherlands, in the drive-off, with Dries Degrieck back in third.

The five-time World Four-in-Hand champion and nine-time FEI World Cup Driving Champion was already looking forward to the final leg: “Statistically, Koos [De Ronde] and Ijsbrand [Chardon] are the biggest threats. Ijsbrand was a little bit off the pace today; however, previously he’s been off the pace the first day and much better the second, and often can win the final, so he’s definitely one to watch out for. He does have a little bit more to do than usual, but tomorrow is another day, so let’s wait and see.”

Exell continued, “This new venue is amazing; it’s brilliant for the horses. There’s loads of space, brand new stables, everything for us as competitors is fantastic. Obviously, the Olympia building in the evenings was a lovely setting, but as a sport, we have to evolve and progress, and this facility has the opportunity to do that.”

GREAT BRITAIN DOMINATES ON DAY TWO

The opening CSI5* contest of the day was a two-phase competition whereby all those clear over the first seven fences went on to the second phase against the clock. The first to mount a challenge, Great Britain’s John Whitaker, a legend of the sport, laid down the gauntlet as fifth to go, riding Green Grass. The 66-year-old demonstrated why he is still at the top of the sport, with an extremely tight and fast second phase, jumping clear in 27.16 seconds. Those who followed failed to match Whitaker. Compatriot Sameh El Dahan aboard WKD Toronto came close, posting a time of 28.41 seconds to go into second, and Frenchman Mathieu Billot, as last to go, looked to put Whitaker’s lead under threat, but could only manage enough for third.

The Champagne Taittinger Ivy Stakes was awarded to Great Britain’s Tokyo 2020 Olympian, Harry Charles, riding Borsato. 10 combinations went forward to the jump-off, with Great Britain’s talented young rider Jack Whitaker paving the way. Whitaker meant business from the start, jumping an impressive clear in a time of 35.98 seconds to set the standard. Germany’s Marcus Ehning survived a rub at the penultimate fence to take over pole position at the midway point, shaving 0.83 seconds off Whitaker’s time; however, it was Harry Charles who had the crowd on its feet as he made all the moves to take the lead with just three to go. Charles’ target of 34.07 seconds proved impossible to beat, as those who followed, including dual winner Martin Fuchs, incurred penalties in their attempts to match the pace required.

A delighted Charles said: “I was actually quite shocked when I finished, as I didn’t realise I was that much quicker than him [Marcus Ehning]. It’s not every day you can be that much quicker than Marcus. I thought the jump-off went quite well; in places I thought I was a little bit unsteady, but it all worked out in the end and I’m absolutely delighted.”

EQUESTRIAN TEAM GBR MEDAL PARADE

Ben Maher MBE and his Olympic gold medal-winning partner, Explosion W, led the celebratory medal parade featuring many of Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic equestrian heroes. The parade provided fans with an opportunity to celebrate the exceptional performances from the summer, which also included a successful European Championships and Driving World Championship for Ponies. The medalists were joined in the arena by their owners and grooms, all pivotal to the successes achieved over the course of the year.

More information about The London International Horse Show can be found here.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Mr Blue Sky UK Shines on a New Era for London International Horse Show

Charlotte Dujardin started the 2021 edition of The London International Horse Show in style, with victory in the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix aboard her Olympic double bronze medal-winning ride, Gio. The Afternoon Performance saw an increase in pace, with the Extreme Driving supported by Karen and Hugh Scott-Barrett won by Jerome Voutaz, and the first CSI5* Show Jumping competition of the Show – The Santa Stakes – which saw World No. 4 Martin Fuchs take the spoils.

The famous Puissance wall took centre stage at ExCeL London for the Evening Performance, with Guy Williams jumping 2.10m to win. There was a second victory for Fuchs in The Christmas Pudding Stakes. In addition to the return of annual favourites The Shetland Pony Grand National and the Kennel Club Dog Agility, there were performances by The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, horse whisperer Santi Serra, and the presentation of the Raymond Brooks-Ward Memorial Trophy to talented young rider Lottie Fry.

CHARLOTTE SHINES IN LONDON

Great Britain’s Gareth Hughes took an early lead in the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix, scoring 69.605 in the new shortened test. Compatriot Richard Davison was the first to surpass the 70% mark, scoring 71.526% aboard his 15-year-old homebred gelding Bubblingh. However, his lead was short-lived, as he was followed into the arena by Britain’s joint most decorated female Olympian, Charlotte Dujardin. Dujardin, riding her 2020 Tokyo Olympic mount, Gio, set the arena alight, trending at over 80% for much of the test and setting a new personal best score of 82.553%.

Dujardin’s Tokyo Olympic teammate, Lottie Fry, riding her 2019 European Championship partner, was the next to pose a challenge. However, a score of 74.52% – which went into second place at the time – was only good enough for eventual fourth in such hot competition. The final two to go, Nanna Skodborg Merrald from Denmark and Frederic Wandres from Germany, came closest to Dujardin’s outstanding mark to finish third and second, respectively.

“I was absolutely over the moon with Gio today,” said Dujardin. “This is his first indoor show; he has only really done the Olympics and Europeans this year, so he had to up his game very quickly to go into that huge indoor arena. He took it in his stride; he went out there and did the test. I didn’t feel like I had to hold his hand through it at all. He really delivered, which made me unbelievably happy. “

FUCHS ON FLYING FORM

The CSI5* Show Jumping got underway with The Santa Stakes, a 1.50m jump-off class, which was won by World No. 4, Martin Fuchs from Switzerland, riding The Sinner. The combination picked up where they left off at the Show, returning to London following their win in the FEI Jumping World Cup in 2019.

12 combinations made it through with a clear first round, setting up for a scintillating jump-off against the clock, and in the end just 0.11 seconds separated the top three. Germany’s Christian Ahlmann took an early lead, setting an impressive target for those who followed; however, Fuchs, full of confidence following victory in the Grand Prix at CHI Geneva last weekend, put on a masterful display to take the lead at the midway point. With just three remaining, Max Kühner gave his all to put Fuchs’ lead in jeopardy, but his time of 32.93 was 0.09 seconds slower, going into second place, with Ahlmann in eventual third.

Fuchs commented: “This is a perfect start to the London International Horse Show with a win in the big class. The Sinner loves to come to London and really enjoys this Show; when he went in the ring, I could feel he wanted to do his best and he loves performing here, and so do I!”

Fuchs’ winning streak continued as he made it two from two on the opening day of the Show with victory in The Christmas Pudding Speed Stakes. Drawn fourth of 34 starters, Fuchs laid down the gauntlet, making all the turns and keeping his foot on the gas throughout to post a time to beat of 53.34 seconds. Those who followed were unable to match his pace and accuracy. Great Britain’s Guy Williams, notorious for his speed against the clock, put in a valiant effort to post a time of 54.82, finishing fourth, and France’s Olivier Robert also came close with a time of 54.48. Last to go, Britain’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Champion Ben Maher had the sell-out crowd on their feet with an explosive gallop to the last, but despite his best efforts, he could only go into second.

Speaking after the class, Fuchs said: “I knew my horse would be very fast, so I thought I would give it go and try to put as much pressure on the rest of riders as possible. It was very tight at the end as Ben was quick, but I was happy to stay on top. The atmosphere here is amazing; performing in front a full crowd is so cool and the facilities here are amazing for the horses. I am really enjoying the Show so far.”

The LeMieux Puissance provided a fitting conclusion to the opening day of the Show. The famous red wall was raised to 2.10m in the fourth round, a height that could only be cleared by Guy Williams riding Mr Blue Sky UK. The combination, who were joint winners of the same class at the 2018 Show, was up against three other challengers in the fourth round, but Williams and Mr Blue Sky UK – who have an exceptional Puissance record – came out on top as the only pair to jump the wall without fault. Equal second was shared between French riders Mathieu Billot and Daniel Delsart, who both finished on four faults in the fourth round.

A delighted Williams said: “He jumped so well tonight; he is such a good Puissance horse and so reliable. I know him really well – I have had him since he was four, so it is great to win here again with him. The atmosphere was so good in the arena. I could hear people cheering for us, but I was trying to focus on my job and what was in front of us. My plan is to jump him in the FEI Jumping World Cup™ on Sunday as he’s feeling good, but will see how we go over the next couple of days.”

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets, can be found here.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Schulze Topphoff Takes La Coruña by Storm

Philipp Schulze Topphoff and Concordess NRW. (FEI/Manuel Queimadelos)

On his World Cup debut, 23-year-old German Philipp Schulze Topphoff breezed to victory with a stunning performance from his 11-year-old mare Concordess NRW in La Coruña, Spain. This fifth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League was no walk in the park, and only seven of the 39 horse-and-rider combinations found the key to the first-round track set by Tokyo 2020 Olympic course designer, Spain’s Santiago Varela.

But with all the confidence that goes with youth, and supported by his brilliant grey mare who was clearly unfazed by the task set for her, Schulze Topphoff produced a foot-perfect run when first to go in the opening round and didn’t flinch when pathfinder against the clock to set a target that couldn’t be bettered.

“This is definitely the biggest win I’ve ever had, and I don’t know what to say except I’m really, really happy!” said the young man who has now firmly put himself on the map.

Runner-up spot went to the French partnership of Gregory Cottard and Bibici, while Sweden’s Angelica Augustsson-Zanotelli lined up in third ahead of the Ireland’s Mikey Pender and HHS Calais in fourth place.

Curiosity

When the first horse goes clear in any competition, there is always a curiosity about whether the track will jump easily, but this was a perfect example of the opposite. Varela’s test demanded a lot of stride adjustments, and the last three fences on the 13-obstacle first-round course were the undoing of many.

There was little room for error of line on the tight left-hand turn off the side of the arena to the oxer at fence eleven, and many riders had to increase acceleration on the approach to make it work. Subsequently, the following vertical with a delicate white plank on top, jumped off a curving right-hand bend, often came up awkwardly, and if balance wasn’t quickly re-established then the final oxer was the heart-breaker as it hit the floor.

That plank proved the undoing of Schulze Topphoff’s compatriot and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion Marcus Ehning, whose lovely stallion, Stargold, clipped it in an otherwise perfect round. The Dutch partnership who came out on top at the last fixture at the Casas Novas Equestrian Centre in La Coruña two years ago, Maikel van der Vleuten and Beauville Z, who together clinched individual bronze in Tokyo this summer, looked well on the way to a place in the jump-off until coming adrift over those final two fences.

Just two riders picked up a single time fault in an otherwise faultless round, and the first of these was Belgium’s Ludo Philippaerts who retired back in 2014 but, now back at the top end of the sport, looked set to make a dramatic statement of intent with his 10-year-old grey, Laurier, until over-running the 74 seconds time-allowed. His twin sons, Olivier and Nicola, and his nephew Pieter Clemens were also in action, but the only Belgian contender to make the cut into the second-round decider was Jos Verlooy who eventually finished fifth.

Threw it down

First against the clock, Schulze Topphoff really threw it down to the rest of them when turning tight inside the final fence on the new course en route to the second fence. He said afterwards that he “lost a bit of time” after the following double, but when he scorched through the finish in 37.69 seconds, it certainly looked a tough time to beat.

The Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Dante NOP lowered the second element of the double when next to go, but Augustsson-Zanotelli and the 11-year-old mare Kalinka van de Nachtegaele left all the poles in place to slot temporarily into second spot in 38.39 seconds.

Cottard then set sail, and despite taking the longer route to the second fence by going around the final oxer, came close to taking over the lead when breaking the beam in 37.78 seconds and moved into runner-up position.

Ireland’s Mikey Pender is always fast, and even though the 10-year-old HHS Calais is a tall, leggy horse, he still managed to produce the quickest time, galloping through the timers in 36.08 seconds, but carrying four faults when hitting the third-last. With just two left to go, Brazil’s Eduardo Pereira de Menezes was also quick, stopping the clock on 36.92 seconds but dislodging a pole at the second fence along the way.

However, for last man in, Jos Verlooy, it was even more frustrating when, well up on the clock coming to the last, that fell for four faults which saw him having to settle for that fifth place.

Nervous

Winner, Schulze Topphoff, said that he was more nervous watching the rest trying to beat him than riding his own jump-off round. Talking about Concordess NRW who carried him to individual gold and team bronze at the 2019 FEI European Young Riders Championship, he described her as “a bit of a diva!

“She always has her own ideas – sometimes she works with me but sometimes I have to go her way, but she’s always really fighting for me; she has a really powerful character!” said the rider who is based on his family’s small farm near Münster in Germany. The pair has been together a long time. “She is owned by my mother, and we have her since she was four years old and she went to her first shows with us. We trust each other. I choose a way to go and she knows I won’t ever ask her to do the impossible. We’ve had a lot of offers to buy her, but we are quite happy to keep her for ourselves; she is just great!” he added.

After a very successful week with a lot of top placings with his talented string of horses at La Coruña, the winner is now hoping to get the chance to collect some more points towards qualification for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2022 Final next April. For now, however, he and his horses are taking a Christmas break. “We won’t be in London (GBR) but I’m hoping to get the chance to go to Basel (SUI) and Amsterdam (NED) in January – we will see,” he said.

Result here

by Louise Parkes

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Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
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Martin Fuchs Crowned Rolex Grand Prix Champion at CHI Geneva

Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday 12 December 2021 – Martin Fuchs riding Leone Jei claimed the final equestrian Major of 2021, winning the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix at the Concours Hippique International de Genève (CHI Geneva), becoming the first rider in the history of the competition to win consecutive editions, following his victory in Geneva in 2019.

The world’s elite competitors gathered at the Palexpo arena for the Geneva International Horse Show, of which Rolex has been the Main Sponsor since 1996. The event, steeped in history and celebrating its 60th edition in 2021, is traditionally a showcase of precision and consistency, qualities demonstrated in abundance by Fuchs in Switzerland over the weekend, and reflected in Rolex’s own commitment to perpetual excellence in its watchmaking and all other endeavours.

The winning combination highlighted the critical importance of harmony between horse and rider, how trust and communication are the foundation of any successful partnership and the ability to push beyond the known limits of performance.

The demanding first round set by world-renowned course designers Gérard Lachat of Switzerland and Louis Konickx of the Netherlands saw just six of the 40 starters head through to the jump-off. First to go against the clock, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny set a fast but beatable time, leaving the door open to those who followed. Fuchs was next to go and produced a precision-perfect round aboard the nine-year-old Leone Jei, setting the time to beat of 41.54 seconds, almost two seconds faster than Kenny.

Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington followed Fuchs into the arena, and put in a fearless effort, shaving 0.19 seconds off the time, only to accrue four faults at the very last fence. Those that followed were unable to match the accuracy and pace of Fuchs, with Harrie Smolders from The Netherlands and Max Kühner from Austria finishing second and third, respectively.

Commenting on his win, the Swiss rider said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to get my second victory here in Geneva. Leone Jei jumped great in both rounds. I knew that the jump-off suited me very well; I knew that I could leave out strides and that it would be difficult for my colleagues to do the same because Leone Jei has such a massive stride. I’m delighted to once again be the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.”

Equestrian fans will now eagerly look forward to the next Major, The Dutch Masters in March 2022, when Fuchs will be the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the sport’s ultimate challenge that rewards any rider who wins three consecutive Grand Prix at the four Majors.

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

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

Ben Maher Wins 20th Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

Ten of the world’s very best show jumping athletes battled it out in the headline class on day two of CHI Geneva 2021, with each partnership vying to be crowned Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final champion in the 20th edition of this epic encounter. Contested over two rounds, the Gérard Lachat- and Louis Konickx-designed course would be the ultimate test of horsemanship, requiring a perfect balance of speed, precision, and harmony between horse and rider.

First to go, Frenchman Kevin Staut and his 14-year-old mare, Tolede de Mescam Harcour, were unlucky to put one fence down. Next up, current world number eight Jérôme Guery and his stallion, Quel Homme de Hus, crossed the finish line fault-free, much to the delight of the Belgian. Great Britain’s Ben Maher and his superstar gelding Explosion W followed Guery’s lead, making no mistake around the 12-obstacle test. Then followed a procession of five riders, Henrik von Eckermann, Steve Guerdat, Scott Brash, Kent Farrington, and Martin Fuchs, who were all unable to record a clear round. The last two riders out of the 10 starters – Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Swede Peder Fredricson – showed their class, breezing the course with ease, each without a fault.

A slightly shortened second round, made up of nine obstacles, awaited the evening’s competitors. As well as the half-time break giving the volunteers an opportunity to modify the course, the Geneva Arena’s spectators were treated to some sad but celebratory words from legendary Canadian rider, Eric Lamaze, as his adored 18-year-old mare Fine Lady 5 was retired. Lamaze and Fine Lady won the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final in 2016, so the setting for a final goodbye was very fitting.

First to go in round two, home favourite Martin Fuchs picked up another fault, while compatriot Steve Guerdat and partner Victorio Des Frotards were also unable to record a clear round. Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion, Scott Brash, made amends for his first round penalty and time fault, going clear, but accumulating a total of five penalties. 2017’s Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final champion, Kevin Staut and his stunning grey received a huge cheer from a delighted crowd after they went clear. Current world number one Peder Fredricson wasn’t to be so fortunate, picking up a second fault to finish on eight penalties. A stunning and assured round by Henrik von Eckermann and King Edward was enough to knock Staut off top spot. Uncharacteristically, Deusser’s mount Killer Queen VDM refused the second fence putting him out of contention. The penultimate pair to go, reigning Individual Olympic champion Ben Maher and Explosion W went brilliantly clear, beating von Eckermann into second place by nearly two seconds. All eyes were then on Jérôme Guery to cause a late upset; however, a fence down and a slower time saw him slot into third, meaning Maher would be crowned 2021’s Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final champion, rounding off a truly memorable year.

On the part that his team played in his victory, Maher commented: “My team plays a huge part. My owners are here to watch this evening, and without them I wouldn’t be able to be riding Explosion W over the last few years. My groom Cormac has been with me since he was 16 years old, so he’s grown up together with me, and it’s very special for me to see him take big moments like this, and it wouldn’t be possible without him.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Kent Farrington Wins the Trophée de Genève

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

Forty-nine starters representing 16 nations – including nine of the world’s current top 10-ranked riders – contested the headline class, Trophée de Genève, on the opening day of the 60th edition of CHI Geneva. With the Palexpo’s iconic Geneva Arena filled with excited and expectant fans, many starved of witnessing top level international show jumping, the world’s very best show jumpers and their equine partners braced themselves for course designer Gérard Lachat’s 13-obstacle, 16-effort 1m60 test.

Eighth to go, 56-year-old French veteran rider, Roger-Yves Bost, demonstrated his experience, recording the class’s first clear round with his stallion, Cassius Clay VDV Z. Team gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Games, Bost was soon to be joined by compatriot Edward Levy, who went clear with his mare, Rebeca LS. At the halfway stage, the two Frenchmen were joined in an exclusive group progressing to the jump-off comprising Kent Farrington and his long-time partner, Creedance, and two future next generation riders: 22-year-old Swiss Edouard Schmitz and his 12-year-old gelding, Quno, and 24-year-old Greek, Ioli Mytilineou with her talented 10-year-old gelding, L’Artiste de Toxandra, who she refers to as her ‘big friendly giant’.

After the break, Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender and world number two, Daniel Deusser, partnered by Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z, went effortlessly clear, with a stellar list of riders joining him in what was shaping up to be a scintillating 14-strong jump-off. They included current world number one, Peder Fredricson (H&M Christian K), Austrian Rolex Grand Slam Major winner, Max Kühner (Elektric Blue P), local hero Martin Fuchs (Conner Jei), Germany’s Christian Kukuk (Checker 47), Jérôme Guery from Belgium (Quel Homme de Hus), home favourite Bryan Balsiger (Dubai du Bois Pinchet), and Nicolas Delmotte (Ilex v.) from France.

Into the jump-off and it was Farrington who proved too strong for the other 13 riders, clearly demonstrating how much he loves competing at CHI Geneva. With half of the field going double clear, Farrington and his gelding, Creedance – who possesses a superior mix of speed and accuracy – held on and had enough to beat Fredricson into second place by 0.47 seconds. Deusser slotted into third.

Thrilled with his win, Farrington commented: “It’s great to be back at CHI Geneva. It’s tough times in the world still, so I’m very happy the organisers are able to put on this great event. It feels amazing to be competing with these guys, the best riders and horses in the world. We’ll use Gazelle in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday. She’s feeling good, and the plan is to jump her in a small round tomorrow and then go from there.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Equestrianism’s Finest Head to CHI Geneva for Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final and Rolex Grand Prix

Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday 7 December 2021 – The Concours Hippique International de Genève (CHI Geneva) returns to the Palexpo arena from 9-12 December for the 60th edition of the prestigious show. The Rolex Grand Prix and the Rolex International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) Top 10 Final are notable highlights during four days of elite competition.

The partnership between Rolex and the Geneva International Horse Show was established in 1996, with 2021 marking the 25-year anniversary, and remains a key element of the brand’s long-standing commitment to equestrianism that dates back more than 60 years. Inaugurated in 1926, the event is among the most revered on the equestrian calendar, demonstrating an unwavering dedication to continuous improvement and quality that fits perfectly with Rolex’s own pursuit of perpetual excellence.

THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX

The competition will culminate on Sunday with the Rolex Grand Prix, one of the four Majors that form the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. As ever, it will be a showcase of the precision, bravery, and athleticism required by horse and rider, working in harmony to take on the challenge set by world-renowned course designers Gérard Lachat of Switzerland and Louis Konickx of the Netherlands.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, comprising The Dutch Masters, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, the CHIO Aachen, and the CHI Geneva, was initiated in 2013 and rewards a rider who wins three consecutive Grands Prix at these events. The most coveted prize in show jumping, it has been achieved by only one athlete, Scott Brash of Great Britain, whose epic feat began at Geneva in 2014 and was completed with victories at Aachen and Spruce Meadows in 2015.

Germany’s Daniel Deusser heads to Geneva as the current live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam following his exceptional performance at Aachen in September, taking victory aboard Killer Queen VDM.

THE ROLEX FAMILY OF TESTIMONEES

A strong roster of Rolex Testimonees will challenge Deusser for the Rolex Grand Prix title. Leading the way will be home favourites Martin Fuchs and Steve Guerdat.

Fuchs will be hoping to retain his crown following a successful year that has included team gold and individual silver medals at the European championships. The Swiss World No. 4 said: “CHI Geneva is particularly special for me as it’s my home Major and a show that I always want to do well at. Winning the Rolex Grand Prix in 2019 was an unbelievable feeling and I will be doing my very best to repeat my performance.”

Guerdat is a three-time winner (2006, 2013, and 2015) of the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix, and was also victorious in the 2010 and 2018 Rolex IJRC Top 10 Finals. He heads to Palexpo with the prospect of securing a Rolex Grand Slam bonus after winning the CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ earlier this year.

Brash, currently ranked No. 6 in the world, also understands the accuracy, courage, and determination required to win a Major, as does Kent Farrington, winner of this event in 2017 with his brilliant mare, Gazelle. France’s Kevin Staut and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa join the roll of former winners looking to reclaim the title, while Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Great Britain’s Harry Charles will be seeking to add their names to this illustrious list.

THE ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL

In the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, the world’s top 10 ranked riders compete against each other for the right to be crowned champion. The unique event, which in 2021 celebrates its 20th anniversary, has been supported by Rolex since its inauguration, and acknowledges the achievements of the best show jumpers over the course of the season.

Farrington will contest the 2021 edition as reigning champion, having ridden Austria 2 to victory in 2019. His second success – the American also triumphed in 2015 – marked the seventh consecutive win for a Rolex Testimonee in the event. He will be up against a strong contingent of in-form riders, including Deusser, Fuchs, Brash, Guerdat, and Staut.

IJRC Director Eleonora Ottaviani commented: “We are extremely proud to support this unique concept, bringing together the best riders in the world each year. As with the Nitto ATP Finals in tennis, the Top 10 Final is unparalleled in equestrian sport, producing the finest level of competition from the world’s best athletes. In 2021 we mark the 20th anniversary of the event, a testament to its long-standing success, made possible through the partnership with Rolex, a brand that has demonstrated a continuous and invaluable commitment to equestrianism for more than 60 years.”

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

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

Who to Look Out For at CHI Geneva 2021

Martin Fuchs and Clooney 51 (Photo: CHI de Genève / scoopdyga.com)

After nearly two years of waiting, the highly anticipated CHI Geneva returns from 9-12 December, representing the fourth and final Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major of the year. The show will host an impressive number of world-class horse and rider combinations, including all of the current top 10-ranked riders, 17 of the current top 20, as well as featuring seven Rolex Testimonees. The show will celebrate its 60th edition, as well as the 20th anniversary of the IJRC Rolex Top 10 Final. As ever, CHI Geneva will be a truly international affair, with those riders competing representing 16 nations, and the home nation boasting a squad of 19.

After his remarkable maiden victory in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen in September, Live Contender and current world number two, Daniel Deusser, has confirmed his talented mare Killer Queen VDM will travel to the Swiss capital in his quest to continue his Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey. CHI Geneva, the pinnacle of the international indoor show jumping calendar for top riders, will once again provide one of the toughest tests in the sport when it culminates with the Rolex Grand Prix, which requires the highest level of talent and horsemanship in order to be crowned champion.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch

Current world number one, Peder Fredricson from Sweden, looks incredibly competitive and the one to watch heading into the final Major of the year. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team champion has strength in depth in his talented team of horses, and will be the rider to beat in the Geneva Arena in front of the Palexpo’s knowledgeable crowds.

Fredricson’s compatriot, Henrik von Eckermann, played an integral role in Sweden’s Olympic success in Japan this summer. Currently ranked number two in the world, von Eckermann, who recently won the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona aboard his trusted partner, King Edward, will be aiming to add a Major win at CHI Geneva to his superb year.

Reigning Olympic Individual gold medallist, Ben Maher, will take his magnificently gifted gelding, Explosion W, to CHI Geneva. Winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show in May this year, the Briton will be looking to round off an exceptional 12 months with a win at 2021’s final Rolex Grand Slam Major.

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Catherine Tyree and BEC Lorenzo Find Success in $214k Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI4*

Catherine Tyree and BEC Lorenzo. ©Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – Dec. 4, 2021 – The highly-anticipated feature event of the Holiday & Horses CSI4* and the ESP Holiday Series as a whole took place on Saturday evening in front of the biggest crowd the facility has seen since the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival was stopped in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) now open to general spectators, the 39 elite contenders in the $214,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI4*, presented by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, gave the crowd a perfect welcome back to the horse show, enhanced thanks to the masterful course designs of Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). Galloping to the top of the leaderboard as the night’s big winners, Catherine Tyree (USA) and her own BEC Lorenzo edged out the competition to conclude the evening with the coveted first prize and the lion’s share of the prize money.

Following the conclusion of the class, the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award was presented to Tyree and Lorenzo, who claimed the title thanks to their victory in the grand prix, combined with an eighth-place finish in the $50,000 Premier Equestrian Grand Prix Qualifier CSI4* on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Leslie Howard (USA) and Donna Speciale, owned by Peter Howard and Laure Sudreau, topped a field of 36 exhibitors in the $5,000 CabanaCoast 1.35m Jumper Stake. The duo galloped to a double-clear jump-off time of 34.67 seconds, the quickest of a large group of ten double-clear pairs.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.