Dinard, France – July 30, 2023 – A mythical site, dazzling decorations, flawless organization by the Mars family, generous and faithful partners, a dream start list, great sport and a large, enthusiastic audience: the 10th Jumping International de Dinard CSI 5* & CSI 3* has once again lived up to all its promises, with eyes of thousands of spectators riveted on the mythical main grass arena, where the finals of the 1*, 3* and 5* circuits were held, culminating in the €500,000 Grand Prix Rolex Ville de Dinard CSI 5*, won by the Austrian Max Kühner (AUT) and Elektric Blue P in thrilling jump-off
The best riders of the moment had four chances to prepare their leading mounts for the final confrontation of the Grand Prix over 1.60m offered by the Swiss watchmaker Rolex and the City of Dinard, endowed with 500,000 euros. Of the forty couples on the start list started, 15 managed to cross the finish line without penalties, and met again for the outcome of this breathtaking summit meeting.
Following Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Major Tom‘s opening clear round, Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & James Kann Cruz immediately responded, shaving almost two seconds off the time and taking the lead with a time of 43’22, despite the best efforts of the two-time 2021 and 2022 title-holder Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Leone Jei, who succeeded him.
Although also clear as well, Mégane Moissonnier (FRA) & Cordial, Kevin Staut (FRA) & Beau de Laubry Z, Gregory Wathelet (BEL) Bond Jamesbond de Hay, Nicola Phillippaerts (BEL) & Katanga V/H Dingenshof, Gilles Thomas (BEL) & Luna Van Het Dennehof (BEL), Michael Pender (IRL) & HHS Los Angeles, failed to dethrone the Irishman.
It wasn’t until Austrian Max Kühner (AUT) and Elektric Blue P took 12th place that the course ran smoothly and the time fell to 41’73, a new benchmark score synonymous with victory for the Austrian, who won this 2023 edition of the Grand Prix Rolex-Ville de Dinard in style with his 12- year-old bay German gelding, Electrik Blue P, a son of Eldorado VD Zeshoek and French Kiss by For Pleasure.
Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Martin Fuchs join him on the podium, while Kevin Staut (FRA, 6th as the best Frenchman, was rewarded by the Institut Esthederm.
Concluding this prestigious event, Danièle Mars, president of the competition, thanked all those involved, and confirmed that the 2024 edition would be held from July 18 to 21, just a few days before the opening of the Olympic Games.
Martin Fuchs (SWI) – “I did everything I could to win today for the third time in a row, especially as it’s a Rolex competition and very well endowed, but Max was much faster today. Still, I’m very happy with 3rd place. Leone Jei will go on to Dublin and then Spruce Meadows, while Conner Jei will take part in his first European Championship. I love grass tracks, even if they’re more difficult for the horses and for us, because the ground can be slippery, but they’re the most beautiful in the world. It’s rare to find quality surfaces like the one at Dinard, but I can understand why organizers build sand tracks, as they’re easier to maintain and less expensive.”
Shane Sweetnam (IRL) – “Last year I was over time, so it’s already better this time. In terms of mental preparation before setting off on a jump-off, whether it’s for the horse or the rider, everyone has their own strategies, but the most important thing is to stay focused before entering the arena and to be positive. I advise the younger generation to prepare themselves on grass tracks too, because to reach the highest level, they’ll need to be competitive on all types of terrain.”
Max Kühner (AUT) – “Today is my second victory in a Rolex Grand Prix, but the first in Dinard. I met Elektric Blue when he was two-year old, saw him jumping free, I fell in love with him at first sight and we’ve been training together ever since. For the rest of the program, Austria has to qualify for the Olympic Games. I rode Elektric Blue in Riesenbeck last week and here this week, to put him in him in show condition, and now he’s going to rest a bit before the European Championship. As for the terrain, it all depends on the horse. If he likes grass, for me it’s the best surface. At home, we have a grass arena to train.”
Danièle Mars, the competition’s enthusiastic president, confides that she couldn’t have wished for a better line-up of riders, as many of the world’s best riders and horses were present. The audience was, as usual, incredible, with spectators staying right to the end despite the rain. Dinard is the terrain of every rider’s dreams, with perfect ground conditions. The next edition will be brought forward by a week, from 18 to 21 July, because of the opening date of the Olympic Games, with the same labels, and no doubt riders will come to Dinard to get closer to Paris. I’m convinced that once again have an exceptional line-up.
Final Results – €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix de Dinard CSI 5* – 1.60m
1) Max Kuhner (AUT) & Elektric Blue P – 0 / 0 – 41.73
2) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & James Kann Cruz – 0 / 0 – 43.22
3) Martin Fuchs (SUI) & Leonie Jei – 0 / 0 – 43.41
Source: Press Release from Agence Consulis for Jumping International de Dinard
Photos: © Jumping International de Dinard / Eric Knoll / Sportfot