s’Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands – March 02, 2023 – The Dutch Masters CSI 5* returns from 9-12 March 2023 and will play host to the first Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major of the year. The four-day show will showcase some of the finest horse and rider combinations and will culminate on Sunday with the Rolex Grand Prix. Heading to this prestigious event and seeking to claim this pinnacle class will be eight of the world’s current top 10-ranked riders, as well as seven Rolex Testimonees.
Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch
The current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender McLain Ward (USA) makes the journey from America with two of his top horses – HH Azur and Contagious. The American, who wowed the crowds at CHI Geneva with his exceptional jump-off performance in the Rolex Grand Prix, has continued his triumphant form at the Winter Equestrian Festival this year, recently winning a CSI5* Grand Prix. Ward will travel to The Dutch Masters brimming with confidence and hoping to impress in Europe.
This year’s competition is set to be one of the toughest yet with numerous former Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major winners in attendance. Leading the way is Rolex Testimonee, Daniel Deusser (GER), the defending champion of the Rolex Grand Prix held under the bright lights of the Brabanthallen. The German is a fierce competitor and knows how to perform at high-pressured Majors, having won two last year. The three-time Dutch Masters Grand Prix winner will be looking to restart his quest to become only the second person to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Deusser will be joined by compatriot, and winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, Gerrit Nieberg (GER), who will be aiming to claim his first victory at this iconic show.
World No 1. Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) adds to the impressive list of entries this year and is always one to be at the top of the leader boards. The Swedish rider ended 2022 with a sensational win in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final held at CHI Geneva with his incredible gelding, King Edward. Von Eckermann is the ultimate horseman and has now held the World No.1 position consecutively for the past seven months. As a previous winner of the Rolex Grand Prix held at The Dutch Masters, having won in 2019 with the sensational Toveks Mary Lou, all eyes will be on the World No.1 when he rides into the main arena. Fellow countryman, Peder Fredricson (SWE), with whom von Eckermann won Team gold at the FEI World Championships last summer, will also line up in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Two of Switzerland’s most decorated show jumpers, World No.2 Martin Fuchs (SUI)and Steve Guerdat(SUI), will also be in attendance. The duo, who have won six Rolex Grand Slam Majors between them, have never been able to claim this prized trophy; however, both riders understand the precision, bravery and athleticism required by horse and rider to be successful, and will be two of the favourites going into the class on Sunday.
France’s three representatives at the show will be Julien Epaillard (FRA), Simon Delestre (FRA)and Kevin Staut (FRA). Epaillard, who is World No.3, won over 75 international classes last year, and will be tough to beat if he makes it through to the jump-off on Sunday. Delestre and Staut have strength and depth in both their talent and their string of horses and will no doubt be vying for the top spot in this esteemed class.
The home crowd will be delighted to welcome 14 Dutch riders to the Brabanthallen. At the forefront of the Dutch contingent is last year’s runner-up in the Rolex Grand Prix, Harrie Smolders (NED). Smolders, who led the Dutch team to victory at the FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona in 2022, will be hoping to go one better than last year, bringing the trophy back to the home nation. Other notable Dutch riders include World No.8 Maikel Van Der Vleuten (NED) and Willem Greve (NED), the latter finishing third in this feature class last year.
The only winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Britain’s Scott Brash (GBR), is never one to count out at a Rolex Grand Slam Major. Brash will be joined by two of his FEI World Championships bronze medal-winning teammates, Under-25 riders Harry Charles (GBR) and Joseph Stockdale (GBR). Charles, who last year broke into the World’s top 15 is one of the most exciting talents in the sport, and will be looking to claim his first Rolex Grand Prix win .
Other riders to look out for at the first Major of year include Austria’s Max Kühner (AUT) who won this coveted title in 2021, FEI World Championship Individual silver medalist Jérôme Guery (BEL), and the World No.7 from Brazil, Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (BRA)
Sources: Press Release from Rolex Equestrian
Photos: © Rolex / Peggy Schroeder