Tag Archives: Steve Guerdat

CHIO Aachen 2021 Rolex Grand Slam ‘Rider Watch’

Steve Guerdat at the CHIO Aachen 2019 (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

After immense anticipation, CHIO Aachen returns on 14-19 September following a one-year hiatus, as a result of COVID-19. An exceptional list of 66 riders from 17 nations, which includes 19 of the world’s current top 30-ranked athletes, are confirmed to travel to the North Rhine-Westphalia city in the west of Germany, bringing a total of 210 extraordinarily talented horses. Unsurprisingly, home nation Germany will be represented by no fewer than 18 athletes, with current world number one, Daniel Deusser, the stand-out and in-form rider.

As well as hosting feature classes on each of the five days of world-class equestrian action, including the Mercedes-Benz Nations´ Cup team jumping competition, the globally renowned show, which dates back to 1924, is set to conclude with the inimitable 1m60 Rolex Grand Prix, the third Major of the year, as part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Newly-crowned Live Contender, Steve Guerdat – following his stunning victory in Sunday CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ – will now continue his epic Rolex Grand Slam journey at CHIO Aachen where he will defend his Live Contender status.

Current world number one-ranked rider, Germany’s Daniel “Double D” Deusser travels to CHIO Aachen with a stable of four horses, including his 11-year-old mare, Killer Queen Vdm, with whom he finished second in the Rolex Grand Prix at last month’s Brussels Stephex Masters.

After flying the flag for Switzerland at last week’s CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, current world number three, Martin Fuchs, is accompanied by five of his star horses, including his two geldings, nine-year-old Leone Jei and 13-year-old The Sinner, and his seven-year-old mare, Diva Van Het Cauterhof Z, who will feature in the classes for Young Horses.

Also present in Calgary is Great Britain’s Scott Brash, who in 2015 became the first and only rider to be crowned the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Champion. Current world number four, Brash will be hoping to start his Rolex Grand Slam journey at the CHIO Aachen, and brings three of his horses, Hello Jefferson, Hello Shelby, and Hello Vittoria, the former who the Scot partnered to an impressive Grand Prix victory with at Valkenswaard in July.

Much to the delight of show jumping fans worldwide, Brash’s British teammate – the recently crowned Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Individual Jumping champion and current world number six – Ben Maher teams up with his formidable 12-year-old gelding, Explosion W. The duo looks to be the ones to beat, and are sure to have their sights set on victory in the Rolex Grand Prix on the final day of the competition. Maher also travels with his highly regarded seven-year-old, Point Break.

Currently sitting 10th in the world rankings, recent European Team Jumping champion and the only rider to compete at each of the Majors since the inception of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in 2013, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat puts his faith once again in Albfuehren’s Maddox. His 10-year-old stallion travels to CHIO Aachen alongside his gifted 12-year-old gelding, Victorio des Frotards.

Joint world number 27-ranked riders, America’s Laura Kraut and compatriot Jessica Springsteen both travel to westernmost Germany full of confidence after the pair played an integral role in securing the United States’ Team Jumping silver medal at last month’s Olympic Games. Kraut travels to CHIO Aachen with her Olympic partner, 11-year-old gelding Baloutinue, and her experienced 14-year-old gelding, Confu. Meanwhile, Springsteen travels with 12-year-old stallion, Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve, with whom she partnered at Tokyo 2020, and her stand-out 14-year-old mare, Rmf Zecilie, with whom she won the Rolex Grand Prix at the Brussels Stephex Masters just over a fortnight ago.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Steve Guerdat and Venard de Cerisy Win the CP ‘International’

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

2021’s edition of the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ culminated with the week’s pinnacle class, the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex. The second Major of the year, as part of the revered Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, welcomed 28 horse and rider combinations, who would go head-to-head in their individual quests to become the Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender. Austrian Max Kühner had his sights set on retaining his Live Contender status after winning the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in April.

The ultimate show jumping test for horse and rider, the Leopoldo Palacios-designed course would be contested over 14 demanding obstacles within the confines of Spruce Meadows’ imposing International Ring. With the competition watched on by 2,000 excited and knowledgeable spectators – the maximum allowed under COVID-19 restrictions – and with just 12 pairings progressing to Round 2, the stakes were high, with the riders all too aware that there was very little margin for error.

Australian Rowan Willis, a familiar face at Spruce Meadows, set the early Round 1 pace with his 15-year-old mare, Blue Movie, jumping fault-free in 80.99s. Home favourite Mario Deslauriers confidently progressed to Round 2 with his 12-year-old mare, Bardolina 2, crossing the line in 83.00s without a penalty. Swiss Steve Guerdat and Australian Hilary Scott were the only other riders to navigate the Round 1 course without picking up any penalties. The eight riders also advancing to Round 2 included Egypt’s Nayel Nassar, Canadian Erynn Ballard, Kent Farrington, McLain Ward, Will Simpson, and Natalie Dean from America, Mexico’s Carlos Hank Guerreiro, and Briton Scott Brash.

In a change of fortunes, American duo, Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, faultlessly steered their equestrian partners around the second round course, after each put a fence down in the first. Hot on the American pair’s heels was reigning Rolex Grand Slam champion, Scott Brash, who added just four penalty points to his first round score. However, it was former world number one Steve Guerdat who was to assume top spot after he effortlessly guided his prodigious 12-year-old gelding, Venard de Cerisy, around the 14-fence course. Following Guerdat’s performance, the final two riders to go were Deslauriers and Willis; however, neither were able to match their first round scores, meaning the three-time World Cup winner (2015, 2016, 2019) and 2012 Olympic Individual jumping champion won the CP ‘International’, and in doing so was crowned the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Live Contender.

The only rider to compete at each of the Majors since the inception of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Guerdat commented: “I’ve been dreaming of winning these classes since I’ve been a little kid. Since I can remember, Calgary and Aachen have always been the shows that I want to win. I’ve been lucky enough to win Geneva a couple of times, but Aachen and Calgary have been missing. I’m not going to quit until I win them – I have one of them now, and I’m going to aim for the other one very soon. This is what drives us riders, I guess.

“Venard is a very strong, brave, and powerful horse. He has a lot of blood and energy in his jump. He doesn’t have the best of techniques, but because of his power and will to do good all the time, we’ve had the chance to understand each other over the years. He’s a very sensitive horse – he’s very difficult to get on and off, you can’t move him, and he’s a little bit shy with everything. But once he sees a jump, he just wants to jump it.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Who to Look Out For at the CSIO Spruce Meadows Masters 2021

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

The CSIO 5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ returns from 8-12 September 2021, and will play host to the second Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major of the year: the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, which will be staged in the impressive International Arena on the final day of the competition.

After winning the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in April – and in doing so becoming the live contender – Austrian Max Kühner has confirmed his attendance, alongside a stellar list of competitors, including five out of the current top 20-ranked riders in the world, and five Rolex Testimonees. As ever, the five-day competition promises to be a truly international affair, with 15 nations represented, with the hosts welcoming no fewer than 42 of its very own home-grown athletes.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch

Current world number three Martin Fuchs travels to Calgary brimming with confidence, following Switzerland’s win in the team jumping competition at the European Championships, which he and his gelding, Leone Jei, played a crucial role in. The 29-year-old will be accompanied at Spruce Meadows by his talented 10-year-old gelding, Conner Jei, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at the Jumping International de Dinard.

British rider Scott Brash returns to Spruce Meadows, where he was crowned the first ever Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion in 2015 with his legendary gelding, Hello Sanctos. The current world number four brings Hello Vincent to Calgary, with whom he finished a very credible fourth in the Rolex Grand Prix at Knokke Hippique in June.

Fuchs’ compatriot and the current world number 10-ranked rider, Steve Guerdat, has also added the Team European champion accolade to his impressive list of titles. The three-time World Cup champion (2015, 2016, 2019) will compete at Spruce Meadows with his dependable 12-year-old gelding, Venard De Cerisy, who he took to this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where the duo finished fifth in the Team competition.

Rio 2016 Olympic Team silver medallist Kent Farrington leads the charge of athletes from the United States, and in a clear demonstration of intent, brings seven horses with him to Spruce Meadows. Of note, the current world number 13 will compete with his 15-year-old mare, Gazelle, 14-year-old gelding, Creedance, and nine-year-old hot prospect, Orafina.

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Takes Centre Stage for 2nd Leg of Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday 7 September 2021 – The prestigious showgrounds of Spruce Meadows in Canada will once again welcome the world’s top horse and rider combinations for the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex. The esteemed 5* competition, which forms part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, will take place on Sunday 12 September 2021, providing a spectacular finale to the five-day CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament.

Staged in the foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, the event is widely regarded as the leading equestrian event in North America. Rolex’s affiliation with Spruce Meadows dates back to 1989 and is part of its long-standing support for the sport. For more than six decades, the brand has forged close relationships with elite international events and athletes who share its commitment to perpetual excellence.

Launched in 2013, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the most coveted prize in equestrianism, rewarding the rider who wins the Grand Prix at three of the four Majors in succession. To date, Scotland’s Scott Brash is the only competitor to achieve the feat, having done so in 2014-2015 with Hello Sanctos.

To aspire to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping requires a unique harmony between horse and rider, a special bond crafted over years with infinite patience, care, and expertise. Once trust and communication have been established, a pairing can push the boundaries and confront all obstacles placed before them. The bar is almost impossibly high, which is why only the finest riders keep rising to it.

The CP ‘International’ is the Grand Slam’s second Grand Prix of 2021. Max Kühner will head to the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament as the Rolex Grand Slam live contender following his victory at The Dutch Masters in April.

As the winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in 2019, World No. 3 and recent European Championship team gold and individual silver medallist Martin Fuchs travels to Canada with the opportunity to claim a bonus for winning two of the past four Rolex Grand Slam events. He will be joined by compatriot Steve Guerdat, who will be looking to add this title to his long list of honours, which includes individual gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Rolex Grand Prix victories at CHI Geneva and CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Scott Brash, the current World No. 4, is a two-time Grand Prix winner at this venue, including in 2015 when he completed the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. He will return full of confidence following excellent recent results, including a victory in the Netherlands on the eve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where he finished equal seventh in the individual jumping competition.

Canada’s Eric Lamaze will also be seeking his third Grand Prix title, at an event where he has enjoyed so much success, and Kent Farrington will join in taking on the testing course designed by Leopoldo Palacios. Farrington heads to the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in top form following a successful week at the CSI Spruce Meadows ‘National’, culminating in victory in the RBC Grand Prix of Canada with his exceptional 15-year-old mare, Gazelle.

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

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

Steve Guerdat… a Five-Star Dad!

© HUBSIDE JUMPING / Filippo Gabutti.

End of the HUBSIDE SPRING TOUR de Grimaud-Gulf of Saint-Tropez which brought the world’s best riders together for two weeks on the French Riviera. This week, Sadri Fegaier’s Haras des Grillons played host to the first CSI 5* outdoor show in Europe (and the only one in the world). The world hierarchy was respected since the best rider on the planet was the winner of the Grand Prix: Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat added an umpteenth victory to his exceptional list of wins, five weeks after his greatest achievement: the birth of his daughter.

“It’s my first win since I became a dad, so it obviously means a lot to me. I imagine that my daughter had absolutely no idea what happened (smiles), but it pleases me to think that I won this 5* Grand Prix for her on the day that she is five weeks old. We realised that Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, who was the first to go in the jump-off, had ridden a lot faster than we imagined when we watched his round on the screen. I don’t think my jump-off course walk was the greatest as there were strides to take out all over the place: this is why we were caught off guard by the jump-off and Eduardo’s time. I tried to take out strides, but I didn’t succeed (smiles), so I stepped on the gas going into the double. So my jump-off may not have seemed very smooth. At any rate, I’m really pleased; my horse jumped superbly. I wasn’t sure that it would be enough for the jump-off, but it worked out well in the end. We may have benefited from Julien Epaillard’s four faults. None of my horses competed a lot last year. This one took part in two or three shows in 2020; he started competing again in Spain this year, in small classes and a 3* Grand Prix, then everything came to a standstill again in terms of European show jumping. So it’s obviously his first show since competition resumed; he has a great mindset and he’s in really good shape. He was a bit fresh on the first day and I was concerned that wouldn’t be enough for today, but he gave it his all and he was in exceptional form.”

Full results here.

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.com

The Hubside Jumping Grand Prix 2* for Steve Guerdat

© Marco Villanti for HUBSIDE JUMPING.

The world number 1, the Swiss Steve Guerdat, wins the CSI 2* Grand Prix of the HUBSIDE JUMPING in Grimaud, in the saddle on Ulysses des Forêts. He is ahead of the Belgian Jérôme Guery, associated with Eldorado Wp Z, and the French Roger-Yves Bost, on Cassius Clay Vdv Z.

“Ulysses des Forêts is a mare that does not lack experience; she was there for that; it was what was planned for her. I preferred to put her in the Grand Prix of 2* rather than in intermediate events of the CSI 5*. She was great; she is a very competitive mare in these events and I always try to take her with me when I have room. She will come back here a few times in Grimaud, that’s for sure! Like I said, it’s good to have young horses on one side but also other more competitive ones to try to win a few events (laughs). It’s the last day of the competition and it’s about my first victory this week at HUBSIDE JUMPING. It’s always nice, especially since my horses jumped well this week but I haven’t always ridden well, so it’s better to finish like this.”

Full results here.

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.com

The World No. 1 for the First 5-Star Grand Prix at Hubside Jumping

© Marco Villanti pour HUBSIDE JUMPING.

This event was eagerly awaited! The HUBSIDE JUMPING de Grimaud played host to the crème de la crème of international horses and riders for the first CSI 5* in the world since they started competing again. Judge for yourself: two thirds of the World Top 30 were present at the show organised on the initiative of Sadri Fegaier. The world hierarchy was respected on the track of the French course designer Cédric Longis, who was officiating for the first time at CSI 5*-level: Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, the World number one, triumphed with Victorio des Frotards.  Three cheers for him! He finished ahead of the young French rider Edward Levy, and Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, the current World no. 6.

“The first round went really well. Victorio had already won the three 5-star Grands Prix in which he competed this year. I knew he could do it but despite this, there were a lot of unknowns in this Grand Prix, as I didn’t jump a lot with my horses during the lockdown. He jumped really well here during the first week of the HUBSIDE JUMPING and then he went home to rest a bit last week. He jumped really well in the first big class on Thursday, but in the 1m50 class on Friday I felt he was a bit tired.  So I wasn’t sure how we would do today. Apparently, the day off really did him good, because during the first round he jumped incredibly. I think that he has never jumped as well as that! I had a great feeling in the ring when we jumped the first round. The jump-off of this Grand Prix was really fast, like all the classes that take place here, and that’s why I chose to ride Victorio. He really gave it his all for me in the jump-off and I’m really proud of him! Next week, I will be back in the ring here but without Victorio, who is going home to have a rest.”

Full results here.

All tests are transmitted live on https://grandprix.tv/fr.

The press kit can be downloaded here.

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.com

Sport Is about Adapting to Every Situation: Steve Guerdat

Guerdat with Corbinian at Gothenburg (SWE) in 2016. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

He could be forgiven for being down in the dumps right now. His chance of becoming the first-ever four-time FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion blown out of the water and no opportunity to chase down a second individual Olympic gold medal this year either. All sport has ground to a halt and his personal life has also been affected because his wedding to fiancée, Fanny Skalli, which was planned for next month, has also been postponed for the foreseeable future due to the pandemic.

It doesn’t sound like a recipe for a good mood, but the man who has been holding court at the top of the Longines Rankings for 14 of the last 15 months is staying positive.

Halfway through our interview April 17, Swiss star Steve Guerdat put the current situation into perspective with his trademark passion.

“Nobody talks about the millions of kids around the world who don’t have clean water to drink, and are dying of hunger every single day. We only think about how am I going to get to the shows, how am I going to pay for my Mercedes, how am I going to buy my new car and buy my new truck and buy my new horse. The poor face a crisis every day of their lives. Now we in the rich countries have to face this problem, but there is no reason to be afraid. It’s an experience, and for once it’s the same for everyone. So we have to look forward and maybe think about doing things differently – but there will be a way out of it,” he says.

Heroes

Our Q&A interview began simply: Who were your heroes when you were a child? Steve doesn’t hesitate in answering…

“Michael Jordan (the world-famous basketball star who made several memorable come-backs during his extraordinary career). I’ve always been a sports fanatic, and his story is an inspiration. Normally a superstar is really good over a short period of time, but with him you were never disappointed (each time he made a come-back). It was like a lesson of life and sport, about not giving up, and as a kid he was someone I was crazy about.

“As a rider my hero has always been John Whitaker. I like him for much the same reasons. With John everything is easy. I think he doesn’t even know what he’s achieving because he does everything so naturally. Horses respond to him and it’s just natural for him to ride and win in a very natural way with a completely natural attitude. That inspires me as a rider,” Steve explains.

It takes him a bit longer to reply to the next question though. So what’s it like to be the hero now yourself? There’s a bit of a silence. I can imagine him shifting from foot to foot; he’s clearly not comfortable with this one….

“I really don’t feel like that; I don’t see myself as really good. I trust what I do but I still have so often the feeling that I am so bad at it, so many mistakes, so many things I’d like to do so much better. I’m not even thinking about being a hero, being someone who inspires other riders….”

So I say, “But so many people look at you and say, ‘Gosh, if only I could ever be as good as Steve,’” but he quickly comes back with “Well for sure they can, because I could get so much better!”

Influences

We move on to the person who has influenced him most, and his response is instant….

“My dad (Philippe Guerdat). He was never pushing himself forward, always letting me be free to do what I want and that’s why I respect him so much. In the sport he was the most influential person since day one. And of course in recent years Thomas Fuchs has also been an influence on my career.”

Who is in your support crew?

“My longtime grooms Heidi and Emma, my rider Anthony, we have 10 people at home and they are also very important to me. My family, from my parents to my cousins, and I have a close relationship with my owners too. The blacksmith and the vet – there are so many people and they don’t just work with me and support me; they are also my friends. And of course now for a few years I have my girlfriend, who will be my wife soon, so I’m very lucky in the situation I am in, to have so many great people around me.”

Why do you enjoy being around horses?

“Because they give so much and they don’t ask for anything back. We try to give them as much back as we can, but they are not asking for it! They are so loyal, and they never cheat on you.”

What do you like least about horses – all the hard work? This question provokes a tone of outrage….

“It’s not work! If you think it’s work, then you are doing the wrong job! Maybe a groom can say that, but definitely not a professional rider – what we have is an amazing life. It takes a lot of time, but it’s very far away from being hard work!”

Horses

Which of all the horses you’ve ridden was/is the one you’ve loved the most? Not the slightest hesitation here as his tone becomes much softer….

“Jalisca, because she’s basically the horse that made the biggest step in my career. I don’t want to say she saved me – I was riding, I was healthy, but I was in a complete hole in my sporting career when that mare brought me into the spotlight, winning the Cup in Geneva (in December 2010) and giving all the time 200% for me. She was the kindest horse you would ever find. She was always there fighting for me; she was the best horse that has ever been around for me!” he says.

Is there a horse that you didn’t like at all?

“I’d be lying if I said I’ve never been frustrated with a horse. But the truth is as soon as I’d be annoyed I’d be thinking no, it’s you that’s to blame, you made the mistake of having too high hopes for this horse, or you didn’t educate it the right way, or you put too much pressure on it or, or, or… in the end if a horse doesn’t work out it’s only yourself to blame. It could be riding wrong, or buying wrong and having the wrong expectations of the horse who couldn’t do what you would like him to do. It’s not his fault; we are all born with some qualities – there are some things you can do and some things you cannot do so well – but there is only so much any of us can do.”

Is there a horse that you would love to ride?

“No, because I already rode the best horse in the history of showjumping, Tepic La Silla! I only rode him for three or four months and I won my first medal in the European Championships in Donaueschingen (GER) in 2003 and a couple of Grand Prix. He was a horse from Alfonso Romo and I would have liked to have him longer, but I feel privileged I could ride him in just a few shows because he was unbelievable. He had absolutely everything. For me he was the very best!”

The horse who gave you his personal best? Steve laughs as he replies, “Nino, and he’s standing right in front of me!” Now 19 years old, the gelding that helped him to individual Olympic glory in London in 2012 is in happy retirement at Steve’s lovely farm at Elgg in Switzerland. “What was so good about him is that when I wanted to be clear I was clear 95% of the time. We also had some bad rounds, but from the time I really figured him out we had very few fences down. I didn’t jump him a lot, but most of the time he was double-clear in Grand Prix,” he says fondly.

Friendships

Your strongest friendships in the sport?

“I don’t have many, but the ones I have are very, very close. Alain Jufer, he was on the team in Calgary when we won (first-ever Swiss Nations Cup victory at Spruce Meadows in 2016). We grew up together, and started riding together as kids. Gregory Wathelet, for 15 or 20 years now, same with Daniel Etter and I could mention Eric Lamaze as well. They are my closest friends. I can’t say why; they are all very different people and came into my life at different times; they are good friends and get along together very well but it’s not that they are each best friends with the other – they are just people I know I can rely on, and they know it’s the same the other way around.”

Cares and worries?

“My biggest worry right now is I employ 10 people who’ve been with me a long time. They’re not just employees but friends and part of the family, and I want to have them around me. But I know that if I can’t keep some of them, they will find another job and they will survive as well. Two or three times in my life I’ve had to start from nothing and I’ve no problem with doing it again. I’m not worried that tomorrow I have to muck out myself and drive the truck and work more, because I love what I do. When you like what you do the only motivation is not just adding more and more money; it’s about enjoying life with your friends and family.”

One silly thing you’ve done during your working life?

“Maybe the first show I did when working for Tops… there was a show in a place called Heikant and I drove the truck for about three hours with the groom and eight horses, but when we arrived we couldn’t find the showgrounds. There was no navigation system in those days, and we drove around for a long time before I realised that I’d taken us to Heikant in Belgium, and the show was in Heikant in Holland! Luckily, it wasn’t too far, maybe another two hours’ drive, and we only missed a couple of classes!”

How are you feeling about the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?

“It changes things for sure; it will be one year later and we don’t know what will happen between now and then. Horses will be one year older, but some that would have been too young this year will be ready for it. It’s different to anything we’ve faced before, but this is what sport is about. You have to be able to adapt to many different situations and make the best of it. There’s nothing we can do about it, and it was the right decision to move it. We’ll deal with this, and somehow we will move on.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Guerdat Raises the Roof with Brilliant Win in Bordeaux

Steve Guerdat with Victorio des Frotard. (FEI/Richard Julliart)

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat left spectators aghast with his brilliant victory in the 13th leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League at Bordeaux in France.

Riding the fiery chestnut gelding Victorio des Frotard, with which he also posted a superb win in Basel (SUI) as the New Year began, he produced a full-on fearless round in the nine-horse jump-off and couldn’t be caught, despite the best efforts of German runners-up Daniel Deusser and Jasmien v. Bisschop and third-placed Belgian Niels Bruynseels with Ilusionata van’t Meulenhof.

The man who held the World No. 1 spot throughout all of 2019, and who reclaimed it this month after compatriot Martin Fuchs snatched it from his grasp in January, can hardly do wrong right now. Everything came up beautifully for the Swiss star and for the brave Victorio whose confidence seems to be growing with every outing. The horse’s gallop down to the final fence was nothing short of breathtaking, and Victorio is turning out to be quite some find for the London 2012 Olympic Games and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion.

“He’s like a thoroughbred when you see him trotting around – you don’t expect much – but in canter as soon as you let him go, he has a huge stride! He’s feeling really good now, and this gives me the confidence to push and attack the fences even more,” he said of the horse who he has been riding since the middle of last year.

There were 10 French contenders amongst the 38 starters to take on Jean-Francois Morand’s 14-fence first-round track, but only one of the home runners, Rio 2016 Olympic team gold medallist and 2013 individual European champion Roger Yves Bost, jumped clear to make the cut into the second-round race against the clock. And the home crowd went wild when, second to go, he set the early jump-off target with another brilliant performance from his faithful 14-year-old mare Sangria du Coty, who broke the beam in 32.96 seconds.

Two horses later, Portugal’s Luciana Diniz decided to play the percentage game with a beautifully executed but careful clear from the powerful 13-year-old stallion Chacco Blue ll in 39.08 seconds. But, sixth into the ring, Stuttgart winner Pieter Devos went out in front with a great run from Apart in 32.23 seconds and now the Belgian rider’s time was the one to beat.

Guerdat did it easily, Victorio answering every call on every turn and jumping like a cat over the double at the halfway stage of the track. And when the Swiss pair landed over the penultimate vertical and Guerdat asked for acceleration, he got everything he asked for and more. The clock showed 30.82 seconds as they cleared the line, and that really put it up to the last two into the ring.

Deusser wasn’t intimidated and slotted into runner-up spot when breaking the beam with his 11-year-old grey mare Jasmien in 31.59, and then Bruynseels was last to try to nudge Guerdat out of pole position. But despite a great run from his 12-year-old chestnut mare, who looked ready to gallop from the second she came into the ring, their time of 31.71 would only be good enough for third place on a night of truly quality sport.

Talking about Ilusionata, Bruynseels said, “I have her a year and it took time to get to know her. She has a lot of blood and she’s a very special character! Her previous rider told me that he never warmed her up at shows. I tried at the first show where we competed but after two minutes I had to get off! At home she is great to work but at shows she is completely different. Here in Bordeaux is great because we can lunge and ride back at the stables. I only get on her one or two riders before my turn,” he explained.

Deusser confirmed that he is planning to bring Jasmien to the Longines 2020 Final in Las Vegas, USA in April. He’s well-qualified, lying fifth on the Western European League table after his impressive performance. Guerdat still intends to bring Venard de Cerisy to the Final despite all the good results he has had recently with Victorio. “I want to stick with my original plan,” said the man who is bidding to become the first-ever rider to win four World Cup titles.

He won the 2019 Final with Alamo, but last month the horse returned to his Mexican owner and will in future compete with Gerardo Pasquel Mendez in the saddle. Talking about the horse,he started competing in the autumn of 2017, Guerdat said, “Alamo had a big place in our team and was part of our family, but from the beginning I knew he would go back to Gerardo. He was supposed to leave us a year ago, so we got an extra year and that was great. It’s hard to separate from him but I’m happy that I know where he is and I know his groom and rider, that always makes it a little bit easier – but we do miss him!”

The defending champion won’t be lining out in the 14th and last leg of the Western European League in Gothenburg, Sweden in two weeks’ time, but the pressure there will still be immense, with those last elusive qualifying points up for grabs and a lot of hungry riders chasing them down.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Guerdat Jumps Back to Top of Longines World Rankings

Photo: Steve Guerdat (SUI) with Victorio des Frotards. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Steve Guerdat (SUI), Olympic gold medallist and three-time Longines FEI World Cup™ champion, has regained the number one spot in the Longines World Rankings.

The 37-year-old, who topped the leaderboard throughout 2019, had slipped back one place last month below compatriot Martin Fuchs. Guerdat, is now back at the top of the elite list with 3,497 points after claiming victory with Victorio des Frotards in a spectacular win on home turf in Basel (SUI) in mid-January. He is 74 points ahead of Fuchs (SUI) who now sits in second place on 3,423 points.

Guerdat, who also leads the Longines FEI World Cup™ standings, has another major victory in his sights as he looks ahead to the Finals in Las Vegas (USA) in April. As a three-time winner and defending champion, another success will put him in the history books as the first athlete to claim a fourth win since FEI World Cup™ Jumping began back in 1978.

Germany’s Daniel Deusser remains third in the rankings just 29 points adrift of Fuchs, with Ben Maher (GBR) holding onto fourth on 2,988 points.

Peder Fredricson (SWE), Pieter Devos (BEL), Beezie Madden (USA), Darragh Kenny (IRL), Kent Farrington (USA), and Christian Alhmann (GER) complete the top 10 this month.

View the complete Longines Rankings here.

FEI Media Contact:

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