Royal Windsor Castle, Windsor, Great Britain – May 13, 2018 – The 2018 Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show was won by Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat (SUI) riding Bianca. Second place went to Laura Kraut (USA) riding Catwalk 22, and third place to Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) riding Caspar 232.
The sun was shining on the roster of international riders who entered the famed Castle Arena for the Rolex Grand Prix, the highlight of Royal Windsor. The show welcomed packed stands of knowledgeable spectators, gathered to witness the exhilarating competition, as the contenders battled for the prestigious prize.
World renowned course designer, Bob Ellis, assembled a typically demanding course for the riders with the first round consisting of 13 obstacles. Fences towered at 1.60m and numerous challenges were asked of the elite horse and rider combinations, testing the power and precision of the pairings. The course proved challenging and the enthusiastic crowd witnessed three retirements in the early stages. However, the competition heated up and the first round came to a close with ten clears. Swiss rider Steve Guerdat produced a stunning round, clearing the demanding course with apparent ease to progress to the jump-off. Fellow Rolex Testimonees Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Bertram Allen (IRE) also rode clear, alongside home favourites William Whitaker and Robert Whitaker.
Ten riders went through to the jump-off to face a revised course of eight jumping efforts, and first to go was William Whitaker, delighting the patriotic crowd with a steady clear. However, he was soon overtaken by his fellow countryman and cousin, Robert Whitaker. USA’s Laura Kraut displayed huge determination as she sped through the course in a time of 43.52 seconds with all fences still standing, taking one stride less to the last Rolex obstacle. Despite heroic efforts to beat the leading time by Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen, his horse Hector van D’Abdijhoeve just clipped the last fence, taking the Irish rider out of contention for the coveted prize.
Next to enter the arena was Steve Guerdat and the crowd held their breath as he proceeded to emulate his previous round, demonstrating his experience and precision skills by producing another brilliant clear and trimming 0.41 seconds from Kraut’s round.
Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5 was last to enter the arena, eager to challenge his fellow Rolex Testimonee for the title. Known for his incredible speed, Lamaze cut impossible corners in his attempt to win. Unfortunately slight contact on the very last fence saw a rail drop, crowning Guerdat the Rolex Grand Prix victor.
An Unforgettable First Five-Star Victory for Steve Guerdat and Bianca as a combination
The phenomenal pairing of Guerdat and Bianca gave the crowd a breath-taking demonstration of speed, precision and an enduring partnership. The crowd erupted into emotional applause to celebrate a win from one of the sport’s best riders.
Speaking after his victory, Guerdat was full of praise for his horse, saying: “Bianca has been jumping very well and the course suited her. We’ve never won a five-star class together, but Bianca deserved this.
“I love competing in this city, it is very special to me after my victory at the Olympics and now winning the Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor. The show has a great crowd that appreciates what we do, the horses and the sport.”
Source: Press Release by Revolution Sports for Rolex
Photo: © Rolex / Kit Houghton