Tag Archives: Steve Guerdat

Riders to Watch in Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

Photo: Rolex / Kit Houghton.

From 12-15 December 2019, show jumping fans will travel to Switzerland for what is widely regarded as the world’s greatest indoor competition, CHI Geneva. The event, which spans four days, marks the final Major of the year and will welcome the world’s best equestrian combinations. Each rider will compete in front of around 42,000 people at Palexpo, the biggest indoor jumping arena in the world, as they seek to gain show jumping’s highest honors.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

Visitors attending the 2019 edition of CHI Geneva will witness world-class equestrian action at an event that has been voted the world’s best show jumping competition nine times. With several of the world’s most prolific horse-and-rider combinations set to compete, there will be numerous contenders vying to be crowned the next Rolex Grand Slam live contender, further adding to the hype of the highly anticipated event.

One of the favorites to claim this year’s title is legendary Swiss rider and World No. 1, Steve Guerdat. The Rolex Testimonee has built up a great run of form this season after winning the ‘Pan American’ Grand Prix presented by Rolex in Spruce Meadows this summer and finishing second in the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in March. Already a three-time winner of Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Guerdat will be eager to impress once more in front of a vibrant home crowd.

American rider Kent Farrington sits just outside of the world’s top 10 but has already established himself as one of the best riders in the world after magnificently winning the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen with his outstanding mare Gazelle. The Rolex Testimonee has been on fine form this season, making him a prime contender for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva title, which he previously claimed back in 2017.

Never far from success is Germany’s Daniel Deusser, who currently sits at third in the Jumping World Rankings. Given his recent form, including a second-place finish in the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen back in July, Deusser is expected to be one of the top performers at this year’s event in Geneva.

Current World No. 2, Martin Fuchs, is another rider who will be looking to secure the Major win in his native Switzerland. The young rider has already achieved much success in his career, including a silver medal in the Individual Jumping at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™, and is the current European Champion. Fuchs’ recent results have helped the 26-year-old establish himself as one of the world’s very best competitors, so there will be a high level of expectation for him to finish off the year with his first Rolex Grand Prix title.

A field of 40 combinations will battle it out in the hope of seizing the final Major victory of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping at CHI Geneva, which promises to be a weekend of enormous competition starting on December 12th.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Guerdat, Fuchs, Deusser Top Entry Lists as 7 of World’s Top 10 Head to Olympia

Seven of the world’s top ten show jumpers are set to compete at this year’s edition of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, taking place from 16-22 December 2019. The confirmed line-up will ensure a week of world-class competition, providing unmissable sport and entertainment to the 90,000 spectators due to attend.

World No. 1 Steve Guerdat will be returning to London, the scene of his 2012 Olympic individual gold medal, looking to ride out a spectacular season on a high. He will be joined by his Swiss compatriot, Martin Fuchs, the current World No. 2 and reigning individual European Champion.

Germany will also be sending a strong contingent, headed by World No. 3 Daniel Deusser, a recent winner at the CSI5* in Prague, alongside Christian Ahlmann, currently ranked ninth in the world and always a consistent performer at Olympia.  Adding to the German line-up is show jumping legend Marcus Ehning, who will be vying for a victory to round off a successful 2019 season.

From Belgium will be World No. 6 Pieter Devos, who is sure to mount a strong challenge following his recent victory in the FEI Jumping World Cup of Stuttgart. He will be joined by his 2019 European Championship gold medal winning teammate Jos Verlooy, along with Niels Bruynseels and Olivier Philippaerts. Flying the flag for the USA is FEI World Equestrians Games™ team gold medalist, Laura Kraut.

Following William Whitaker’s outstanding victory in last year’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup at Olympia, British hopes will remain high for the 2019 Show, as a strong home contingent are set to take their place in the starting line-up.

Current World No. 4, Ben Maher, will be seeking to crown an exceptional year with success at Olympia, having already secured numerous 5* Grand Prix victories in 2019, as well as an individual silver medal at the FEI European Championships. Hot on his heels will be his London 2012 Olympic gold medal winning teammate Scott Brash, fresh from victory in the FEI Jumping World Cup in Verona in November.

Robert Whitaker, a winner at Olympia in 2018, is another to come to this year’s Show high in confidence following his FEI Jumping World Cup victory in Helsinki. He will be joined by Holly Smith, a member of the 2019 European Championship bronze medal winning team which secured Great Britain their ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Guy Williams will be returning to Olympia looking to retain his Cayenne Puissance title, following a thrilling five-round contest in 2018 saw him finish equal first. Williams, notorious for his speed against the clock, will be sure to have the home crowd on their feet throughout the week, as he takes on old rivals William Funnell and Laura Renwick, both of whom are also renowned for their speed and agility.

Young riders Emily Moffitt, Amy Inglis, Harry Charles, and James Wilson round off the British contingent. All three come off the back of a strong 2019 season, which has included representing Great Britain at senior level in FEI Nations Cups throughout the season.

The complete list of Show Jumpers set to compete at the Show can be found here.

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “We’ve received an outstanding list of entries for Olympia, and are very much looking forward to welcoming the world’s best to the Show for what is set to be another fantastic competition. It’s rare for British fans to have the opportunity to witness so many quality athletes under one roof and we’re really excited to see how the action unfolds.”

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Guerdat Heads Sparkling Line-Up for Western European League Opener in Oslo

Steve Guerdat. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

14 qualifiers in 11 countries en route to Las Vegas Final

Testament to the perennial attraction of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ series, World No. 1, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, has signed up for the opening leg of the new Western European League qualifying season which kicks off in Oslo, Norway this weekend. The man who has topped the Longines world rankings since the beginning of 2019 has an extraordinary record in the series, and this season he has history in his sights. He is a three-time winner, and if he can add a fourth victory, he will be the first rider ever to do so since FEI World Cup™ Jumping began back in 1978.

As defending champion, he is automatically qualified for the 2020 Final which returns to Las Vegas, USA next April, and this is a place that holds great memories for him. Because it was here, at the Thomas & Mack Centre, that he secured his first title in 2015. Guerdat thrives on the tension and excitement created by the close confines of indoor jumping in which speed, accuracy and a mutual understanding between horse and rider are tested to the limit.

Spectators are in for a real treat, as the London 2012 individual Olympic champion has already committed himself to lining out at all of the early-season qualifiers.

Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr. and the Philippaerts brothers Olivier and Thibault are also travelling north for the Oslo opener at which the host nation’s Gulliksen family of father Geir and son and daughter Johan-Sebastian and Victoria will be flying the Norwegian flag. Heading up a strong Swedish selection will be 2017 European champion Peder Fredricson, along with Henrik von Eckermann who stood on the third step of the podium at the Finals in both Omaha (USA) in 2017 and Paris (FRA) in 2018.

French star, Kevin Staut, is always a consistent campaigner in this series and will be joined by compatriot Olivier Robert. Fresh from the brilliant performance that saw them clinch the Challenge Cup for the hosts from Spain at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona earlier this month, Sergio Alvarez Moya and the exciting Jet Run will also be in action.

A total of 40 horse-and-rider combinations from 18 countries will compete at this first of the 14 legs that will be staged in 11 countries, as riders battle for one of the 18 qualifying spots on offer. It’s a hectic calendar of events, with Helsinki (FIN) hosting the next round a week later and Lyon (FRA), Verona (ITA), and Stuttgart (GER) following in November. Spain then hosts two legs, in Madrid and La Coruna, in early December before the action moves on to London Olympia (GBR) just before Christmas and then to Mechelen (BEL) immediately afterwards.

As the new year begins there will be still five more legs to go, beginning with Basel (SUI), Leipzig (GER), and Amsterdam (NED) in January and then on to Bordeaux (FRA) and finally Gothenburg (SWE) in February. Just over a month later horses will fly out to the USA for the Final which is always guaranteed to be a thriller.

While Guerdat may be the headliner this weekend, his compatriot Martin Fuchs is bound to be a show-stealer when he rocks up the following week. The 27-year-old chased Guerdat all the way to the line when finishing second at the 2019 Final in Gothenburg, and having followed his individual silver medal success at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ with individual gold at this summer’s FEI European Championships, this is a young man on fire.

He has committed himself to competing at Helsinki, Lyon, Verona, and Stuttgart, so he also clearly has his sights set on adding his name to the list of legends who have won the indoor trophy they all want to claim – the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup.

Masterlist for Leg 1, Oslo here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Guerdat Shows Nerves of Steel to Seal His Third Title

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (centre) celebrates in style with his compatriot and runner-up Martin Fuchs (left) and third-placed Peder Fredricson from Sweden (right). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (36) showed exactly why he is the No. 1 rider in the world right now when holding his nerve under the most intense pressure to take the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019 title at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE). This was his third time to lift the trophy in the long history of the prestigious series, and his glorious win sees him join an elite group of three-time champions.

He had thrown down the gauntlet when topping Thursday’s opening competition, but a fence down on Friday saw him come into the two-round finale in third place, and two points off Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (35) at the head of the leaderboard. Guerdat wondered if his 11-year-old gelding Alamo was ready to step up to the level of sport they faced. The horse had never jumped courses as big as this before. Course designer, Spain’s Santiago Varela, set them an enormous test, but Alamo didn’t crumble.

“I was a bit unsure going to the final today as this is his first championship and I was a little nervous on Friday after the speed class, but in the end he has been amazing all week!” said the man whose won his first title in Las Vegas (USA) in 2015 and his second in Gothenburg a year later.

There were only five first-round clears, and Guerdat moved into pole position when Alvarez Aznar dropped out of contention with two fences down, and second-placed Swede, Peder Fredricson (47), faulted once with Catch Me Not at the bogey water-try vertical at fence 10 on the tough 13-fence track to the dismay of the crowd. But the home hero and reigning European champion was still very much in the hunt, in third carrying five penalty points as round two began with Guerdat at the head of affairs carrying two, but only a single point ahead of fellow-countryman Martin Fuchs (26) and Clooney who had three on the board.

You could hear a pin drop when Fredricson returned to take on the simply colossal second-round track, but there was an explosion of sound when he brought his grey gelding home with nothing to add. The Swiss pair now had no breathing space: any mistake would ensure a Swedish victory, but Fuchs didn’t falter, Clooney showing all the class that secured individual silver for his talented young rider at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon (USA) last September.

Now Guerdat had no room for manoeuvre – nothing but a foot-perfect run would do. Alamo showed a little inexperience on the way but there’s nothing quite like a horse that gives you everything it’s got, and the Dutch-bred did just that to bring it home.

“It’s up to the horse to jump the fences, so I really tried to focus on my riding and give the him his best chance, and he responded really well,” Guerdat said. He’s growing ever-fonder of Alamo, although he admitted that the horse he holds closest to his heart will always be his great partner Nino des Buissonnets who carried him to Olympic glory in London seven years ago.

It was a bit of a frustrating result for Fuchs because he has now finished second in two major events, last year’s World Championship and the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final. “But if I have to be beaten it is great if Steve wins; he is my friend and training partner. Clooney was amazing; he jumped both rounds easy; he is one of the best horses in the world. Two times second place is already a great achievement, and I am already looking forward to the European Championships this summer!” he said. That top step of the podium will surely come their way very soon.

But it was Guerdat who reigned supreme, and he now joins an elite group of three-time World Cup winners that includes Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning, Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, and Austria’s Hugo Simon, the man who won the very first title in Gothenburg in 1979.

“When I was young, I used to dream of winning the World Cup, and when I finished second twice I wondered if it would ever happen. So when I won in 2015 it was very special, and to win here in Gothenburg the next year was even better, because this is such a great show; the crowd is like nowhere else and the atmosphere is unbelievable. To win three times, and to do it in Gothenburg again today – this makes me very proud!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Guerdat Seizes Early Advantage with Alamo

Steve Guerdat with Alamo. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Former double-champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (36), scorched into the lead as the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019 Final kicked off at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE). Before he cantered into the ring, third-last to go with Alamo, the leaderboard looked like a Belgian whitewash with Pieter Devos (33), Olivier Philippaerts (25), and Francois Mathy Jr (48) holding the top three places after brilliant runs over the 13-fence course set by ace Spanish course designer Santiago Varela.

Defending champions, America’s Beezie Madden (55) and her 13-year-old stallion Breitling LS, had just dropped the very last fence, so with three seconds added to their super-fast time of 60.74 seconds would have to settle for tenth spot at the end of the day. But Guerdat cut a completely clean path to break the timers in 61.28 seconds for the win, squeezing Devos and his gelding, Apart, out of pole position by just three-hundredths of a seconds.

It was the perfect beginning to the seasonal finale that brings together riders from all around the globe, some making a very career-defining debut at the top end of the sport after qualifying from their regional series. So Varela’s challenge was to build a track that not only tested Guerdat, confirmed this week as World No. 1 rider for the fourth month in a row, but also suitable for others much further down the order including Chile’s Rodrigo Carrasco, who is ranked 1,465 but who returned with his brave grey, Acapulco FZ, with just six seconds to add to their tally.

The action began with a dramatic dismount for Guerdat’s good friend and team-mate Beat Mandli who tried a very difficult turn inside the first fence on the approach to the planks at fence 11. His 11-year-old mare Dsarie just couldn’t make it and stopped, unshipping her rider. Guerdat admitted that he had been tempted to take that turn too, but after Mandli’s elimination decided against it. “It was really bad luck for Beät. I felt sorry for him and it killed a bit of the options. And I didn’t need to do it,” he pointed out.

His decision to bring the less-experienced Alamo to these Finals instead of his top ride, Albfuehrens Bianca, wasn’t an easy one to make.

“Bianca is my number one choice for the (Olympic) Games next year, so I thought maybe on the way to there she doesn’t need to do all the Championships. I thought if I have a slightly small chance with Alamo, I will take it!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

Alamo proved he is made of the right stuff, presenting his rider with a lot more than a small chance.

“I’m very happy; he jumped well. I had a fast round without taking too much out of the horse. I know that this horse does not go as fast as my other horses, but I know he is quite quick, so I just tried to stay focussed on my plan and what I wanted to do. I didn’t think too much about the others were doing,” he said.

The London 2012 individual Olympic champion has won the coveted Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title twice before, first under the bright lights of Las Vegas (USA) in 2015 and then again the following year in Gothenburg. His recollection is that he was lying “fourth or fifth” after the first competition on those occasions, but he modestly insisted that holding the top spot going into the second competition may prove irrelevant.

“We can expect a lot of places to move around; it always changes a lot on the second day,” he pointed out. “I think a mistake is much more important tomorrow than today. Everything looks good today, but everything can look much different tomorrow!” said the man who is hoping to make his 13th Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final another winning one.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Swiss Olympic Champion Guerdat Back to World Number One in Longines Rankings

Lausanne (SUI), 2 January 2019 – Steve Guerdat, the Swiss star who took individual Jumping gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has reclaimed the world number one slot in the Longines Rankings.

The 36-year-old, who was previously 140 points off the lead in second place behind Harrie Smolders, has now jumped ahead of the Dutch athlete with a 55-point advantage in the rankings published today by the FEI.

The four-time Olympian last topped the world rankings in November 2012 and his return to the number one slot, on 3,050 points, follows a series of impressive results last month, most notably an emotional victory in the IJRC Top 10 Final on home turf at Geneva.

Individual bronze medallist at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 last September, Guerdat also leads the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League standings and will be aiming for a third victory in the seasonal Final at Gothenburg (SWE) in April after back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016.

Germany’s Marcus Ehning, fourth in the rankings published at the beginning of December, has now switched places with McLain Ward (USA) to sit third on 2,936 points, 59 adrift of Smolders and just 16 clear of Ward. European champion Peder Fredricson (SWE) remains fifth on 2,815.

Daniel Deusser (GER), Ben Maher (GBR), Henrick von Eckermann (SWE), Beezie Madden (USA) and Guerdat’s compatriot Martin Fuchs (SUI) complete the top 10.

View the complete Longines Rankings here.

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Steve Guerdat Riding Alamo Wins Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva

07 December 2018, Geneva, Switzerland – The top 10 riders from around the globe competed in one of the most exciting classes of the year, the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, at the iconic CHI Geneva. A class where only the world’s top 10 ranked riders are invited to compete to be named the best among them. The elite roster of riders that gathered to take on this imposing course included Rolex’s equestrian Testimonees, Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs.

World-renowned course designer, Gérard Lachat, formulated an imposing and technically challenging course staged over two rounds, ensuring a thrilling competition for the enthralled crowd. First to enter the infamous Palexpo arena was Great Britain’s Ben Maher riding Explosion W, leaving the equestrian fans gasping as he hit the first fence in the Rolex combination and left the arena on 19 faults.

The first clear of the night came from Niels Bruynseels riding Gancia de Muze, exhibiting precision and determination as he glided around the course, finishing in 63.03 seconds, therefore setting the bar high for the forthcoming riders.

As the curtains to the arena entrance opened to unveil one of the home favourites and Rolex’s newest Testimonee Martin Fuchs, the crowd rose to their feet to witness his immaculate clear round riding in his first Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. World no.1, Harrie Smolders, came next, producing an effortless round and going clear in the second quickest time, finishing just behind Bruynseels on the leaderboard. The arena was then treated to a second Swiss rider, as Rolex Testimonee and 2010 winner Steve Guerdat contended. Guerdat has been on top form this year and the mesmerized crowd produced a deafening applause as he cleared this demanding course in a time of 63.78 seconds.

Daniel Deusser, McLain Ward, and Henrik von Eckermann also went clear, ending the first round in the competition with a total of seven clears and ensuring an exciting climax in the second round of the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final.

The second round welcomed the first four riders, Peder Fredricson, Marcus Ehning, Daniel Deusser, and Steve Guerdat. Deusser put pressure on his competitors by producing a fast-paced faultless round in a time of 41.53 seconds, moving him to the top of the leaderboard. However, next to come was Steve Guerdat, electrifying the arena with his bold and precision riding, executing a perfect clear round and beating Deusser’s time by 1.78 seconds.

Fellow Swiss rider and Rolex Testimonee, Martin Fuchs, produced a beautiful clear but despite his best efforts was unable to beat Guerdat’s time. Clear rounds were also executed by Henrik von Eckermann and McLain, but neither rider could top the leaderboard. Hoping to emulate his earlier round, Harrie Smolders made a valiant attempt, but it was not to be as he exited the arena on four faults. Winner of The Dutch Masters in March this year, and last to go, was Niels Bruynseels; known as one of the fastest riders on the circuit, Bruynseels attempted to out-pace Guerdat but paid the price by bringing a fence down.

The patriotic crowd was enraptured as Guerdat riding his brilliant gelding Alamo remained unbeaten and was crowned victor of the 2018 Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. Henrik von Eckermann and McLain Ward secured second and third place.

A thrilled Guerdat commented on his victory. “I planned Alamo for the Final; he’s a nervous horse but I had a good feeling on him in the warm-up and in the first round, so I decided to go for it in the jump-off. Alamo responded beautifully to what I was asking him to do. I am very proud of him.”

Guerdat continues the successes of fellow Rolex Testimonees, Scott Brash, Kent Farrington, Eric Lamaze, and Kevin Staut, with Testimonees securing the title for five consecutive years.

The passionate fans of the equestrian world will now be eagerly awaiting the Rolex Grand Prix, taking place on Sunday. This is the last Major in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, and one of the most anticipated classes of the year.

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

Inside the CHI Geneva: The Elite Contenders for the Rolex Grand Prix

Steve Guerdat riding Alamo (Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

From 6-9 December 2018, more than 40,000 spectators are set to flock to the Swiss city for the 58th edition of the CHI Geneva, the final Major of the year. Taking place in the Palexpo, which at 5,200 m2 is the largest indoor arena in world, visitors can expect to be thoroughly entertained at an event that has won the Best Equestrian Sports Show Worldwide award no less than nine times.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

With several prolific horse and rider combinations set to compete in the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, there are a whole host of contenders who will undoubtedly be among the discussion as to who will be crowned champion in this historic Rolex Major.

A hot favourite to claim the title this year is the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Sameh El Dahan. The Egyptian rider clinched victory at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Calgary riding Suma’s Zorro, and will be tipped by many to continue his fine form in Switzerland. With a potential €500,000 bonus for winning two Majors successfully, Sameh will be doing his utmost to repeat his performance in Canada.

Never far from success is Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat, who currently sits at second in the World Official Jumping Rankings. Being a Swiss rider competing in Geneva, Guerdat is likely to be well supported, and when combined with his unquestioned ability, it would be a surprise if he is not one of the top performers in the competition, especially given that he has already won the Rolex Grand Prix on three occasions.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Super Swiss Head the Leaderboard Going into Day 2 of Bank of America Jumping Championship

Steve Guerdat and Bianca. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

A brilliant round from Steve Guerdat (36) and the fiery mare Bianca put the 2012 Olympic champion and Team Switzerland into pole position as the Bank of America Jumping Championship got underway at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA. A colourful, testing but honest 14-fence track built by Irishman Alan Wade created spectacular sport for spectators and the 124 horse-and-rider combinations from 49 nations.

The defending world champions from The Netherlands jumped into second ahead of Brazil in third and USA in fourth. But the biggest story of the day was the stunning performance of the Australians who slotted into fifth and whose final rider, Rowan Willis (38), is lying individually third behind Brazil’s Pedro Veniss (35) in silver medal position and Guerdat at the top of the leaderboard.

France, Sweden, Germany, Colombia, and Ireland fill the remaining top-10 team places in the field of 25 nations.

Guerdat was second-last to go and raced into the lead in the individual rankings when clear in 76.33.

“It was a long day waiting; we walked the course before 9am and it was nine hours later when I got on my horse, but I was kind of confident because the course walked well. The fastest horses were not leading so I thought if I stick to my plan, I had a good chance to be in the top three today, so I actually really enjoyed my round and I can’t ask for much more!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

Veniss and his fabulous stallion Quabri de l’Isle were poetry in motion, their tight turn to the third-last fence ensuring they were really competitive against the clock as they cruised through the finish in 76.68 seconds. And Willis and his chestnut mare Blue Movie were only 0.27 seconds slower through the timers.

“She just tries so hard for me. I don’t worry about trying to go fast because she’s naturally fast, so I just have to keep my rhythm and make sure I don’t make a mistake. It was a nice day. All four of us have just got off to a brilliant start and that’s really encouraging.”

“Obviously it’s not easy for our team because half of us are based in Australia so it’s a long way to go to any shows, but those boys (Jamie Kermond and Billy Raymont) have had a good summer in Europe and Scott (Keach) and I have had a good summer over here (in North America) and it’s just brilliant that we all had a good day today. This is something I’ve dreamed of. It’s the first time I’ve represented Australia since I was about 18 at an invitational in Hong Kong!” — Rowan Willis (AUS)

The British-based rider who hails from Armidale in New South Wales made a big impression when finishing 11th in the Grand Prix at the Masters in Spruce Meadows (CAN) earlier this month.

Swiss supremacy was underpinned by great rounds from Martin Fuchs (26), who lies individually fifth behind Germany’s Marcus Ehning, and Janika Sprunger (31) who is in 16th place with Bacardi VDL. “The course suited Clooney really well. I knew I could do it and I’m glad it worked out so well. Werner (Muff) had two down so the pressure is on Steve now, but we all know that he handles pressure better than anyone else!” Fuchs said before Guerdat proved that this is absolutely true.

Sprunger was Swiss pathfinder. “I had to concentrate to open this well for my team and give confidence to myself and the rest of the others, and I know that Bacardi and I are not the fastest combination, so we just try to go as quickly as possible. Maybe a half-second or one second faster was possible but I’m very happy with the end result. I said I wanted to be on 80 seconds and we almost did it!” she said after stopping the clock on 80.26 seconds.

With only a fence separating the top three countries and less than two separating the top 10, it’s all to play for again when the action resumes with Team Belgium first into the ring ahead of Ireland, Japan, Portugal, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Germany, USA, and Mexico. Egypt will be next to go and then Venezuela, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Hungary, Australia, Brazil, and Great Britain will take their turn. Team Colombia has been drawn ahead of the Swiss and they will be followed by Argentina, Spain, and Italy so the last team into the arena will be Israel.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Inside CHIO Aachen: A Sneak Peak

Niels Bruynseels at Knokke Hippique (Photo: Knokke Hippique)

The second Major of the year, the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, takes place on 22nd July and is expected to attract over 40,000 spectators to witness the prestigious competition. The course, set by Frank Rothenberger, is considered to be one of the most challenging and demanding 5* tracks. The sport’s finest horse and rider partnerships are tested to their limits, displaying enviable skill and talent, striving to make history and to be crowned the Rolex Grand Prix champion.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

With the world’s best horse and rider combinations set to take center stage for Rolex Grand Prix, there are some notable contenders whose recent performance would state they are on track for a Rolex Major win:

Niels Bruynseels, the current Rolex live contender, has continued his great form since producing a lightning jump-off round at The Dutch Masters aboard his 12-year-old mare Gancia de Muze in March. The notoriously fast duo took the top prize in the Rolex Grand Prix at Knokke Hippique following a speedy and faultless jump-off. With the next stage of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping very much in his sites, Bruynseels will be pulling out all the stops to make sure his Rolex Grand Slam journey continues.

One of the most experienced riders on the circuit, Swiss hero Steve Guerdat, has had a successful summer so far. His most notable victory was in front of HM The Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May. Seeing off top-class competitors, Guerdat rode an impeccable round to snap up the Rolex Grand Prix victory. Guerdat is no stranger when it comes to winning Majors; crowned champion at CHI Geneva on more than one occasion, Guerdat stays calm under pressure and will certainly be a formidable contender for the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen.

Fellow Rolex Testimonee, Eric Lamaze, has prepared well for the CHIO Aachen. At the Rolex Grand Prix in Windsor, he shaved time off Guerdat’s winning result, but a light touch on the pole resulted in four penalties. Fresh from his victory in the ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows with his 15-year-old mare, Fine Lady, Eric Lamaze will be hoping to continue his recent form as he eyes up the coveted Rolex Grand Prix trophy.

Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca is also looking strong, having won the Rolex Grand Prix in Rome (Piazza di Siena). De Luca and his chestnut gelding, Halifax Van Het Kluizebos, jumped two immaculate clear rounds, stopping the clock at 45.37 secs, making him one to watch.

Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum has tasted victory at CHIO Aachen once before, having won the Rolex Grand Prix in 2005 on her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Shutterfly. Michaels-Beerbaum will have the patriotic home-crowd support, willing her to repeat her 2005 success thirteen years on.

Rolex Testimonee, Scott Brash, the first and only rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, brings a wealth of experience and always performs well under pressure.

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