Tag Archives: Steve Guerdat

Steve Guerdat Displays Precision Timing to Win Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

Steve Guerdat and Nino Des Buissonnets. ©Rolex/Kit Houghton.

13 December 2015, CHI Geneva, Switzerland – The world of international show jumping reached its season climax at the greatest indoor show – CHI Geneva. Staged over four days, the show built to its peak today with the Rolex Grand Prix, one of the three Majors that comprise show jumping’s ultimate prize – the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Roared on by the near 9,500 spectators packed into the world-famous Geneva Palexpo Arena, Swiss hero Steve Guerdat riding his champion horse Nino Des Buissonnets, demonstrated their impeccable partnership, exceptional skill and perfect timing to win the Rolex Grand Prix in dramatic style for a impressive third time.

NEW ROLEX GRAND SLAM CONTENDER

16 riders made it through the challenging first round course into the jump-off. Guerdat was ninth to go, chasing an incredibly fast time of 41.45 seconds set by Rolex Testimonee Eric Lamaze from Canada. Steve Guerdat knew he had to be fast, and as he entered the arena the Swiss fans went wild. The crowd then hushed and held its breath as Guerdat expertly guided Nino around the course with a new time of 40.94 secs taking him into first place ahead of Lamaze. With seven more riders still to follow to try and beat his time, Guerdat could only watch on. France’s Simon Delestre held nothing back and came within a breathtaking 0.03 seconds of Guerdat’s time.

It was then left to fellow Rolex Testimonee, Kent Farrington from the USA, to beat Guerdat. Typically, Farrington gave it everything and went clear, but his time of 41.47 was not quite fast enough on this occasion. Having already written his name into the history books, Scott Brash from Great Britain, riding Hello Sanctos, came to CHI Geneva as the first, and so far only, rider to succeed in completing the extraordinary feat of winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping: he won the three Majors of the year – the Rolex Grands Prix of CHI Geneva 2014, Switzerland; CHIO Aachen 2015, Germany; and the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2015, Canada.

Unfortunately it was not to be his day this time around, as Rolex Testimonee Brash just clipped fence 11 in the first round, taking him out of the competition. So a new cycle of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has now began at CHI Geneva 2015, with Steve Guerdat – who must now win all three Majors in succession to claim the biggest challenge in the history of the equestrian sport.

Steve Guerdat said: “The beginning of the jump-off was a little bit difficult for me and Nino, but he is a special horse – he is a genius. The rest of the jump-off went like we planned and I am really happy with the result. This show is really, really important for me. I always plan it as it is one of the main weekends in the year for me – for me it is not just another show so I try to plan in long in advance and come with fresh horses like it was a Championship for me – the crowd always helps me and luck must do the rest.”

ROLEX GRAND PRIX QUALIFICATION

After four qualifying classes at CHI Geneva, 40 of the world’s best horse and rider partnerships secured themselves a place in the Rolex Grand Prix. Staged over two courses, the riders had to memorize the layout and route of two of the hardest 5* Grand Prix courses in the world. Every second counts in order to take them to victory with the challenge of having to clear 26 fences over the two courses covering a total of 770 meters, and completing the first course within just 71 seconds.

ESTEEMED INTERNATIONAL RIDERS

The roll-call of riders in the Rolex Grand Prix was a truly star-studded cast, with riders travelling from 18 different countries. These included some of the world’s top current riders: the reigning double World and European Champion, Jeroen Dubbeldam from the Netherlands; Daniel Bluman from Columbia; and Lauren Hough from USA.

The Rolex family of equestrian Testimonees was well represented with six riders qualifying for the Rolex Grand Prix. These included Kevin Staut; Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen; Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping winner Scott Brash; Eric Lamaze; Kent Farrington; and the new 2015 CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix winner Steve Guerdat.

All eyes now turn to CHIO Aachen in July 2016 for the next leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – the sport looks to Guerdat to see if he can now continue on where he left his journey after winning the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix in 2013 to write himself into the history books once more.

2015 CHI GENEVA ROLEX GRAND PRIX RESULTS

1. Steve Guerdat (SUI), riding Nino Des Buissonnets, 40.94 secs
2. Simon Delestre (FRA), riding Qlassic Bois Margot, 40.97 secs
3. Eric Lamaze (CAN), riding Fine Lady 5, 41.45 secs
4. Kent Farrington (USA), riding Voyeur, 41.47 secs
5. Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA), riding Admara, 42.01 secs

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 22 302 2761

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 7770 647 662

Steve Guerdat and Alessandra Bichsel Cleared of Wrongdoing by FEI

Lausanne (SUI), 28 September 2015 – Swiss Jumping riders Steve Guerdat and Alessandra Bichsel, whose horses tested positive for Prohibited Substances earlier this year, have been cleared of any wrongdoing following separate legal agreements with the FEI. The agreements, in which the FEI accepts that the positives were caused by poppy seed contamination, have been independently approved by the FEI Tribunal.

Under the terms of the agreements, there are no sanctions against either Guerdat or Bichsel other than the automatic disqualification of the horses’ results at the events where they tested positive in accordance with Article 9 and Article 10.1.4 of the FEI Equine Anti-Doping (EAD) Rules.

Samples taken from the horse Nino des Buissonnets, ridden by Guerdat, at the La Baule CSIO5* in France on 17 May returned positive for the banned substances Codeine and Oripavine and the controlled medication substance Morphine. Samples taken from the horse Nasa (FEI ID FRA45675), also ridden by Guerdat, at the same event on 16 May returned positive for the banned substance Codeine and the controlled medication substance Morphine. The sample from Nasa also showed traces of Oripavine, but not at a sufficiently high level for the testing laboratory to declare a positive.

Samples taken from the horse Charivari KG (FEI ID 102ZB26), ridden by Bichsel, at the CSIOY (Young Riders) in Deauville (FRA) on 8 May also returned positive for the same three substances, Codeine, Oripavine and Morphine.

The two athletes, Guerdat and Bichsel, were notified of the positives by the FEI on 20 July and were both provisionally suspended. The three horses were also provisionally suspended for a two-month period.

The FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender acknowledged in July that the three positives were probably the result of contamination, but that standard procedure still had to be followed.

The FEI Tribunal agreed to lift the provisional suspensions on the two athletes on 27 July, but requests for the lifting of the provisional suspensions on the horses were denied. The two-month provisional suspensions imposed on the horses expired on 19 September.

Both Guerdat and Bichsel had used the same feed supplier, and independent laboratory tests have proved that the feed was contaminated with poppy seeds. The FEI accepts that the circumstances of the cases were exceptional and that the presence of the three prohibited substances in the horses’ samples is consistent with poppy seed contamination.

The FEI also accepts that the two athletes have demonstrated that they bear no fault or negligence and have also established how the Banned Substances entered the horses’ systems, the two requirements under the FEI Equine Anti-Doping (EAD) Rules in order to have the two-year period of ineligibility and other sanctions eliminated.

Under the terms of the two agreements, neither of the athletes was required to appear before the FEI Tribunal for a hearing. However, the panel of FEI Tribunal Chair Erik Elstad (NOR), Pierre Ketterer (FRA) and Henrik Arle (FIN) was called upon to give its formal approval of the agreements in accordance with the Article 7.6.1 of the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs).

The FEI Tribunal’s Final Decision states that it can find “no grounds to object to or disapprove the terms of the Agreement and is satisfied the Agreement constitutes a bona fide settlement” of the three cases. The cases are now closed.

“Both these athletes and the Swiss National Federation have worked in full cooperation with the FEI to secure these landmark agreements and it’s good to know that since the beginning of this year the FEI processes can facilitate such settlements so that athletes are able to clear their names when contamination is involved,” the FEI Secretary General said.

“Steve Guerdat and Alessandra Bichsel fully accepted that standard procedures had to be followed, but were able to provide proof that the positives were due to contamination, which meant that we could reach a settlement that was acceptable to both the FEI and to the FEI Tribunal.”

The agreements were reached in accordance with Article 7.6.1 of the EADCMRs, which was implemented on 1 January 2015 following approval at the 2014 FEI General Assembly. The provision, in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations, allows for an agreement between the Person Responsible and the FEI, and the agreements with Guerdat and Bichsel mark the first time that such a settlement has been reached under the new provision.

The Final Decisions for the consolidated cases of the two horses Nino des Buissonnets and Nasa is available here, and the Final Decision for the horse Charivari KG is here.

Specified Substances

The FEI has proposed that certain substances on the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List should be classified as “Specified Substances” in a similar approach to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code. The proposed introduction of the “Specified Substances” category is the result of a lengthy consultation process involving both the FEI Veterinary Committee and the FEI List Group. The FEI Bureau agreed during its in-person meeting on 9 June this year to put the proposal to the vote at the General Assembly.

The substances that will be classified as Specified Substances will be determined by the FEI List Group together with the FEI Laboratory Group. The purpose is to recognise that it is possible for a substance to enter a horse’s system inadvertently, and the proposed Specified Substances approach would allow the FEI and/or the FEI Tribunal more flexibility when prosecuting a case or when deciding on sanctions.

The Specified Substances approach will be voted on by the National Federations at the FEI General Assembly in Puerto Rico in November 2015.

Specified Substances are not necessarily less serious agents than other Prohibited Substances, and nor do they relieve the Personal Responsible (PR) of the strict liability rule that makes them responsible for all substances that enter a Horse’s system. However, there is a greater likelihood that these substances could be susceptible to a credible non-doping explanation.

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 787 506 145

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

FEI Tribunal Maintains Provisional Suspensions on Swiss Jumping Horses

Lausanne (SUI), 10 August 2015 – The FEI Tribunal has maintained the two-month provisional suspensions on the three Swiss Jumping horses Nino des Buissonnets (FEI ID FRA45550) and Nasa (FEI ID FRA45675), ridden by Steve Guerdat (SUI), and Charivari KG (FEI ID 102ZB26), ridden by Alessandra Bichsel (SUI). Two-month provisional suspensions were imposed on the horses on 20 July after they tested positive for prohibited substances.

Samples taken from Nino des Buissonnets at the CSIO5* ‎at La Baule (FRA) on 17 May returned positive for the banned substances Codeine and Oripavine and the controlled medication substance Morphine. Samples taken from Nasa at the CSIO5* ‎at La Baule (FRA) on 16 May returned positive for the banned substance Codeine and the controlled medication substance Morphine. The horse’s sample also showed traces of Oripavine, but not at a sufficiently high level for the testing laboratory to declare a positive. Samples taken from Charivari KG at the CSIOY (Young Riders) in Deauville (FRA) on 8 May returned positive for the banned substances Codeine and Oripavine and the controlled medication substance Morphine.

The two athletes, Guerdat and Bichsel, were notified of the positives on 20 July and both immediately requested the lifting of the provisional suspensions. Although the FEI Tribunal lifted the provisional suspensions on the riders on 27 July, requests for the lifting of the provisional suspensions on the three horses were denied at that time.

The FEI Tribunal subsequently responded to Guerdat’s request for a further decision regarding the lifting of the provisional suspensions on his horses to be taken by today, 10 August, the closing date for definite entries for the FEI European Jumping Championships 2015 in Aachen (GER).

As a result of today’s FEI Tribunal decision to maintain the provisional suspensions of the horses, although Guerdat is eligible to compete in Aachen, he will not be able to ride Nino des Buissonnets, one of his horses declared for the championships and will need to select an alternative pre-declared horse.

Decisions on the full merits of the cases will be made at a later stage.

FEI Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

FEI Tribunal Lifts Provisional Suspensions on Guerdat and Bichsel

Lausanne (SUI), 27 July 2015 – The FEI Tribunal has lifted the provisional suspensions on Swiss Jumping riders Steve Guerdat and Alessandra Bichsel, following preliminary hearings for the two riders at the end of last week. The lifting of the provisional suspensions will come into force today, 27 July at midnight CEST (Swiss time).

The FEI Tribunal’s decision is mainly based on the scientific evidence presented by the persons responsible (the athletes) which suggests the likelihood of food contamination.

Both riders had been provisionally suspended after horses on which they were competing tested positive for prohibited substances, including banned substances.

Samples taken at the CSIO5* at La Baule (FRA) on 17 May from the horse Nino des Buissonnets (FEI ID FRA45550), ridden by Steve Guerdat, returned positive for the banned substances Codeine and Oripavine, and the controlled medication substance Morphine.

Samples taken at the CSIO5* at La Baule on 16 May from the horse Nasa (FEI ID FRA45675), ridden by Steve Guerdat, returned positive for the banned substance Codeine and the controlled medication substance Morphine. The horse’s sample also showed traces of Oripavine, but not at a sufficiently high level for the testing laboratory to declare a positive for the substance.

Samples taken at the CSIOY (Young Riders) in Deauville (FRA) on 8 May from the horse Charivari KG (FEI ID 102ZB26), ridden by Alessandra Bichsel, returned positive for the banned substances Codeine and Oripavine, and the controlled medication substance Morphine.

A preliminary hearing was held via teleconference on Thursday 23 July to hear Steve Guerdat’s request to lift the provisional suspension imposed on him and the two horses Nino des Buissonnets and Nasa.

A preliminary hearing was held via teleconference the following day, Friday 24 July to hear Alessandra Bichsel’s request to lift the provisional suspension imposed on her and the horse Charivari KG.

While the FEI Tribunal lifted the provisional suspensions on the two riders, requests for the lifting of the provisional suspension on the three horses were denied. The Tribunal found that irrespective of the source of the prohibited substances, banned substances had been found in the system of the horses and it is the FEI’s established policy to impose a provisional suspension period of two months in such cases.

Today’s decisions purely ruled on the lifting of the provisional suspensions. Decisions on the merits of the cases will be made at a later stage.

FEI media contact:

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 33

Guerdat Claims the Longed-for Longines Trophy at Last

Las Vegas (USA), 19 April 2015 – Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat was a happy man when claiming the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015 title at the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas, USA today. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment!” said the 32-year-old Olympic champion whose last-to-go ride was an absolute thriller.

He came into today’s drama-filled final competition sharing the lead with America’s Rich Fellers, but it was French rider Penelope Leprevost who lined up second at the end of the day, while 19-year-old Irish talent, Bertram Allen finished third.

“I’ve been trying a long time to win this and I’ve come close many times. It’s the third time I was in the lead going into the final competition, and today I nearly messed it up again! Coming to the last I was riding more like a cow-horse rider,” Guerdat said afterwards. “I’m so happy, I feel blessed!”

Six clear rounds

With riders going in reverse order of merit, there were only six clears from a start-list of 29 over another tough course from Anthony D’Ambrosio in the first round today. The vertical at fence nine claimed a number of victims but there were also plenty of faults posted later on the track, with horses beginning to fade after three days of demanding jumping.

One of the features of the 2015 Final has been the remarkable performances of the younger generation, and it was 24-year-old Douglas Lindelow from Sweden, lying 12th with Casello, who was first to leave all the poles in place. The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Verdi immediately followed suit and when America’s Beezie Madden (Simon) and Belgium’s Jos Verlooy (Domino), who each carried six penalty points into the last day, were also fault-free, they shot up the leaderboard, while Penelope Leprevost (Vagabond de la Pomme) carrying five penalties, put the pressure on the top three when also foot-perfect.

Bertram Allen and Molly Malone were just one penalty point behind the leaders as the day began, but they began to look vulnerable when the massive 1.75m-wide oxer at fence five hit the floor. And when Guerdat jumped clear, but joint-leader Fellers had two fences down, the Swiss star went into the second round still on a clean sheet. With Leprevost and Allen now lying joint-second with five faults apiece, he had a fence in hand as the second round began. But things didn’t go quite to plan for the eventual champion this time out.

Faulted once more

Both Leprevost and Allen faulted once more to put them on a nine-fault final total, and it seemed the Longines 2015 title must surely already be in Guerdat’s grasp. But the crowd gripped their seats and gasped when his chestnut mare, Albfuehren’s Paille, hit the first element of the double at five. And then it almost completely unravelled for the Swiss star on the turn to the last.

“I don’t really want to think about it!” he said afterwards. “I didn’t expect the first mistake; those four strides (from fence 4 to 5a) turned out to be very, very long, and that triple combination wasn’t good for me at all, but once we were past that I thought now stay calm. But coming to the last I knew the time was tight. I could hear Martin Fuchs outside the arena saying ‘go, go!’ and I don’t know what I did. I just went as fast as I could to the finish line, but unfortunately there was a big fence in the way!” he said with a laugh.

The last fence indeed hit the floor with crash, and it was only his ferocious gallop to get through the beam inside the 68 seconds time-allowed that saved the day. If he had added a single time fault to the eight fence penalties he had just collected, would have been forced into a three-way jump-off against Leprevost and Allen. And he has endured too many unsuccessful FEI World Cup™ Final jump-offs before to make that an enticing prospect.

Leprevost’s faster time of 65.30 with Vagabond de la Pomme secured runner-up spot while Allen had to settle for third when a half-second slower.

A real fighter

Guerdat described his winning ride, Albfuehren’s Paille, as “a real fighter; today a lot of horses were really struggling but every time she sees a fence she wants to jump it, no matter what.”

Today’s victory is particularly sweet for the new champion. “I’ve been three times on the podium, twice in the jump-off and always finished in the top 10. I always wanted to win this,” Guerdat said. Talking about his determination to eventually succeed, having competed at 10 finals, he said, “I have good people around me who keep me calm and confident and keep me going. You need a little bit of luck; you have to keep believing in yourself and your horse and if you come so close so many times you deserve to win it one time!”

For further information on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2014/2015 in Las Vegas, USA from 15 to 19 April, visit www.worldcuplasvegas.com or contact Press Officer Marty Baumann, marty@classic-communications.com, +1 508 698 6810.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, won the 37th Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2015 in Las Vegas, USA today.

29 horse-and-rider combinations started the final class which consisted of two rounds over two different courses.

20 went through to the second round.

Time-allowed in round 1 was 71 seconds, in round 2 it was 68 seconds

6 clears in the opening round, no clears in the second round today.

Riders competed in reverse order of merit in both rounds.

The new Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion, Steve Guerdat, stood on the podium three times previously – he was third with Tresor at the 2007 Final in Las Vegas, second in 2012 with Nino des Buissonnets in Den Bosch (NED) and second again in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2013 with Nino des Buissonnets.

74,390 spectators attended the FEI World Cup™ Finals at the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas, USA this week.

Quotes:

FEI First Vice-President and Chair Jumping Committee, John Madden – “My impression of this event is wow! It’s been a fantastic week of fantastic sport. The drama in the final, such close competition and such movement on the leaderboard. The horses jumped really well and almost anything could have happened in that last round!”

Beezie Madden USA, who finished fourth – “I have a fantastic team behind me and I’m so happy with the way my horse went. One rail down today cost me a lot but it’s been a fantastic week. I want to thank Las Vegas and Longines because we’ve all had a great time.”

Steve Guerdat SUI, talking about his choice of horse for this year’s Final – “Paille has always had very good results. We had a great winter season; every 5-Star Grand Prix but Bordeaux was clear rounds and so I decided she should make the trip to Vegas, saving Nino (his Olympic ride) for the European Championships.”

Penelope Leprevost FRA – “Mine is a nice horse with a good mind, and it was all easy for her this week.”

Bertram Allen IRL – “I knew I was in with a reasonable chance this week; thankfully it went really well to plan and it’s great to be on the podium today.”

Steve Guerdat SUI – “My horse belongs to Albfuehrens Stud, they have a hotel and restaurant in Germany but it’s only 40 minutes from my place, over the border in Switzerland. They bought the horse three years ago and someone else rode her. I was very lucky when they asked me to take over the ride.”

Bertram Allen IRL – “In the first round I made a mistake but felt she (Molly Malone) jumped quite good, but the second round was a bad round – I got much too close to fence two. But I’m very happy to be here. I’ve had a great week and feel honoured to be sitting up her with these riders at this young age.”

Steve Guerdat SUI – “I want Thomas Fuchs to come and have a drink with me, he is the most important man in my life and I love him to bits.”

FEI YouTubehttps://youtu.be/a5wz55gI42M.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Las Vegas:

Marty Baumann
Press Officer
marty@classic-communications.com
+1 508 698 6810

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Guerdat Gallops to Victory in Second-Round Thriller

Steve Guerdat won the thrilling second round of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015 Final with Albfuehren’s Paille. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Las Vegas (USA), 17 April 2015 – Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat showed exactly why he’s the reigning Olympic champion when coming out on top in the gripping second round of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015 Final at the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas, USA tonight. Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course proved very tough indeed, and just six of the 32 starters qualified for the jump-off against the clock in which the 32-year-old rider and his 12-year-old mare, Albufuehren’s Paille, clinched it with a superb run when second-last to go.

It was a thriller from the outset, and with the crowd getting behind every competitor the atmosphere was electrifying. The home supporters had even more to cheer about when four of the six to jump first-round clears were flying the US flag, 2013 champions, Beezie Madden and Simon, filling second spot at the end of the night ahead of Lucy Davis and Barron in third, while the 2012 champions, Rich Fellers and Flexible, finished fourth. Norway’s Geir Gulliksen and Edesa S Banjan lined up fifth ahead of America’s McLain Ward and Rothchild in sixth.

Proven right

Course designer, Anthony D’Ambrosio, accurately predicted the number that would make it into the jump-off, but those spots were hard-earned as his first track took a heavy toll. Poles fell all around the course, with the line from the triple bar at seven to the following double – vertical to oxer – claiming plenty of victims. But it was the penultimate triple combination of two big oxers followed by a vertical that was the bogey of the night. A total of 16 horses faulted here, and D’Ambrosio said afterwards, “There was a difficult choice of distances, and either choice needed to be executed to perfection. Many of those who chose to go on six strides ended up without enough impulsion at the middle element, and I was surprised more didn’t go for the five.”

Last into the ring first time out were Thursday’s Speed-leg winners Bertram Allen and Molly Malone, and they went on the five strides here, clearing the two big oxers only to lower the final vertical. However, with the quickest four faults, the 19-year-old Irishman slotted into seventh place to keep himself well in contention going into Sunday’s finale when his mare may well feel the benefit of not having had to return to the ring for a second time tonight.

Against the clock

Gulliksen led the way against the clock, faulting at the third-last, and Davis showed there was plenty of room for improvement on his time of 40.06 when she shaved almost eight seconds off that with a brilliant round from Barron that went perfectly to plan until they lost their distance to the final fence and left that on the floor.

Third to go, Madden produced the first clear in 33.31 seconds, but it wasn’t all plain sailing as she explained. “I can be fastest with Simon on the turns, and I angled the liverpool (second fence on this track) but he lost his footing to the skinny (following vertical) and I had to do an extra stride to the double as a result. I felt a bit rattled, but we picked it up and I thought we did pretty well in the end,” she said.

Ward was next to go, but his round fell apart when Rothchild ground to a halt at the skinny vertical, third fence on the course, and they completed with 18 faults on the board. In stark contrast, however, Guerdat’s tour of the track was as smooth as a bar of Swiss chocolate, the mare who helped him win the Western European League qualifying series with a last-leg victory in Gothenburg, Sweden last month, breaking the beam in 32.87 seconds to take the lead. And when, last to go, Flexible hit the first fence, Fellers was only challenging for a strong four-fault result as he raced home in 32.80 seconds.

As many points as possible

Guerdat said the courses so far have been very tough. “We will have to see which horses recover best after the last two days. Stamina will count for a lot now, they need to be in top shape to jump again on Sunday,” he pointed out. And Madden agreed. “Now it comes down to clear round jumping and speed doesn’t count so much. There’s usually a lot of movement in placings on the last day, and in a small indoor like this, well anything can happen!” she said.

The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title is one that has eluded Guerdat, and it’s been a pretty frustrating experience. “In 2012 I went into a jump-off with Rich and he won, and in 2013 it was a jump-off with Beezie and she won, and then last year I was leading going into the final day and I messed up again!” he said with a laugh tonight. So maybe this time lady luck will be on his side, but we have to wait until Sunday to find out.

And with results turned into points after the first two competitions, it’s going to be edge-of-the-seat excitement to the very end, because Guerdat and Fellers now share the lead on a zero score, closely followed by Bertram Allen carrying just one penalty point while Penelope Leprevost from France is next in line with five. It’s still very much all to play for before the destination of the 2015 Longines title is decided.

For further information on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2014/2015 in Las Vegas, USA from 15 to 19 April, visit www.worldcuplasvegas.com or contact Press Officer Marty Bauman, marty@classic-communications.com, +1 508 698 6810.

Full result here.

Overall rankings ahead of Sunday’s final competition here.

Facts and Figures:

Course designer, America’s Anthony D’Ambrosio, presented another 13-fence track for tonight’s second competition in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Final at the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas, USA.

The time-allowed in the first round was 73 seconds.

The bogey fence on the track was the penultimate triple combination.

35 horse-and-rider combinations started in tonight’s class.

16 countries were represented.

5 horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the thrilling second-round jump-off won by Olympic champion Steve Guerdat from Switzerland riding Albfuehren’s Paille.

The youngest horse in the competition was the eight-year-old mare KS Corradina, ridden by Latvia’s Andis Varna.

The oldest horse competing was the 19-year-old stallion Flexible, who was lying second with his American rider Rich Fellers as the competition began and who finished fourth tonight but goes into Sunday’s finale sharing the lead with Guerdat on a zero score after the results of the first two competitions were converted into points.

Ireland’s Bertram Allen, winner of Thursday’s opening competition, lies third going into Sunday’s decider, carrying just a single penalty point.

The Jumping horses have a rest day tomorrow, but tonight’s three top riders, Guerdat, Madden, and Davis, will be back in the arena because they will be teaming up with three National Reined Cow Horse Association riders for a special exhibition, “The Duel in the Desert”, in which they will ride cow horses while their team-mates take up the challenge of jumping fences.

Quotes:

Steve Guerdat SUI, talking about his mare, Albfuehren’s Paille: “She came to me 10 months ago with two other horses from Albfuehrens; she’d already been quite successful for another rider. She has a great character and she’s a big fighter. She doesn’t do a big show over the fences but she has jumped a lot of clear rounds over the winter. She’s jumped clear in seven or eight Grand Prix. I’m very pleased to have her.”

Lucy Davis USA: “I was in 16th going into today so there was no room for being conservative. I went as fast as I could without totally unravelling my horse for Sunday. I wasn’t clear, but I’m glad to move up the leaderboard. I’m not as close to the top as I was hoping; now I will just try to jump clear rounds.”

Steve Guerdat SUI: “I planned to pick up as many points as possible today. In the jump-off I had to try to catch Beezie, and I’m very happy how it worked out.”

Lucy Davis USA, talking about her ride down to the influential triple combination in the first round today: “I planned to do six (strides) but after watching people struggle I decided to switch to five, my horse has a big stride and a lot of scope and he handled it perfectly.”

Steve Guerdat SUI: “I love this show; for a few years it didn’t come back to Las Vegas. I think shows in Europe have a lot to learn from the way they do things here, and a lot of the European riders have asked me what it is like. I tell them it’s so good – the atmosphere, the music, the spectators are happy and laughing and cheering for every horse – it’s all about entertainment for the crowd and I think it’s great; I really like it.”

FEI YouTube:

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2014/15 Las Vegas – Steve Guerdat – YouTube – https://youtu.be/LrJYZgiw1kM.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2014/15 Las Vegas – Final 2 News – YouTube – https://youtu.be/OTVqOlObSUU.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Las Vegas:

Marty Baumann
Press Officer
marty@classic-communications.com
+1 508 698 6810

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Guerdat Gallops to Second Longines Victory at Last Western European League Leg in Gothenburg

Steve Guerdat, pictured with Casper Gebeke, Longines Sweden country manager. (FEI/Roland Thunholm)

Gothenburg (SWE), 1 March 2015 – Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, produced a brilliant performance from the 12-year-old mare, Albfuehren’s Paille, to record his second victory of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League at the final qualifying round in Gothenburg, Sweden today. In a desperate battle for those chasing the last remaining points that would earn them a place at the Longines Final in Las Vegas, USA in April, it was Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson who lined up second with Casall Ask while Germany’s Marco Kutscher clinched third with Cornet’s Cristallo ahead of The Netherlands’ Jur Vrieling and Zirocco Blue NOP in fourth place.

Guerdat had no fears about qualification when earning his place in the 13-horse jump-off, as he was already lying third on the league leaderboard as the day began. However, his result today has boosted him to the top of the Western European League table, demoting young Irishman, Bertram Allen, to second place.

Found the key

Course designer, Spain’s Santiago Varela, set them a tough first track, but 13 of the 39 starters found the key.

The triple combination took its toll, as did the oxer at fence eight and the vertical at fence 11 which was three from home. The final two fences, however, proved particularly interesting as riders had to negotiate the Longines double, a 1.80m-wide triple bar followed by a vertical, and then take a careful left-bending line to the final oxer which often came up on a difficult stride.

It was Italy’s Francesco Franco who led the way against the clock with Banca Popolare Bari Cassandra, but it was third to go, Belgium’s Judy-Ann Melchior and her lovely grey mare, As Cold as Ice Z, who set the early target with the calmest of clear rounds in 47.62 seconds. This time always looked beatable, but Varela’s jump-off track was inviting to those prepared to take more risk, and Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer was almost two seconds faster when faulting at the very last with Toulago when next into the ring.

Olympic silver medallist, The Netherlands’ Gerco Schroder, looked set to go well out in front until also lowering the final fence with Glock’s London, but Guerdat and Paille made no mistake. There’s always excitement in the air when the Swiss rider sets off against the clock, and this 12-year-old chestnut mare seems to relish the pressure, lowering her head as she picks up speed and galloping home to really put it up to the rest of them when breaking the beam in 43.13 seconds.

Couldn’t better that

And try as they would, the remaining seven couldn’t better that. Home-side hero, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, came closest when next to go with his great stallion Casall Ask who crossed the line in 43.49, and although Kutscher’s turn to the penultimate oxer was superb, the talented 12-year-old Cristallo was fractionally slower when clear in 43.89 seconds.

Vrieling also left all the fences intact as did Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (Cantinero), but with their times not challenging for the lead only last man in, Kevin Staut from France, looked like threatening Guerdat. Staut’s great 16-year-old mare, Silvana, has competed at five FEI World Cup™ Jumping finals during her long and sparkling career, but when the penultimate oxer hit the floor they would have to settle for seventh place today.

After another extraordinary Longines season, however, the Frenchman sits third on the Western European League table which he has continuously dominated in recent years, and he is well on the road to Las Vegas.

Winning horse

About his winning horse, Guerdat said this evening, “She arrived at my stables 10 months ago having already jumped quite successfully with another Swiss rider, Alexandra Fricker. It took a while to get to know her, but she jumped clear in her very first Grand Prix and this is her first very big win with me.”

Looking ahead to Las Vegas, he said, “I’m not exactly sure which horse I will take, but Paille would be my first choice because she’s been very good during the entire indoor season and I’d like to save Nino for the Championships this year. Nino would be my second choice for Las Vegas though.”

His Longines season has certainly been a spectacular one. From nine starts he earned a massive 77 points, but it wasn’t all plain sailing as he only collected points from five events beginning with third place in Oslo (NOR), victory in Helsinki (FIN), third again in Stuttgart (GER) – all with Nino – a 10th place with Paille in Verona (ITA) and then his win today with the same chestnut mare.

Make the cut

A total of 18 riders qualify for the final from the Western European League, and one to lose out today was The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders who collected 56 points on the US circuit but needed to add some Western European League points today if he was to make the cut.

As defending champion, Germany’s Daniel Deusser is automatically qualified even though he has finished in tenth place, while the results for America’s Lucy Davis and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, who finished fourth and sixth respectively in the WEL series, are transferred to their own regional leagues. Bengtsson today confirmed that he will not travel, so that opens the door of opportunity for Belgium’s Jos Verlooy who currently lies in 24th position.

For further information on the 12th leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series in Gothenburg, Sweden, check out website www.gothenburghorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Mayvor Thorin, Email mayvor.thorin@gotevent.se, Tel +46 31 368 4349.

The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2014/2015 will take place in Las Vegas, USA from 15 to 19 April. For details of the event, visit www.worldcuplasvegas.com or contact Press Officer Marty Baumann, Email marty@classic-communications.com, Tel +1 508 698 6810.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

The Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden hosted the 12th and last qualifying leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League today.

Course designer was Spain’s Santiago Varela.

13 fences on today’s course, time-allowed 75 seconds in first round.

7 of the top 10 riders in the Longines rankings participated.

13 horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the jump-off, including three from the host nation.

Winner was London 2012 Olympic champion Steve Guerdat from Switzerland riding the 12-year-old mare Albfuehren’s Paille.

Gothenburg has a long link with the FEI World Cup™ Jumping series. The first Final was staged in the Swedish city in 1979 when Austria’s Hugo Simon came out on top.

The FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final has been staged in Gothenburg 13 times during the 37-year history of the event.

The Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg stretches 69 metres in length but only 39 metres in width.

18 riders from the Western European League qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 which will take place in Las Vegas, USA from 15-19 April.

Quotes:

Steve Guerdat SUI: “This is only my third time to compete in Gothenburg, and both of the other times I was competing in World Cup finals. My last time to be here was in 2013 when I finished second in the Final.”

Henrik von Eckermann SWE: “I knew I couldn’t catch Steve but I wanted to do my best for the crowd, in the end I had to stay realistic for my horse and I’m very happy to finish sixth!”

Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE: “My horse has been very consistent and I’m very proud of him today. It would have been very nice to win in front of the home crowd today – it was a very good course.”

Marco Kutscher GER: “I was lucky in the first round because we touched a few rails but they stayed up! In the jump-off I wanted to do one stride less between the first two fences, but I had to change my mind after we started.”

Full standings here.

FEI YouTube here.

Longines Live Timing Jumping application: available free for download from The App Store (iPhone) & Android Markets. Combining precision and performance, this is a detailed and exclusive application designed especially for Jumping fans – follow live results, see latest Longines Rankings, view competition schedules, obtain exclusive information and alerts on your favorite riders and get all the latest FEI news.

Rider biographies: view online and download from http://www.fei.org/bios.

Longines has been based at Saint-Imier (SUI) since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. It has generations of experience as the official timekeeper at world championships and as a partner of international sports federations.

Longines’ passion for equestrian sports began in 1878, when it produced a chronograph engraved with a jockey and its mount. Over the years, the brand has built strong and long-lasting links with equestrian sports. In 1912, Longines was proud to partner with its first Jumping event, the Grande Concurso Hippico Internacional, in Portugal.

Today, Longines’ involvement in equestrianism includes Jumping, Endurance and flat racing.

Longines is a member of The Swatch Group S.A., the world’s leading manufacturer of horological products. With an excellent reputation for creating refined timepieces, the brand, whose emblem is the winged hourglass, has outlets in over 130 countries.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Gothenburg:

Mayvor Thorin
Press Officer
mayvor.thorin@gotevent.se
+46 31 368 4349

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Guerdat Leads Swiss Victory Roll at Second Leg in Helsinki

Swiss riders filled the top three placings at today’s leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series at Helsinki in Finland led by Olympic champions Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets. (FEI/Tapio Maenpaa)

Helsinki (FIN), 26 October 2014 – Olympic champion, Steve Guerdat, led a Swiss victory gallop at the second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League in Helsinki, Finland today. A new venue presented a real challenge for both horses and riders due to restricted space. But the 32-year-old, and the gelding with which he claimed individual gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the enigmatic Nino des Buissonnets, used that to their advantage and left the result beyond doubt with a superb run when second-last to go against the clock.

Last man in was Martin Fuchs, and the 22-year-old steered PSG Future into runner-up spot ahead of Pius Schwizer in third. The Swiss were understandably buoyant at the end of the day. “We Swiss are in good shape right now!” said Schwizer this evening.

New venue

As the 30th Helsinki Horse Show moved to the Helsingin Jäähalli, the city’s oldest indoor ice rink, course designer, Frenchman Frederic Cottier, had to be at his creative best. Guerdat explained, “The arena is quite tight, the length is okay but if it was three or four metres wider then it would be easier. The fences came up really quickly for the horses and riders, but the courses got better every day and we got more used to it. Today’s was the best course of the weekend, and this was definitely the best class,” said the man who is now heading the Western European League leaderboard, and well on the way to qualification for the series Final in Las Vegas, USA next April.

Making the cut into the jump-off was not an easy task as there was no room for adjusting stride patterns throughout the 12-fence track. Once riders committed themselves to going on a certain distance they had to stick to their decision even if the fences didn’t come up right, and Italy’s Franco Francesco was eliminated for a fall when the line he took to the penultimate oxer left him too far away, and his grey mare, Banco Popalare Bari Cassandra, decided to slam on the brakes.

With 15 through to the timed round, however, the 7,000 spectators were guaranteed an exciting battle, and it more than lived up to expectations.

Copybook tour

Great Britain’s Yasmin Pinchen had produced a copybook tour when posting the first clear of the competition with her bay mare Ashkari, but it all went wrong for the 21-year-old Londoner at the second fence on the jump-off track. Riders needed to make a sharp turn to this vertical if they were to be in with any chance of a good placing, but the British pair met it all wrong and racked up a total of 23 faults.

Going later in the draw was an advantage as riders could work out where time could be saved as they moved on to the oxer at fence three and swung left-handed to the planks at five which had taken a significant toll in the first round. From there it was on to the water-tray oxer at six which had also proven influential before a roll-back to the first two elements of the former triple combination. Once that was behind them there was only the final Longines fence, changed from an oxer to a vertical this time around.

Third to go, it was young Brazilian star, Marlon Zanotelli, who set the early target with a great round from Extra van Essene in 36.18 seconds. And his lead wasn’t threatened by a nice, but cautious, clear from Finland’s Anna-Julia Kontio and the elegant grey, Fardon, or by French 23-year-old, Alexandre Fontanelle, who, however, was most impressive with breaking the beam in 39.27 seconds with Prime Time des Vagues.

Five-stride distance

Norwegian veteran, Geir Gulliksen, was the first to attempt a five-stride distance instead of six from the second to the third fence with the hard-pulling Edesa S Banjan, but his time of 37.66 seconds still left Zanotelli out in front. However, when, four horses later, Schwizer did the same he swept way into the lead with his stunning eight-year-old Sixtine de Vains who stopped the clock on 35.33. Now it was a matter of who could beat that, and although Frenchman Kevin Staut, with another eight-year-old Ayade de Septon et HDC, gave it his best shot as did Germany’s Christian Ahlmann with Cornado ll, it took last week’s winners, Jur Vrieling and Zirocco Blue, to oust the Brazilian from pole position when crossing the line in 35.78 seconds.

The Dutchman’s chances of doing a back-to-back double were instantly dashed, however, by Guerdat’s super-smooth run with Nino who was in his element as he soared home in 34.96 seconds. And when fellow-countryman, Fuchs, gave chase with PSG Future and sealed runner-up spot when crossing the line in 35.10, there were big smiles all round in the Swiss camp.

Very happy

“I’m very happy! When I saw Pius I knew we would have a Swiss win and I did what I could but I’m very happy with second place!” said Fuchs afterwards.

Talking about the challenge of riding in today’s relatively small arena, Guerdat joked, “Switzerland is a small country so we are used to small things!” And discussing the jump-off, he pointed out that his ride was more difficult than it appeared. “When I saw Pius go, I thought I can go faster than that if I don’t fall asleep! But when I was riding it then it seemed quite far from fence to fence and it felt quite slow. But Nino is so quick, there were not too many options and I could still add a stride from 2 to 3 and be quick enough,” he explained.

With 35 points already on the Western European League leaderboard, the Olympic gold medallist has only a little more to do in order to guarantee his place in the Las Vegas start-list next April. He intends to pick the last few points he needs over the next few weeks.

“Next week I will take Concetto Son to Lyon (FRA) and I will change horse for Verona (ITA) the following week. I’ll go back on Nino for Stuttgart (GER) but I won’t be taking him to the Final. I want to save him for one more championship,” he explained.

For further information on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014 leg at Helsinki, Finland, go to website http://www.helsinkihorseshow.fi/ or contact Press Officer Kati Hurme-Leikkonen, Email kati.hurme@helsinkihorseshow.fi, Tel +358 40 514 4753.

The next leg takes place in Lyon, France on Sunday 2 November. For all information on the French fixture, visit website www.equitalyon.com or contact Press Officer Veronique Gauthier, Email veronique-gauthier@club-internet.fr, Tel +33 967 073 729.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

Helsinki, Finland presented the second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League today.

The event took place at a new venue, Helsingin Jäähalli, Helsinki’s oldest indoor ice rink.

The city of Helsinki has hosted the FEI World Cup™ Jumping series for 29 years.

The show this year celebrated its 30th anniversary.

The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series takes place over 12 rounds, with riders counting their best six results.

The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Final will be held in Las Vegas, USA from15-19 April 2015.

Today’s course designer was Frenchman Frederic Cottier who also designed the tracks for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 at Normandy, France.

40 horse-and-rider combinations competed.

1 elimination – for Italy’s Francesco Franco for a fall from Banca Popolare Bari Cassandra at the penultimate fence in the first round.

15 qualified for the second-round jump-off against the clock.

The winner was Switzerand’s Steve Guerdat partnering Nino des Buissonnets, the horse with which he won individual gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Swiss riders filled the top three places – Martin Fuchs lined up second with the 10-year-old PSG Future and Pius Schwizer finished third with Sixtine de Vains.

The youngest horses in today’s competition were both 8-year-olds and both qualified for the jump-off.

Schwizer’s third-placed Sixtine de Vains is only 8 years old.

Fourth place went to The Netherlands’ Jur Vrieling and VDL Zirocco Blue who won the opening leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League at Oslo, Norway last Sunday.

After two rounds of the Western European League, today’s winner Steve Guerdat, who finished third last weekend in Oslo, now heads the Western European League leader board with a total of 35 points.

In the Western European League, a total of 40 points is usually sufficient to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.

Quotes:

Steve Guerdat SUI, talking about the Swiss working as a team in Helsinki – “It’s great to be able to talk together and train together, and it’s great to have a team on site and not to be on your own.”

Anna-Julia Kontio FIN – “I was very happy with both of my rounds. My target was to finish in the top 10 and I made it! Yesterday in the Grand Prix my horse got nervous in the jump-off and we had two fences down. Today I wanted two clear rounds and I’m happy. I’m also happy that Martin (Fuchs) got something to bring home!”

Steve Guerdat SUI – “It was a fantastic course and a great arena. The Organising Committee did a great job, and the atmosphere was even better than it used to be.”

Full standings here.

FEI YouTube: http://goo.gl/lHRNM7

Longines Live Timing Jumping application: available free for download from The App Store (iPhone) & Android Markets. Combining precision and performance, this is a detailed and exclusive application designed especially for Jumping fans – follow live results, see latest Longines Rankings, view competition schedules, obtain exclusive information and alerts on your favorite riders and get all the latest FEI news.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping press kit: download all the details from www.feipresskits.org (contains series calendar, competition schedule, online media tools and history).

Rider biographies: view online and download from http://www.fei.org/bios.

Longines has been based at Saint-Imier (SUI) since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. It has generations of experience as the official timekeeper at world championships and as a partner of international sports federations.

Longines’ passion for equestrian sports began in 1878, when it produced a chronograph engraved with a jockey and its mount. Over the years, the brand has built strong and long-lasting links with equestrian sports. In 1912, Longines was proud to partner with its first Jumping event, the Grande Concurso Hippico Internacional, in Portugal.

Today, Longines’ involvement in equestrianism includes Jumping, Endurance and flat racing.

Longines is a member of The Swatch Group S.A., the world’s leading manufacturer of horological products. With an excellent reputation for creating refined timepieces, the brand, whose emblem is the winged hourglass, has outlets in over 130 countries.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Helsinki:

Kati Hurme-Leikkonen
Press Officer
kati.hurme@helsinkihorseshow.fi
+358 40514 4753

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Steve Guerdat Wins the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Nino des Buissonnets, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix, Geneva 2013 © Rolex/Kit Houghton.

New Live Contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Geneva, Switzerland 15 December 2013, In front of a huge crowd of over 9,500 fans, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat riding the great Nino des Buissonnets, today won the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, and becomes the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Each time he entered the arena, the Swiss crowd greeted Rolex Testimonee Guerdat with wave after wave of cheers, which at one stage seemed to rock the foundations of the huge Palexpo Arena. He was one of 10 riders to make it through to the jump-off and, fourth to go, his time of 43.26 seconds was only briefly threatened by the World No. 1 Scott Brash (GBR), who produced a second clear round just 0.32 seconds behind Guerdat.

“I get a little scared sometimes on what is going to be next and how I am ever going to be able to give to the fans who have already had so much success with me here over the years. But every year I come back and something new happens and some bigger wins and it just feels amazing!” said a delighted Guerdat.

“Nino has won so much already since the Olympics – he is not jumping a lot but every time he goes out he is in the top and again today. He is just in a class of his own,” continued Guerdat.

At one stage it looked as though Belgium’s Peter Devos, riding Candy, could make it a ‘double’ by winning a second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – he was the ‘live’ contender having won the CN International presented by Rolex, at Spruce Meadows in September. Having gone clear in the first round he went into the jump-off showing good form, but two poles down and eight faults put paid to his chances of taking the Rolex Grand Prix title.

It was a truly exciting Rolex Grand Prix, with 10 superb spectacular clears around the 14 fence course. The first clear came from the Rolex Grand Prix winner at Calgary – Pieter Devos and Candy. Athina Onassis Miranda (GRE) rode a brilliant round, but was very unlucky to get one time fault on AD Camille Z. Her husband Alvaro de Miranda (BRA) was next into the arena and rode a great clear, followed by Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) who also left the ring on a clean sheet on the stunning Embassy II. Then followed seven more riders with clear rounds; Luciana Diniz (POR), Gerco Schröder (NED), Simon Delestre (FRA), Scott Brash, Kevin Staut (FRA) and Patrice Delaveau (FRA).

The 2013 CHI Geneva has been the most successful in the show’s long history with over 40,000 spectators packing into the Palexpo over the four days to watch the some of the world’s best riders including Rolex Testimonees Kevin Staut, Eric Lamaze, Meredith Michaesl-Beerbaum and Rodrigo Pessoa compete at the highest level of the sport.

Alban Poudret, Sports Director for CHI Geneva, commented: “It is like a dream; we are flying at the Palexpo Arena. For us, always when Steve wins, it’s a big gift, because he is the rider of the show. But this year it was something special you know with the Rolex Grand Slam and more pressure for us, more pressure for Steve, for everybody. To have him winning, it’s really a dream come true, but I think he is even better when he has big pressure. He has won eight major Grands Prix in Geneva in nine years; it’s incredible. Nobody did that. The bigger the pressure, the better he is!”

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping now takes a break until CHIO Aachen from 11-20 July 2014, but Rolex continues to support the sport at the highest level and will be the Official Timepiece at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida from 9 January to 31 March 2014, and also at Indoor Brabant from 20 to 23 March 2014.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping features three of the world’s greatest equestrian shows – the CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament and CHI Geneva – and is the first global initiative to reward the outstanding rider who wins the Grand Prix at each show in succession. The winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping will be rewarded with a €1 million bonus prize.

For details of the final placings in the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix, please click: http://results.scgvisual.com/2013/geneve/r21.html.

Websites:
www.rolex.com
www.rolexgrandslam.com

Rolex Equestrianism Press Room:
equestrianismpressroom.rolex.com

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – The Rules

The rules of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping are simple: any rider that wins the Grand Prix at each of the three shows consecutively will receive €1m on top of the prize-money for each show’s Grand Prix. Moreover, any rider that wins two out of the three show’s Grands Prix will also receive a bonus.

If the Grands Prix at two shows are won in succession, the bonus will be €500,000. If a rider is successful in qualifying for the “two out of three mode”, but doesn’t claim the victories at two consecutive shows’ Grands Prix, the bonus will be €250,000. It is only the rider that counts, not the horse i.e. it is possible to claim the bonus riding different horses. This system is infinite; it is not limited to a calendar year.

Three wins in a row – €1,000,000
Two wins in a row – €500,000
Two wins out of three (not consecutively) – €250,000

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 7770 647 662

Niels Knippertz
press@rolexgrandslam.com
+49 241 9171 180

Olympic Champion Guerdat Wins, but Diniz Tops the Leaderboard after Second-Day Rolex Thriller

Steven Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets jumped into contention when winning tonight’s second leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

Gothenburg (SWE), 26 April 2013 – Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, won tonight’s second leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final with a spectacular performance from his London 2012 ride, Nino des Buissonnets.  But it is Portugal’s Luciana Diniz and Lennox who hold the lead going into Sunday’s deciding competition after the three riders lying ahead of her on the leaderboard all faulted today.

In a competition that bristled with excitement from the outset, Guerdat produced a devastating turn of speed in the 15-horse jump-off to clinch it, while The Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager slotted into second place.  Diniz’s third place finish was confirmed when Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (Quintero la Silla), Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer (Picsou du Chene) and America’s Beezie Madden (Simon) all followed her into the ring but failed to leave the course intact.  It was deep disappointment for Madden after her opening-day triumph, but she trails Diniz by just a single penalty point going into Sunday’s third and final leg.

Withdrawal

There were 38 starters following the withdrawal of Hong Kong’s Raena Leung, and a generous 15 clears were recorded over Uliano Vezzani’s first-round track.  The double of vertical to oxer at fence eight proved the most testing of the 13 obstacles, and continued to play its part as the jump-off unfolded.

Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander and Ego van Orti led the way against the clock with a clear in 42.10 seconds and Latvia’s Kristaps Neretnieks shaved two seconds off that with Monte Bellini before Ireland’s Denis Lynch lowered the first element of the double at eight, now the third fence on the track, in a very speedy 38.33 seconds with All Star.  The turn from the oxer at fence five, now second on the new course, to that first element of the double would prove crucial to the result and Germany’s Marcus Ehning was the next victim here with Copin van de Broy.

It was Frenchman Roger-Yves Bost who recorded the next clear with one of his trademark thrillers from the equally-electrified Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois who broke the beam in 37.92 seconds to take the lead.  Belgium’s Ludo Philippaerts and Challenge V Begijnakker were almost a half-second quicker, but a stumble after the second element of the double left this pair off balance and even though they established a shorter route by turning between the second fence and the second element of the former triple combination – now the penultimate fence – he hit the vertical after the double for four faults in 37.42 seconds.

Plan Was to Win

Guerdat was next into the ring and, as he said afterwards, “My plan was to win. I knew if my horse was clear he would be difficult to beat. The turn before the double wasn’t so good so that made it easy to decide to do the turn after it.” His breath-taking run to the penultimate oxer and his racing gallop to the final Rolex oxer brought gasps from the crowd as the clock showed 34.09 seconds.

Try as they would, the rest just couldn’t match that, although the next rider into the ring, Dutchman Marc Houtzager, came closest when breaking the beam in 36.80 with Sterrehof’s Tamino.  America’s Reed Kessler (Cylana) and McLain Ward (Super Trooper de Ness) both had a fence down but, with just five left to go, Frenchman Kevin Staut was clear with Silvana HDC in 39.23 seconds and then Diniz followed suit with Lennox in 37.22.

The crowd went wild as home hero and reigning FEI European champion, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, set sail with Quintero la Silla, but they fell afoul of the tricky turn to the first element of the double, while Pius Schwizer momentarily lost his line of communication with Picsou du Chene, and it cost him dearly when the gelding faltered after the first fence and then demolished the second. They also brought down the vertical third-last, and their nine faults in total saw the Swiss man who has been so consistent in the Rolex series in recent seasons slip dramatically down the leaderboard.

Cool as Cucumbers

First-day winners, Beezie Madden and Simon, looked cool as cucumbers over the early part of the track, but it suddenly fell apart coming down to the second-last and although they cleared that, their frenzied run to the last resulted in a very expensive four faults that saw them finish ninth in this competition and slip down the overall standings to second place.

There is so little in it going into the final day however, with Diniz holding just a single-point advantage over Madden and Kevin Staut stalking the leading ladies another point further in arrears. They had better all look out for Staut.  He is a man on a mission, and his delight at another fault-free performance from his much-loved mare made his big smile even wider tonight. Bengtsson lies fourth ahead of Houtzager in fifth, and if Guerdat’s form today is anything to go by then he will be a force to be seriously reckoned with as he holds sixth spot.

Guerdat said tonight, “I needed to win today to have any chance of moving up the ranking.  My horse was good yesterday; the mistake was unlucky; sometimes you touch the poles and they stay up and sometimes they don’t.”

Route to the Final

Guerdat talked about his route to the 2013 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final.  “I messed up the timing a little bit.  After the Olympics I decided to rest Nino as much as possible but maybe I did it too much.  I took him to Bordeaux, Den Bosch and Lanaken, but unfortunately he lived up to his character and he wasn’t listening at all and started stopping on me.  There was panic in the house at this stage, but we decided to take him to Paris where he wasn’t too good either, so then I started riding him twice a day to get his confidence again before coming here to Sweden.  Yesterday he wasn’t perfect but he was really good today.  I’m hoping that we are not coming right one day too late.”

Diniz congratulated course-designer Vezzani. “The course design has been wonderful for me – I love him!” she said.  Talking about her lead-up to Gothenburg, she said, “I had two big victories in January, the Grand Prix at Basel and Zurich, and they have given me confidence; they gave me motivation and to finish in the top three on Sunday is my plan now. I’m happy and enjoying every round; I’m in the best phase of my life.  The goal is always to enjoy my horse; top five would have been good enough for me today!” she added.

Big Pressure

Guerdat teased Rolf-Goran Bengtsson by interjecting, when the Swede was asked if he felt big pressure in front of his home crowd, “He’s so old it’s no problem for him!”

Rolf laughed and agreed – “Steve is a little bit right; I’ve been here so many times but jumping in front of the home crowd gives me even more motivation.” Talking about Quintero la Silla, he said, “I’m pleased with him.  He was a little strong between one and two in the first round but ended up good and clear.  In the jump-off I wanted to go fast. I saw Steve so I knew I couldn’t beat such a perfect round.  We were too deep to the first and then I rode too aggressive to the double and had one down, that’s the way it goes!”

He will ride Quintero again on Sunday.  “He maybe has more scope than Casall; he always wants to go clear even though he has a very special way of getting over his fences!” Bengtsson explained.

Scope will be in big demand as Vezzani throws down one final challenge for Sunday’s last two-round competition which will decide the fate of the 2013 Rolex FEI World Cup title.

Results:

Result of Second Final Competition : 1, Nino des Buissonnets (Steve Guerdat) SUI 0/0 34.09; 2, Sterrehof’s Tamino (Marc Houtzager) NED 0/0 36.80; 3, Lennox (Luciana Diniz) POR 0/0 37.22; 4, Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois (Roger-Yves Bost) FRA 0/0 37.92; 5, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/0 39.23; 6, Conte Bellini (Kristaps Neretnieks) LAT 0/0 40.23; 7, Ego Van Orti (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/0 42.10; 8, Super Trooper de Ness (McLain Ward) USA 0/4 35.98; 9, Simon (Beezie Madden) USA 0/4 36.62; 10, Quintero La Silla (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) SWE 0/4 36.81; 11, Challenge VD Begijnakker (Ludo Philippaerts) BEL 0/4 36.81; 12, Cylana (Reed Kessler) USA 0/4 37.83; 13, All Star (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/4 38.33; 14, Copin van de Broy (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/4 40.19; 15, Picsou du Chene (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/8 43.53.

Full result here.

Standings going into Sunday’s Final Competition: 1, Lennox (Luciana Diniz) POR 0; 2, Simon (Beezie Madden) USA 1; 3, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 2; 4, Quintero la Silla/Casall la Silla (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) SWE 3; 5, Sterrehof’s Tamino/Sterrehof’s Uppity (Marc Houtzager) NED 4; 6, Nino des Buissonnets (Steve Guerdat) SUI 5; 6, Picsou du Chene/Verdi III (Pius Schwizer) SUI 5; 6, Super Trooper de Ness (McLain Ward) USA 5; 9, Carlo (Sergio Alvarez Moya) ESP 8; 10, Cylana (Reed Kessler) USA 9.

Standings after the second of the three Final competitions here.

Audio Links:

Luciana Diniz

http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_diniz_por.mp3   Portuguese
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_diniz_eng.mp3  English

Steve Guerdat

http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_guerdat_day2_eng.mp3  English
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_guerdat_day2_french.mp3   French

Marc Houtzager

http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Rolex_houtzager.mp3

Facts and Figures:

38 starters after the withdrawal of Hong Kong’s Raena Leung (Orphee du Granit).

15 first-round clears.

7 clear in the second-round jump-off.

There was a full house of 12,000 spectators in the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden tonight.

With points now turned into penalties, Portugal’s Luciana Diniz heads the leaderboard going into Sunday’s deciding competition ahead of first-day winner Beezie Madden from the USA.

13 fences on the first-round course designed by Uliano Vezzani.

The double at fence eight proved influential in both the first round and jump-off against the clock.

Quotes:

Houtzager -”I didn’t see Steve going and I didn’t take all the risks but when I came to the finish three seconds slower than him I felt he must have been flying because my horse isn’t that slow!”

Uliano Vezzani – “My target was for 10 into the jump-off, but I was happy because all horses jumped very well.  Sunday is the last day over two rounds and the horses should be good for that.  I had my plan ready for Sunday already but got more information today so I may change it just a little.”

For further information on the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final 2012/2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden (24-28 April), check out www.gothenburghorseshow.com.

By Louise Parkes

Gothenburg Media Contacts:

Mayvor Thorin
+46 31 368 43 49
mayvor.thorin@gotevent.se

Lotta Amnestal
+46 709 795635
lotta.amnestal@ridsport.se

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45