Tag Archives: Dutch Masters

Max Kühner Wins Rolex Grand Prix at Dutch Masters, Becomes Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder.

Three days of spectacular CSI5* international show jumping at The Dutch Masters culminated with the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix, the first Rolex Grand Slam Major of 2021. The equestrian world’s eyes were on 28-year-old Swiss Rolex Testimonee, Martin Fuchs, who travelled to ‘s-Hertogenbosch as Live Contender, following his Rolex Grand Prix win at the CHI Geneva in December 2019.

Partnered by his talented grey gelding, Clooney 51, Fuchs faced formidable opposition from a string of experienced riders, including Scott Brash from Great Britain, American Kent Farrington, current world number one-ranked rider, Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, and Frenchman Kevin Staut. Other established names, such as German trio Marcus Ehning, Christian Ahlmann, and Daniel Deusser, US rider Laura Kraut, and Peder Fredricson from Sweden, helped to make up a truly impressive list of 43 starters from 15 nations, many of whom were more than capable of becoming the new Live Contender.

With Brash and his 12-year-old gelding, Hello Jefferson, and Farrington and his 13-year-old mare, Austria 2, both retiring, Fuchs and Staut each picking up eight penalty points, and many others failing to navigate the Louis Konickx-designed course fault-free, just eight combinations progressed to the jump-off – a seven-obstacle, 330m final test of ultimate skill, determination, and precision.

Philipp Weishaupt was the only one of the eight jump-off riders to have triumphed in a Rolex Grand Slam Major before (CHIO Aachen 2013 and CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2017), giving the German a slight edge in terms of experience. Weishaupt’s opposition included fellow countryman Christian Kukuk, Belgian duo, Jerome Guery and Gudrun Patteet, Luciana Diniz from Portugal, Brazilian Marlon Modolo Zanotelli, Max Kühner from Austria, and home favourite Willem Greve.

First to go, Weishaupt set the early pace, jumping clear in a time of 33.71 seconds; however, his lead was short-lived, as Christian Kukuk and his 11-year-old grey gelding Checker 47 went next, stopping the clock 0.14 seconds under Weishaupt’s time. With none of the following four riders able to better Kukuk’s performance, the Grand Prix’s fate lay with Modolo Zanotelli and Kühner. The penultimate partnership to go, Kühner and his 10-year-old gelding, Elektric Blue P, set off at blistering pace, crossing the finish line over a second ahead of Kukuk, etching his name at the top of the leaderboard, where he was to remain after the 32-year-old Brazilian couldn’t quite find enough speed at the last fence, slotting into a very respectable second place.

Delighted with his performance, the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender, Max Kühner, commented: “The Rolex Grand Slam has always been a big aim for me, so I’m very happy that it worked out today.

“I bought Elektric Blue [Elektric Blue P] when he was a two-year-old. I saw him do one free jump on a video, and I said I like him, and the auction was already running, so we bought him. He’s always done everything very well, he was always a very good horse, and he never disappointed me. He has unbelievable possibilities, as jumping is quite easy for him. He has a good character and likes to do the sport. At home he gets bored quite easily, so we have a special programme for him. We hack him and drive him to where he can climb a little bit in the mountains.

“Spruce Meadows and Aachen in September were already on my schedule. It’s still far away, but we will try to make a plan as early as possible. We will aim to take Chardonnay [Chardonnay 79] to Calgary, as he finished third in the last CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex in 2019, where he jumped very nicely. And maybe we’ll take Elektric Blue to Aachen.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Jack Whitaker Victorious in the Audi Prize

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder.

Forty-one horse and rider combinations from 15 nations made up the start list for the feature class on Day 2 of The Dutch Masters 2021 – the 1m55 Audi Prize. The star-studded line-up – which included former Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender, Philipp Weishaupt, 20-year-old rising British star and the next generation of show jumping talent, Jack Whitaker, and the on-form American, Laura Kraut – promised global equestrian fans watching online and on television a masterclass in show jumping skill and horsemanship.

After 10 starters, Kevin Staut and his 12-year-old bay mare, Visconti Du Telman, were the only pair to go clear, proof that course designer Louis Konickx had set a tough 13-obstacle, 16-effort test for both horse and rider. The Frenchman was soon to be joined in the jump-off by the only rider to have ever won the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping title, Scott Brash, who steered his talented 12-year-old stallion, Hello Vincent, effortlessly around the Brabanthallen’s stunning arena. Current world number one-ranked Swiss rider Steve Guerdat also went clear, setting up a scintillating and fascinating 11-horse jump-off.

Second to go in the jump-off – a demanding seven-obstacle challenge – Brash was the first of the 11 riders to go double clear, setting off at blistering pace, navigating the course with typical precision, and stopping the clock on 36.16 seconds, a target that looked tough to beat. With just two additional riders managing to go double clear – Marlon Modolo Zanotelli from Brazil and German Christian Kukuk – it appeared as though the Scotsman had proceedings sewn up. However, Jack Whitaker had other things on his mind, and full of confidence, the Yorkshireman and his black mare, Scenletha, shaved a decisive 0.37 seconds off Brash’s time. Whitaker will have watched last to go Kent Farrington with his heart in his mouth, but the American was unable to topple him, eventually slotting into second place.

Thrilled with his win, Whitaker commented, “The feeling is fantastic! It’s what everyone comes here to do, and it’s what I came here to do, but amongst some of these world-class riders it’s a bit surreal when you win, so I’m a bit stuck for words, to be honest – it’s fantastic! It’s my first 5* win, and it hasn’t sunk in. But as I say, it’s what you come here to do, and I knew it was just a case of when it was going to eventually happen, and it finally has.

“Scenletha is unbelievable; she’s such a nice horse. She’s so consistent and she’s got a lovely character, but she’s also feisty. Tonight, she fought for me a bit, and I can’t thank her enough. She’ll get plenty of polos and pats later!

“I’d just like to say thank you very much to the young Riders Academy for putting me in this position, and for everything they’ve done so far. I just hope that they can continue supporting and helping young riders like me.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Daniel Deusser Wins VDL Groep Prize

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder.

The VDL Groep Prize was the highlight of Day 1 of the 2021 edition of The Dutch Masters, and attracted 41 leading horse and rider partnerships, among them 13 of the world’s top-20-ranked show jumpers, including Swiss world number one and Rolex Testimonee, Steve Guerdat, world number six, Pieter Devos from Belgium, and American Rolex Testimonee, Kent Farrington, currently ranked seventh.

Local course designer, Louis Konickx, set a fair 13-obstacle 1m55 test in the Brabanthallen’s main arena, with 10 combinations eventually progressing to compete in the jump-off. Christian Kukuk from Germany and his grey gelding Checker 47 set the quickest first-round time of 71.29 seconds, and they were joined by riders from six different nations, including two local Dutch riders – Kim Emmen and Marc Houtzager – making it a truly international spectacle and final showdown.

Second to go, it was Emmen and her 12-year-old stallion, Jack van het Dennehof, who set the early pace; however, it was Rio 2016 team bronze medallist, Daniel “Double D” Deusser and his 12-year-old gelding, Casallvano, who ultimately proved too strong for her and the rest of the field, as they breezed around the seven-obstacle jump-off, fault-free in a time of 35.66 seconds to claim the honours.

Thrilled with his victory, the 40-year-old German commented, “Having walked the course, I was quite surprised that there were so many clear rounds. My strategy in the jump-off was to try and win the class. I have to say, all the lines and the turns worked out really well, so I’m absolutely delighted for my horse tonight.

“Casallvano is actually a really scopey horse. He’s a little bit shy when he comes into the ring, but that’s also a positive part of being very careful on the jumps. I have to say that although he’s a very fast horse, I had in the last one or two weeks a couple of turns that didn’t work out like I expected, and I finally came to that point today where everything works out, which makes me very proud.

“Considering the circumstances, it’s not normal that we can do our job at the moment. The organisation here and the sponsors did a great job to make that happen and let us ride again.

“I will ride Scuderia Tobago [Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z] in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday. He is in great shape and he had a couple of very good results in Wellington a couple of weeks ago, and I hope to continue in the same shape on Sunday.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

The Dutch Masters “Riders Watch”: Who to Look Out For in the Rolex Grand Prix

Scott Brash at The Dutch Masters 2019 (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

The Dutch Masters 2021, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, will host the first equestrian Major of the year, and will be held from 23-25 April in the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the south of the Netherlands. After more than a year of uncertainty, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Equine Virus (EHV-1), organisers of this year’s show are delighted to welcome many of the world’s best riders and their horses to compete at the legendary Brabanthallen over three days of world-class equestrian competition.

As with each of the four Majors that comprise the Rolex Grand Slam – The Dutch Masters, CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, and CHI Geneva – this year’s edition of The Dutch Masters will peak on the Sunday afternoon with the Rolex Grand Prix, with elite riders – including 15 out of the current world top 20 – battling it out to become the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch

The Dutch Masters 2021 has attracted no fewer than six Rolex Testimonees, including British show jumper, Scott Brash, who remains the first and only rider to have ever won three consecutive Majors, thereby claiming the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping title in September 2015. Brash has spent 2021 competing in the Qatari capital, Doha, and in Lier in northern Belgium, and comes to The Dutch Masters hoping to reclaim live contender status.

Joining Brash is current world number one-ranked rider, Steve Guerdat. Guerdat has a stellar record at Rolex Majors, having triumphed in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in both 2013 and 2015, and the Swiss show jumper will be aiming to add The Dutch Masters Major crown to his enviable list of titles.

As a result of winning the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in December 2019, current world number three-ranked rider Martin Fuchs comes to The Dutch Masters, as the live Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping contender. The Swiss rider has spent the most part of 2021 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, USA with his grey geldings, Clooney 51 and Leone Jei, and will do whatever it takes to ensure he remains live contender going into the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September.

2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ Individual gold medalist and home favourite, Jeroen Dubbeldam, travels to The Dutch Masters with Forever SFN, Kennedy Z, and Oak Grove’s Carlyle. While a Major win eludes Dubbeldam, the Dutchman will have his sights firmly set on a big result in Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix. Dubbeldam makes up a string of 11 entries for the Netherlands, including Bart Bles, Kim Emmen, Willem Grieve, Marc Houtzager, Kevin Jockems, Johnny Pals, former world number one-ranked rider, Harrie Smolders, Leopold van Asten, Eric van der Vleuten, and Jur Vrieling.

Kent Farrington and compatriot Laura Kraut are the sole representatives from the USA at this year’s Dutch Masters. A two-time Major winner (CHI Geneva 2017 and CHIO Aachen 2019), Farrington travels to ‘s-Hertogenbosch with his gelding Creedance and mare Austria 2, and the current world number seven-ranked rider has the necessary experience and aptitude to be confident that he will very much be in the mix in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday.

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

National Government Guidelines Force Cancellation of The Dutch Masters 2020

As a result of COVID-19, the organising committee of The Dutch Masters 2020 announced that it has cancelled the event with immediate effect. National government guidelines state that events in the Netherlands involving over 100 people must be cancelled.

Event Director of The Dutch Masters, Marcel Hunze, commented: “The national government just announced that all events in The Netherlands where there are more than 100 people need to be cancelled. Although we only have 60 riders here at The Dutch Masters, together with the grooms and the organisers, we are far in excess of 100 people, so we had no other option than to cancel the event immediately. We’ve managed to speak to all of the event’s stakeholders in the last few minutes, and they totally understand and agree that there is no other alternative.”

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping family stands together in solidarity, with the organisers of CHIO Aachen, Spruce Meadows, and CHI Geneva offering their unwavering support to The Dutch Masters and everyone associated with the Show.

Full release here.

© 2020 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Martin Fuchs Travels to Dutch Masters as Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender

Geneva, Switzerland, 9 March 2020 – The world’s top show jumpers will gather at The Dutch Masters, the largest indoor show in The Netherlands from 12-15 March, to contest the first Major of 2020 in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. The Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday 15 March is the highlight of this four-day show and will provide a thrilling finale to this prestigious event.

For more than 60 years, Rolex has been a committed partner of equestrianism, dating back to 1957 when pioneering British show jumper Pat Smythe became the sport’s first Testimonee. As part of its quest for perpetual excellence, Rolex partners with individuals and organizations from the world of equestrianism who set the highest standards of performance. The Dutch Masters, with its rich equestrian history dating back to 1967, upholds these values and the pursuit of such ideals.

With over 60,000 spectators expected to attend The Dutch Masters over the four days, an electric atmosphere will welcome the world’s best show jumping combinations. Requiring an immense test of character and courage, each partnership will be required to display the highest level of precision and skill to tackle the Rolex Grand Prix.

ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF SHOW JUMPING LIVE CONTENDER

Following his victory in the Rolex Grand Prix at the 2019 Concours Hippique International de Genève (CHIG), Rolex Testimonee and current European champion, Martin Fuchs, said, “Competing at The Dutch Masters for the first time is even more special as I am going there as the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender. The chance to emulate Scott Brash’s historic achievement would be a dream come true and I hope to get one step closer to this goal at The Dutch Masters.”

THE ROLEX FAMILY OF TESTIMONEES

Rolex has an affinity with human achievement that dates back to the origins of the company, and supports equestrian sport in its quest to unite and inspire. Joining Fuchs at The Dutch Masters are several legends of equestrianism and fellow members of the Rolex family of Testimonees, whose achievements have inspired today’s rising stars.

These inspirational riders include World No. 1 Steve Guerdat, winner of multiple elite titles, who will be determined to add this to his list of achievements in an already glittering career. The United States’ Kent Farrington will also be looking to extend his rich run of form from 2019 when he won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen and the Rolex International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) Top 10 Final at the CHIG.

Home favourite and highly decorated show jumper, Jeroen Dubbeldam, will be hoping to achieve success in front of an enthusiastic crowd. However, challenging competition awaits the Dutch rider from his fellow Rolex Testimonees, including France’s Kevin Staut, a two time Grand Prix winner at this Major (2010 and 2014) and Great Britain’s Scott Brash, the only rider to complete the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping when he won three consecutive Majors in 2014-2015 with his champion horse, Hello Sanctos.

In addition to witnessing the world’s elite show jumpers do battle, spectators will see in action the world’s most decorated dressage rider, Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth. The record holder for the most Olympic medals in equestrian has had great success in ’s-Hertogenbosch, winning the Grand Prix Freestyle three times (2007, 2009, and 2018).

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

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

Inside the Dutch Masters 2020: Rolex Grand Slam Rider Watch

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

This year’s The Dutch Masters, held from 12-15 March 2020, will see more than 65,000 spectators descend on the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch to watch some of the world’s best riders go head to head. Audiences can expect an all-encompassing programme of equestrian competitions, where some of the world’s most distinguished show jumping and dressage riders will be competing. The Rolex Grand Prix, the pinnacle of this year’s event, will culminate on the Sunday afternoon, where a variety of equestrian’s elite riders will do battle to become the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender.

The Brabanthallen ‘s-Hertogenbosch (14,500 capacity) will welcome a number of the world’s best horse and rider partnerships. The 2020 Dutch Masters will feature multiple contenders who will be vying for victory in the first Major of the calendar year.

Rolex Testimonee, Steve Guerdat (SUI), is no stranger to achieving excellence at the Majors. Three-time winner of CHI Geneva, the current World No. 1 will be hoping to emulate this success at The Dutch Masters this year. He brings with him a formidable number of horses, putting him in good stead for the upcoming competition, in his bid to become the new live contender.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Martin Fuchs (SUI), is also in contention. Having already achieved so much at a young age, his career highlights include an individual silver medal at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games and most recently, an individual gold medal at the 2019 FEI European Championships. Fuchs has also shown a run of recent good form, securing a first-place victory with Stalando 2 in the Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI 5* and he will be hoping to add this year’s Dutch Masters trophy to his impressive list of accomplishments. The Swiss Rolex Testimonee will be partnered with a strong string of horses, including his top mount Clooney 51, who led him to victory at CHI Geneva last December.

Henrik Von Eckermann (SWE), a previous live contender, is one to follow at this year’s Dutch Masters. Following a stellar 2019, including victories in the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters and at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, Eckermann will be hoping to defend his title and re-take the reigns as the live contender. The strong partnership with the talented Toveks Mary Lou, has allowed the Swedish rider to rise up the world rankings and the mare’s ability to produce quick jump-off times in small arenas, means there is no doubt he will be feeling confident heading to The Netherlands next week.

The home crowd can look forward to seeing a strong contingency of contenders including former World No. 1 Harrie Smolders and European gold medalist Jeroen Dubbeldam who will both be pushing for big results. It will be also be an emotional occasion for Dutch rider, Maikel van der Vleuten who will be retiring his legendary horse Verdi TN at the Show following an incredible 15-year partnership.

© 2020 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Exclusive Interview with Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender Martin Fuchs

Martin Fuchs (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

The Rolex Grand Prix win at CHI Geneva was obviously very emotional for you; can you talk about what that win meant for you, especially in front of your home crowd?

Geneva has always been a good show for me. I’ve never been close to winning the Rolex Grand Prix there though, so when I qualified for the jump-off, I was very excited. Clooney was in great shape and I knew the jump-off would suit us both. I kept focused and tried to go as fast as I could whilst sticking to my plan. It was then hard for me to watch the others go and I was quite sure that what I’d done wasn’t enough and one of the best riders would beat me. When Darragh Kenny, who was the last rider in the ring, had a pole down, I realized I’d won. It was an incredible moment, made even more special winning in front of my home crowd, my family, and my friends.

Looking ahead to The Dutch Masters, which has a much smaller arena, does that change your preparations at all?

Our preparation doesn’t change at all. Clooney is very good in the smaller arenas, so in a way it’s better for him. I’m excited as this will be my first time at The Dutch Masters; we will be competing at a 2-Star event with Clooney also in Holland a few weeks prior to The Dutch Masters in order to be as prepared as possible.

Clooney 51 is a superstar horse; how did your journey start and how have you grown together?

We bought Clooney through one of my best friends, when he was seven years old. In the beginning, he was a bit difficult, but he’s always been a great horse to ride. When he was eight years old, I realized that he could be a special horse, as he’d often placed in big Grands Prix. As a nine-year-old he placed second in a 5* Grand Prix in Doha. To become the team we are today, we’ve worked very hard on our dressage and his confidence. I try my best to keep him happy and give him the confidence he needs to perform, then in the ring he normally doesn’t let me down.

What do you think are the qualities he naturally has that make him so special?

Clooney is very careful and clever at the fences; he’s very aware of his surroundings and always knows where the poles are. He’s a very intelligent jumper, with his own style; he doesn’t over-jump and never runs through the fences.

Do you plan on taking Clooney to The Dutch Masters?

I will definitely be taking Clooney; we’ve been training hard and preparing, so we have a good chance to do well.

You have achieved so much already but what are your next dreams and ambitions, what do you want to achieve?

I was ecstatic to become world number one; it was obviously a huge success and a dream come true for me, especially considering I’m still quite young. The Rolex Grand Prix victory in Geneva was the best possible outcome for me, which makes me a live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam. My main goals for this year are the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping and of course the Olympics in Tokyo, which I’m incredibly excited for.

The Rolex Grand Prix win at CHI Geneva was obviously very emotional for you; can you talk about what that win meant for you, especially in front of your home crowd?

Looking even further ahead to CHIO Aachen, again another completely different arena, does Clooney grow in an arena like Aachen? How does it affect him?

Clooney can be a little spooked in the big grass arenas, which makes things a little bit more difficult. Aachen is over the course of a whole week, which gives me the chance to get Clooney in the ring a couple of times before the Grand Prix, which will help us be more prepared. Last year he jumped really well and had clear rounds; however, during the second round I didn’t ride so well, but ultimately, I’m looking forward to bringing him back to the show.

Scott Brash won Rolex Grand Slam with Hello Sanctos; do you think Clooney could be a potential horse that could emulate their success?

I have complete faith in Clooney. I know he can win in any arena in the world, in any class. This gives me a lot of confidence, but I’ve not even dreamed about winning the Rolex Grand Slam because it’s so difficult. Anyone involved in our sport knows what Scott Brash has achieved is incredible and the odds of it happening again are so low. Of course, Clooney and I will try our best but who knows what the future holds?

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I don’t think I’ve had a standout piece of advice given to me. I’ve learnt a lot of important values from a variety of people; the most important things I believe are to work hard, be dedicated, try to understand your horse, and do your best every day.

When you’re not riding and competing, what are you doing? Do you have any hobbies outside of showjumping?

I’m quite laid back, so when I’m not competing, I like to go for long walks on the beach by the water, but sometimes I also go into the city. I try to relax as much as possible when I’m not training or competing. I think that’s important if you want to do well.

© 2020 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Henrik von Eckermann Becomes New Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender at Dutch Masters

Henrik von Eckermann (Photo: Ashley Neuhof / Rolex Grand Slam)

It was an afternoon of electrifying sporting drama at The Dutch Masters, with the world’s best horse and rider combinations taking to the arena in the Brabanthallen for the first Major of the year. Course Designer Louis Koninckx laid a tough course, which saw only five reach the jump-off to battle it out for the Rolex Grand Prix title.

Rolex Testimonee, Steve Guerdat (SUI), secured the first double clear, after producing a series of thrilling turns to shave seconds off the clock. Many thought he could not be caught but it was clear from the outset that Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann only had winning on his mind. Together with his 13-year-old bay mare, Toveks Mary Lou, the pair crossed the finish just 0.63 seconds faster than Guerdat to clinch the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix title and become the new Rolex Grand Slam live contender.

It was so close between you and Steve Guerdat; how did the jump-off feel for you?

It was great! I knew that Steve was very fast; he knocked three-seconds off Daniel (Deusser)’s time, so I thought to myself, I need to hurry up! There were only five in the jump-off, and it is nice when there are so few because then you don’t have so much competition to worry about. I just tried really hard. I wanted to win it; I gave my best effort to win it and here we are!

Toveks Mary Lou performed so well. What is she like to ride?

She always performs so well. She is so special. It’s like she knows what is going on; she thinks, ‘OK, it’s Sunday today; it’s the big day; I need to be the best I can be.’ She always tries that little bit extra for me and it makes her a fantastic horse.

You’re the new Rolex Grand Slam live contender. Is CHIO Aachen in your calendar?

Yes, it is absolutely. I really would like to go there. I am just so happy with what has happened today, and we will take it from here.

How are you going to celebrate?

I have to drive the lorry home with Mary Lou in the back and I am happy for that. My girlfriend Janika, the groom. and I will head home together smiling! But the feeling I have now is amazing and that is enough. I don’t think we have to do anything special.

Lastly, is The Dutch Masters a special show for you now?

Absolutely! I have ridden here quite a few times now and it is a fantastic event. Every year it gets better and better; they always try to make it more and more special. The atmosphere is always electric, and the crowd is always behind you.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

The Audi Prize Brings Another Win for the Untouchable Dutch

Maikel van der Vleuten (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

It was another night of crowd-pleasing entertainment in the Brabanthallen, as Maikel van der Vleuten took the victory in the Audi Prize, the second Rolex Grand Prix qualifier. The Dutch maestro produced an uncatchable clear, in the time of 37.25 seconds, knocking over three seconds off the time set by last year’s Rolex Grand Prix winner, Niels Bruynseels (BEL).

That was a very fast round; how did the ride feel to you?

It was a tough competition, with strong riders, so I knew I had to go for it. Dana Blue is a very strong horse; she won yesterday and is naturally very, very quick and that’s the type of horse you need these days.

The Dutch team are taking all the top spots this week; what’s it like to win in front of the home crowd?

Performing in front of my home crowd certainly gives me even more motivation. So far, it’s going very well here. Tomorrow is the Rolex Grand Prix and I hope we can continue our winning streak, but it will be a very tough competition.

How will you be preparing for the Rolex Grand Prix?

We will stick to our normal routine. I will make sure my horse (Verdi TN) is in good shape; yesterday he jumped very well in the big class; he was double clear. Today I gave him a bit of an easy day so I am hoping he will be very fresh tomorrow!

Who do you think your biggest competition is?

There are so many riders, it’s hard to say. That’s the thing – it’s always exciting in our sport because out of the 40 riders you have at least 25 combinations who can give it a serious go!

Now that The Dutch Masters is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, has the event been enhanced?

Yes, I think it is a really good thing that this show is now one of the Majors. It is so important, being such a horse country, that we have a world-class event like this in Holland. It’s great for the Dutch people.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam