Niels Bruynseels is the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender following a sensational performance in the Rolex Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters, one of the four Majors that make up the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
Under the spotlights of the Brabanthal arena, the world’s best horse and rider combinationsbattled for the pinnacle prize of the weekend, all vying to start their Rolex Grand Slam journey.
The 13 riders through to the jump-off included Great Britain’s Scott Brash, the only rider so far to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, putting extra pressure on the competitors. Eighth to go, Marcus Ehning, raised the bar with a speedy clear round in 37.80 secs but it was Belguim’s Niels Bruynseels who shifted the pace up a gear to clinch the victory and his first ever Major in 37.10 seconds.
1st Place: NIELS BRUYNSEELS (BEL)
- 2016 and 2017 Stephex Rolex Grand Prix Winner
- Horse: Gancia De Muze, a 12-year-old bay mare
2nd Place: MARCUS EHNING (GER)
- Winner of 3 Majors & Olympic Gold Medallist
- Horse: Cornado NRW, a 15-year-old grey stallion
3rd Place: HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED)
- World Number 2
- Horse: Emerald, A 14-year-old chesnut stallion
WINNERS INTERVIEW WITH…
How does it feel to win your first Major?
“This has to be one of my biggest victories, I don’t even have the words to say how much it means to me. This show has always been great but the support of Rolex has made it even better and it is an honour for me to come here and compete against the best riders in the world. The atmosphere in the arena was incredible, it was a very special moment for me.“
Your Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping campaign has started, is CHIO Aachen going to be your focus now?
“Aachen is certainly the next stop for me. The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the biggest prize in our sport and I hope I can come to Germany in July and repeat what I have achieved here.”
Do you feel that the course lived-up to the Rolex Grand Prix standard?
“I think the team of course designers did a very good job, it was a tough course but good for the horses. There were 13 in the jump-off which is nice for the crowd and created top competition.”
And what about your horse, has she done you proud today?
“My horse was a superstar today, I cannot thank her enough. She always tries her best for me and I couldn’t be happier with her performance this afternoon. I think I was at advantage going last in the jump-off, I was able to see all the other riders go before me and where the course was difficult. I had a plan in my head, I knew I would need a fast ride, and Gancia exceeded all expectations, she is a special horse for sure.”
BEHIND THE STABLE DOOR WITH…
FRANK DELVALLET, THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX WINNER’S GROOM
How emotional are you feeling after watching Niels win the Rolex Grand Prix?
“It is just amazing, the horse is unbelievable! It is my first win in a 5* event and just means so much to whole team. I have only been with Niels since July, but he is an incredible rider and I just feel so emotional, I have a tear in my eye right now!”
You have all now started your journey towards the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, how do you feel?
“To be a part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is so exciting, we did not expect to do so well and we hope that we can make the journey last as long as possible!”
Gancia De Muze is an incredible horse, what is she like to look after?
“She is such a lovely horse, she is so easy to manage, she knows her job and she proved today again that she is one of the top horses on the circuit. She is going to get lots of rewards and kisses from us tonight, even though she doesn’t really like that!”
EYE ON THE PRIZE : JOURNEY TO THE ROLEX GRAND SLAM
The first Major of the season has drawn to a spectacular close and now all eyes are on CHIO Aachen taking place 13-22 July 2018. With the biggest equestrian names in the worldexpected to attend, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping new live contender will no doubt be planning his path to victory to see if he can make history once more.
Full Results here.
Source: Press Release by Rolex Grand Slam
Photos: © Rolex Grand Slam / Kit Houghton