Tag Archives: Spruce Meadows

Beezie Madden Becomes New Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

In contrast to Saturday’s BMO Nations’ Cup, which was bathed in warm early autumn sunshine, the International Ring was overcast and chilly for the final day of the 2019 CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. An unprecedented 48 horse and rider combinations contended the week’s showcase class, the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, for the enviable title of becoming a Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major winner and securing a place in equestrian history.

Spruce Meadows’ veteran Venezuelan course designer, Leopoldo Palacios, and his assistant, Peter Grant, set the riders from 22 nations a typically tough set of challenges, with the first round consisting of 17 obstacles and the second round 14. Of the 48 starters, 12 riders progressed to the second round, including eight, who were faultless after round one.

But it was the current world number six-ranked rider, American Beezie Madden, and her 11-year-old chestnut stallion, Darry Lou, who triumphed, adding just one time fault to her clear first round in a time of 66.94 seconds, and claimed her first Major as part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Also clear in round one was Australian Rowan Willis and his 13-year-old chestnut mare, Blue Movie, who put one fence down in round two to finished in second place in a time of 65.93 seconds, while Austria’s Max Kühner and his 12-year-old grey stallion, Chardonnay 79, slotted into third with a total of five faults in a time of 66.78 seconds.

A delighted Beezie Madden commented: “It feels amazing. This is such an amazing place; it’s just an honour to be here. Any win is fantastic, but I have to say, this one is pretty special.

“I kind of have a feeling that Darry Lou is the fans’ favourite because he’s so cute. The fans here are great. Obviously, they’re very loyal to their Canadian riders, but they appreciate great sport.

“Today, he [Darry Lou] was just about right. I thought I left him a little too fresh when I was warming up the other day, but I got away with it and he was great anyway. It’s nice when you have a plan and it actually works out that way. If anything goes wrong, it’s my fault because he does absolutely everything I ask him to do. He has a beautiful gallop and a beautiful jump, and his temperament is amazing. He’s careful and scopey, and he’s really a pleasure.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to go there [CHI Geneva] or not, but I guess this might seal the fact that I do want to go there. Winning this is amazing, and trying to win the Rolex Grand Slam, or even a portion of it would be amazing.”

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Canada Second in BMO Nations’ Cup at Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’

Mario Deslauriers and Amsterdam 27. Photo by Starting Gate Communications.

Calgary, Alberta – The Canadian Show Jumping Team finished second in the $530,000 BMO Nations’ Cup held Saturday, September 7, at the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, AB.

Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, Mario Deslauriers of New York, NY, and Eric Lamaze of Wellington, FL took on nine other countries in the richest show jumping team competition held in North America.  For the second year in a row, Canada finished in the runner-up position with a total of 14 faults.

Belgium, the newly crowned European Champions, won in convincing fashion with a total of four faults.  With victory sewn up after its first three riders posted clear performances in the second round there was no need for anchor rider Yves Vanderhasselt to return for a second time.  Ireland took third with 19 faults, Sweden was fourth with 20 faults, Mexico fifth with 25 faults, and France was sixth with 53 faults.  Only the top six teams returned for the second round with defending champions Germany failing to make the cut.  The United States, the reigning World Champions, also failed to advance, while the Netherlands and Italy were also left on the sidelines.

As Canada’s lead-off rider, Deslauriers had the opening element of the BMO triple combination down with Amsterdam 27, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Catoki x Acord II) owned by Luja LLC and Wishing Well Farm LLC.  The fence would prove to be the ‘bogey’ element of the day, falling more often than any other element on course designer Leopoldo Palacios’s tough track.  The pair returned to jump clear the second time out, keeping Canada in the hunt for a potential third title in the event that has been held annually since 1977.

Chad debuted a new mount, Quidamo F, a nine-year-old Swiss Warmblood gelding sired by Quality 9 and owned by Stone Ridge Farms LLC, in Nations’ Cup competition in front of her hometown crowd.  The 23-year-old had a rail at the double combination at fence five but quickly recovered to successfully jump the open water and continue home with the rest of the rails in place, albeit with one time fault for exceeding the 73-second time allowed.

Fresh off their double clear performance in the team competition at the recent Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Ballard and Fellini S were next in the order for Canada.  After having rails at 11 ‘a’ and at the final fence, Ballard and the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vermont x Rash R), owned by Ilan Ferder, jumped clear the second time out, only getting caught by the clock for one time fault.

Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic Champion, anchored the team with a clear in the first round and four faults in the second when the Canadian plank fence fell.  Having ridden Chacco Kid to victory earlier in the day in the $133,700 Suncor Energy Winning Round, Lamaze saddled Coco Bongo, a 14-year-old Rheinlander gelding (Caretino x Calido) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable, for the BMO Nations’ Cup.

Dropping Ballard’s score in the opening round and Chad’s in the second, Canada incurred a final score of 14 faults to finish runner-up for the second year in a row.

“It was a great team effort from all our riders; they all contributed,” said Mark Laskin, chef d’equipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team.  “Everyone really pulled together.  There is no shame in being second to the European Champions.

“I’m very excited about our prospects,” continued Laskin of Langley, BC.  “We had three nine-year-old horses jumping today in big league competition.  Spruce Meadows is very impressive.  The questions just kept compounding, and all of our horses improved in the second round and found the answers.  I’m thrilled, and it bodes well for the future of our team.”

For more information, visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | cell: 613-292-5439 | www.startinggate.ca

Another Emotional Victory for Eric Lamaze at Spruce Meadows

Eric Lamaze and Chacco Kid.  Photo by Starting Gate Communications.

Calgary, Alberta – Canada’s Eric Lamaze scored his second major victory at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament, winning the $133,700 Suncor Energy Winning Round on Saturday, September 7, in Calgary, AB.

Hot off their victory in the $133,700 1.60m CANA Cup on Thursday, September 5, Lamaze and Chacco Kid, a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco-Blue x Come On) owned by the Chacco Kid Group, returned to the international ring to repeat their winning ways.  The $133,700 Suncor Energy Winning Round is held in a format that sees the top 10 ranked riders following the opening round return for an all-deciding second round where the fastest clear wins.  Lamaze had the advantage of going last in the order and knew exactly what he had to do to win.

The 2008 Olympic Champion left nothing to chance, putting on a breath-taking display of world-class show jumping for the huge crowd as he tackled the testing 1.50m track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela.  As he sailed over the final fence and through the timers, the clock flashed 44.73 seconds, eclipsing the time of 46.62 seconds that had been set by Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca riding Limestone Grey.  For the second time, victory belonged to Lamaze and Chacco Kid at the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament.

The victory was an emotional one for Lamaze, who publicly revealed in June that he has been battling a brain tumour.  After praising his “clever” mount Chacco Kid, Lamaze dedicated his victory to a long-time friend who was also a winner in the International Ring during her competitive riding career.

“My good friend, Kim Kirton, is here,” said Lamaze, 51, as he was being presented with the Suncor Energy trophy.  “She doesn’t travel too much but when she does, good things seem to happen.  Kimmy, this one is for you!”

Lamaze now turns his attention to competing with Coco Bongo as a member of the Canadian team in the $530,00 BMO Nations’ Cup, also on Saturday, September 7.  He will close out the weekend by riding his 2016 Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, in Sunday’s $3 million CP International, presented by Rolex.  Lamaze has won the event twice before, in 2007 and 2011, both times riding the legendary Hickstead.

Lamaze is the all-time money winner at Spruce Meadows, having amassed more than $6 million in career winnings at the iconic Canadian show jumping venue.

For more information on Eric Lamaze and his Torrey Pines Stable, visit www.ericlamaze.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | cell: 613-292-5439 | www.startinggate.ca

Don’t Miss 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows LIVE on Horse & Country TV

London, U.K. – Sept. 6, 2019 – Horse & Country TV (H&C TV) is thrilled to bring live coverage of the Rolex Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows, which is a part of the 2019 Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, to show jumping fans in the U.S. The highly anticipated Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ CSIO5* is one of the most prestigious show jumping competitions in the world, running from Sept. 4 to 8.

Set in Calgary, Canada, the five-day tournament draws the biggest names in the sport to vie for the lion’s share of CA$4.1 million in prize money. H&C TV will broadcast the Rolex Grand Prix live on Sunday, Sept. 8 at 1:45 p.m. EST, capturing all of the excitement of the world-class event as it unfolds. Be sure to join H&C TV by clicking here to be a part of the action.

Attracting the world’s most talented athletes to its various venues across the world, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the most challenging title to claim in show jumping sport, requiring three consecutive wins in the Rolex Grand Prix events between the four major tournaments at CHIO Aachen, Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, CHI Geneva, and the Dutch Masters. A €1 million bonus, in addition to the prize money at each show, makes the title one of the most sought after in the sport. To date, only one athlete has won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Great Britain’s Scott Brash. Brash became the first and only athlete to win the title in 2015 after taking wins in Aachen, Spruce Meadows, and Geneva.

All eyes will be set on the United States’ Kent Farrington as he won the Rolex Grand Prix of CHIO Aachen in July, making him the live contender and giving him the potential to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping should he add this leg to his tally of wins. Up against the world’s best riders, Farrington will have to lay it all on the line to give himself a shot at becoming the second rider in history to claim the coveted title.

Don’t miss out on the ride of a lifetime as Farrington goes head-to-head with show jumping’s elite, including world No. 1 Steve Guerdat (SUI) and fellow U.S. athletes, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, and Nicole Shahinian-Simpson.

H&C TV broadcasts in Europe, Australia, and in the United States on cable, satellite, and broadband television, including Roku, and online at www.horseandcountrytv.us.

No Stopping Eric Lamaze at Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’

Eric Lamaze riding Chacco Kid. Photo by Starting Gate Communications.

Calgary, Alberta – The all-time money winner at Spruce Meadows, Canada’s Eric Lamaze widened the gap even further by scoring victory riding Chacco Kid in the $133,700 CANA Cup on Thursday, September 5, during the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, AB.

Coming into the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament, running through Sunday, September 8, Lamaze had amassed over $6 million in career winnings at the iconic Canadian show jumping venue.

In the $133,700 CANA Cup, Lamaze was one of 14 riders to qualify for the jump-off after leaving all the rails in place over the tough 1.60m track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela.  The first to return for the jump-off, Lamaze laid it all on the line, jumping clear in a time of 37.80 seconds and setting the challenge for those who followed.  Try as they might, none could catch the 2008 Olympic Champion’s time.  Rowan Willis of Australia came closest, stopping the clock in 40.72 seconds – almost three full seconds slower.

“You rarely win these classes going first in a jump-off,” remarked Lamaze, 51.  “There’s always somebody that will find a way to sneak in on you a little bit or can see where you left a little gap, but Chacco Kid was quite fast today.  The distances were all in front of me and forward so I just kept going, and he kept jumping very carefully, so that was my advantage today.

“In general, you can flat-out run to a fence and feel that he’s got his eye right on it, and he’s taking care of you,” Lamaze said of the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco-Blue x Come On) owned by the Chacco Kid Group.  “It just makes you want to ride faster and faster.  It’s a great feeling.”

Lamaze is confident heading into the weekend at the ‘Masters’ tournament.  On Saturday, he will ride Coco Bongo as a member of the Canadian team in the $530,00 BMO Nations’ Cup.  Having finished second in last year’s event, Lamaze and teammates Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, and Mario Deslauriers of New York, NY will be looking to improve on that result as they take on nine other nations.

On Sunday, Lamaze plans to ride his 2016 Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, in the $3 million CP International, presented by Rolex.  Lamaze has won the event twice before, in 2007 and 2011, both times riding the legendary Hickstead.

“This has been a special venue for me since I was much younger than I am now,” said Lamaze, who is based in Brussels, Belgium and Wellington, FL.  “I’ve had the greatest memories here at Spruce Meadows; I’ve had the chance to win some major competitions here.  One cannot get tired of hearing the noise when you go through the clock tower and into the International Ring.  I think it brings out the best in me, and it brings out the best in everyone, because the last thing you want to do is disappoint all of the people cheering.”

Earlier this year, Lamaze scored back-to-back grand prix victories during the Spruce Meadows ‘Summer Series.’  He won the $500,000 CSI5* RBC Grand Prix of Canada, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 8, riding Chacco Kid before claiming the $390,000 CSI5* Friends of the Meadows Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, riding Fine Lady 5 to close out the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ tournament on Sunday, June 16.

For more information on Eric Lamaze and his Torrey Pines Stable, visit www.ericlamaze.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | cell: 613-292-5439 | www.startinggate.ca

Riders to Watch at This Year’s CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’

Steve Guerdat a CHIO Aachen 2019 (Photo credit: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

This September, international show jumping fans from around the world will turn their attention to the third Major in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the CP ‘International’ presented by Rolex at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. Taking place between 4-8 September 2019, the Rocky Mountains of Calgary once again play host to the world’s leading riders and horses for five days of intense competition and equestrian mastery. The event, which attracts 100,000 spectators to its grounds, has been regarded as one of the leading equestrian events in North America. Rolex has proudly been a supporter of the show since 1989.

The CP ‘International’ will welcome the most established equestrian athletes from around the globe to compete for the sport’s most coveted prize. Looking ahead to the third Major of the year, there are some competitors who have consistently performed to the highest level and look to be strong contenders heading into the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters.’

Rolex Grand Slam live contender and Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington claimed the top prize at CHIO Aachen this summer, beating seven horse-and-rider combinations in the final round aboard the supreme mare, Gazelle. 40,000 spectators filled CHIO Aachen’s main stadium to watch the unstoppable pair as they flew through the jump-off, producing a clear round in 43.98 seconds. Frequently named one of the fastest riders in the world, the US show jumper has proved time and time again that he is more than capable of taking home the top prize at the next Major.

Great Britain’s star show jumper and Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash has also been on form this season. Great Britain was the winning team at the Nations Cup in Dublin, Ireland in August, which saw Brash achieve a foot-perfect double clear with Lady Harris’s and Lady Kirkham’s Hello Jefferson. As the only person to have ever won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the Scottish-born rider has his eyes firmly set on another victory this year in Calgary.

Rolex Testimonee and Swiss legend Steve Guerdat has once again held his position as the World number one-ranked show jumper for the eighth consecutive month. Guerdat, aboard Venard de Cerisy, narrowly missed out on victory in the Grand Prix at the Nations Cup in Dublin, Ireland, finishing in sixth place. Having also finished in the top 10 in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen with Albfuehren’s Bianca, the Swiss rider will be in a good position to secure his first Major title of 2019.

Another rider who has performed consistently this season is Rolex Testimonee Martin Fuchs, who was crowned European Champion in Rotterdam last week aboard Clooney 51. The talented 27-year-old Swiss rider currently sits at number four in the World Rankings and will be vying for his first Rolex Major win.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Eric Lamaze Scores Back-to-Back Grand Prix Victories at Spruce Meadows

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photo by Sportfot.

Calgary, Alberta – Canada’s Eric Lamaze scored back-to-back grand prix victories at the iconic Spruce Meadows show jumping venue in Calgary, AB.  Hot off his win riding Chacco Kid in the $500,000 CSI5* RBC Grand Prix of Canada, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 8, Lamaze repeated his winning ways on Sunday, June 16, by capturing the $390,000 CSI5* Friends of the Meadows Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, riding Fine Lady 5 to close out the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ tournament.

Forty-one of the world’s top show jumping athletes tackled the technical track set by Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt in the Meadows on the Green ring.  Seven riders, including three Olympic gold medalists, delivered clear rounds to set the stage for what would prove to be a thrilling jump-off.

2012 Olympic Champion and current number one rider in the world, Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, was the first to return for the jump-off.  He set the early pace, turning in a clear performance in a time of 38.68 seconds riding Venard de Cerisy.  Speed demon Kent Farrington, a member of the U.S. silver medal team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was up next with Creedance.  His time of 38.73 seconds was close, but not close enough, and would leave him fourth in the final standings.

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5, a 16-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Artisan Farms LLC and his Torrey Pines Stable, sped around the track in a time of 38.65 seconds to move to the top of the leaderboard.  When two-time Olympic team gold medalist Beezie Madden pulled a rail with Darry Lou, all eyes turned to Canada’s Mario Deslauriers and Amsterdam 27.  The 1984 World Cup champion took his best shot, coming home in 38.67 seconds, just two hundredths of a second behind Lamaze and one hundredth of a second in front of Guerdat.  It was all up to the final challenger, Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt.  Riding CHE Fantastica, Weishaupt crossed the timers in 38.78 seconds.  While seemingly close to Lamaze’s winning time of 38.65 seconds, it would only land him fifth in the final standings.

“I have never seen an event where the riders were this close,” remarked Vaillancourt, the only Canadian show jumping athlete other than Lamaze to have won an individual Olympic medal, claiming silver at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

“It was a great jump-off; everybody in there knows how to go fast!” said Lamaze, 51. “Anyone could have won today but my horse seems to jump the lowest in the air; she just skimmed the last fence.  She jumps quite flat and lands carrying the speed.  Some horses are more agile than others at being able to go fast, and it sure makes our lives easier.  My horse deserves a lot of the credit.”

Despite her winning form, Lamaze is already thinking ahead to Fine Lady 5’s future.

“She’s 16 this year, and she’s been an incredible horse for me,” said Lamaze of his Olympic individual bronze medal partner at the 2016 Rio Olympics.  “It’s hard to think retirement when you see her jumping like this, but I want to leave with her winning and feeling great about the sport.  She deserves it.”

Earlier in the week, Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 finished second to Farrington and Creedance in the Scotiabank Cup on Friday night, June 14.  At last week’s CSI5* ‘National’ tournament, the pair topped a 14-horse jump-off to win the PwC Cup on Thursday, June 6.

Following a week of rest, international show jumping competition will resume at Spruce Meadows with the CSI5* ‘Pan American’ and CSI5* ‘North American’ tournaments.  Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 are the defending champions of the $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup, presented by Rolex, which will be held during the ‘North American’ tournament on Saturday, July 6.

Lamaze is the all-time leading money winner at Spruce Meadows with more than $6 million in career earnings.  For more information on Eric Lamaze and his Torrey Pines Stable, visit www.ericlamaze.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | cell: 613-292-5439 | www.startinggate.ca

Emotional Victory for Eric Lamaze at Calgary’s Spruce Meadows

Photo by Sportfot.

Calgary, Alberta – It was an emotional victory for Canada’s Eric Lamaze in the $500,000 RBC Grand Prix of Canada, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 8, at the Spruce Meadows ‘National’ tournament in Calgary, AB.

In his first competition since publicly revealing that he has been battling a brain tumour for the past year and a half, Lamaze scored one of the most meaningful wins of his career.  Riding Chacco Kid, Lamaze topped a seven-horse jump-off in dramatic fashion.  Jumping clear in a time of 46.25 seconds, Lamaze moved into the lead with two riders to follow.  2018 World Cup Champion Beezie Madden of the U.S. had the time, 44.62 seconds, with Coach but a rail down at the final Rolex fence dropped her to fourth in the final standings.  The reigning World Cup Champion and one of Lamaze’s closest friends, Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, was the final challenger and looked on target with Albfuehren’s Bianca, but when the clock stopped in 46.96 seconds, the victory went to Lamaze.

“I didn’t get up this morning thinking this was possible,” said an emotional Lamaze, 51. “It shows what a good horse can do for you.  When you don’t have the fight in you, they fight for you.  It’s one the victories I will cherish forever.”

The all-time leading money winner at Spruce Meadows with more than $6 million in career earnings, Lamaze last won the Grand Prix title at the ‘National’ tournament in 2010 riding Hickstead.

“This is an ongoing battle for me and today is a gift,” said the 2008 Olympic Champion.  “With great support from Steve [Guerdat], my owners and clients, my staff, and people all around the world, you keep fighting and the dream came true.  With the great Hickstead was the last time I won this grand prix; he was looking out for me today.”

Lamaze has been partnered with his winning mount, Chacco Kid, a 13-year-old chestnut Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On), for the past three years.  The horse is owned by The Chacco Kid group consisting of Rick and Sara Mershad, Ludi and Carol Sollak, and Andy and Carlene Ziegler.

“It was his first real grand prix win in the International Ring,” said Lamaze of Chacco Kid.  “I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again – I do believe Spruce Meadows makes horses.  Chacco Kid arrived here three years ago and he’s a better horse because of it.  I can’t say enough about this facility.  Spruce Meadows is a place to bring young students and see them grow, and to bring young horses and see them grow.  If you win a competition here, you can win anywhere in the world.”

Leaving little doubt as to his will to win, Lamaze also claimed victory on Thursday evening riding his 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, owned by Artisan Farms and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable.  The pair topped a 14-horse jump-off to win the $36,100 1.50m PwC Cup, beating out Ireland’s Conor Swail riding GK Coco Chanel and Lamaze’s student, Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, who finished third aboard Viva.

Proud of his students and thankful for his friends and supporters, Lamaze had the biggest praise for his equine partners.

“This is our livelihood but we are very close to these animals and what they do for us,” said Lamaze, who is based in Brussels, Belgium.  “The horses are a big part of why I am here today.  I don’t know what level I will continue riding at as the year goes on but I know horses will always be a part of my life.  I want to keep riding and I will keep fighting every day to do this.  The horse is the greatest therapy you can have.”

For more information on Eric Lamaze and his Torrey Pines Stable, visit www.ericlamaze.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | cell: 613-292-5439 | www.startinggate.ca

A First Major Victory for Sameh El Dahan, Winner of the CP ‘International’

Sameh El Dahan winning the CP ‘International’ (Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk)

After some light mid-morning rain, the Calgary skies cleared and 38 of the world’s most talented horse and rider partnerships accepted Venezuelan course designer Leopoldo Palacios’s challenge to jump his huge 1.70m course in the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex.

Third in the first round’s starting order, Germany’s Andre Thieme and his 10-year-old bay gelding, Aretino 13 produced a faultless display in a time of 88.84 s. However, not one of the next 30 riders to follow were able to produce a clear round, which was testament to the immensity of the contest the field was up against. It was Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan who broke the drought, piloting Suma’s Zorro, his 14-year-old mare, to the second clear round of the competition. Palacios’s course continued to be ruthless, claiming the scalps of some big-name horse and rider pairings, and just five further clear rounds were recorded.

The second round proved too tough for 10 of the 12 combinations that progressed from round one, and in the end, it was just The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten and Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan, who produced double clears, and in doing so set up a nail-biting jump-off. Van der Vleuten was first to go, going clear and setting a quick time of 42.98 s. El Dahan confidently entered the tense International Ring and breezed the course, going clear and triumphing over the Dutchman in a time of 42.21 s, thereby being crowned the new live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

So Sameh, what does winning a Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major mean to you?

I’m delighted and absolutely over the moon. When I looked up at the big screen, because I wasn’t sure of the time, and I saw first place, it was a very difficult feeling to explain. To be a winner of one of the four prestigious Grands Prix, as part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, is something I think every rider in the world dreams of.

Tell us a little bit about Suma’s Zorro.

Suma’s Zorro was bought as a foal by Joanne Sloan Allen and Sycamore Stables. When she was brought to the yard she jumped a five-bar gate when she was just six months old, so they knew they had a jumper on their hands. Joanne did an amazing job building her up until she was about seven years old, and then I also started riding her. Today Joanne does most of the riding, and I only jump her, so she’s done a great job.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Sameh El Dahan Riding Suma’s Zorro Wins CP ‘International’ at Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’

09 September 2018, Spruce Meadows, Canada – The CP ‘International’ presented by Rolex has been won by Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. Second place went to Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) riding Verdi TN and Beezie Madden (USA) riding Coach came in third.

An overcast day with cooler temperatures than the preceding week welcomed over 71,000 fans to the hallowed Spruce Meadows venue for the third equestrian Major of the year. Widely regarded as one of the toughest Grands Prix on the show jumping calendar, course designer Leopoldo Palacios did not disappoint and built it to capacity, to test the world’s best on this famous stage. Towering fences, tough combinations and technically exacting lines were created for the 42nd edition of this Grand Prix.

Prior to the start of the class, Palacios affirmed, “The course is challenging and tough – it’s for the biggest prize in the world. I’ve built two Olympics and [the course for] this class is tougher than the finals there.”

With the CP ‘International’ defending champion, Philipp Weishaupt (GER), the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Marcus Ehning (GER) and Rolex Testimonees Eric Lamaze, Kent Farrington and Steve Guerdat (world number five, eight, and nine, respectively), the competition was set to be an exhilarating one. All eyes would be focused on Ehning to see if he could continue his Rolex Grand Slam journey.

From the very start of this two-round class (and a jump-off if scores permit), the course lived up to expectations. With one clear from the first 20 riders, the crowd was witness to a multitude of falling poles and time faults, as Palacios tested the horse and rider combinations to their very limit.

Last year’s winner, Weishaupt, was unable to repeat his 2017 performance with two rails down, taking him out of contention and halting further progress in the class. Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat (SUI) displayed courage, determination and precision as he expertly guided Hannah over the 17 jumping efforts, confirming his place in the second round. Joining Guerdat was Canada’s much-loved Eric Lamaze aboard the incomparable Fine Lady 5, who once again highlighted why he is a force to be reckoned with in the sport of show jumping.

Former world number one and Rolex Testimonee, Kent Farrington (USA), chose to retire his mount Creedance after an uncharacteristic 12 faults. Similarly, it was not to be for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Ehning, as he retired Cornado NRW. After a dramatic first round there were seven clears, and a total of 12 riders progressing through to the second stage of this enthralling competition.

The morning clouds cleared and sun welcomed the start of the second round. A revised course of 15 jumping efforts was presented to the riders, with an imposing triple on the final line, to be completed within the time allowed of 67 seconds. Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), who picked up four faults in the first round, led the way and set the bar high, with a faultless round.

Maikel van der Vleuten riding Verdi TN produced the first double clear of the day, putting even more pressure on the remaining first round clear riders. Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat was unable to contend with van der Vleuten and left the International Ring with nine faults. Sameh El Dahan also rose to the occasion, ensuring the enthralled crowds would be treated to a jump-off.

Lamaze rode out to a stampede of applause, as the patriotic home crowd willed for another clear. Fans rode every stride and every fence with the famous pairing; however, Fine Lady 5 was unable to leave the last two jumping efforts standing.

Two riders awaited their chance to enter the International Ring for the third and final time to tackle the jump-off. First to go was van der Vleuten, who impressively navigated the imposing arena leaving all the fences standing and crossing the finish line in a time of 42.98 seconds. The closing rider of the day, El Dahan, kept the crowd on the edge of their seats as he cut marginally tighter corners and sped around the course, jumping the last fence and crossing the finish line in a time of 42.21 seconds, beating van der Vleuten in the narrowest of margins and being crowned the new live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Speaking after his win, El Dahan said, “This is one of the biggest achievements of my career. The feeling is indescribable. I need a few days to make sure everything sinks in and believe that it actually happened. Going forward, the four Majors which make up the Rolex Grand Slam will be at the top of my list to compete at.”

The next leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping continues in December at CHI Geneva and the show jumping world will be focused on El Dahan to see if he can continue his journey.

MEDIA CONTACTS

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

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