London, England – August 18, 2023 – Beyond the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Rolex is the title partner of a number of coveted summer Grands Prix. Over the course of four months, beginning in May, and drawing to a close in August, the world’s best horse and rider combinations gather at some of the most iconic shows across Europe and North America to contest these elite competitions.
Royal Windsor Horse Show hosted the first Rolex Grand Prix of the summer season. Bathed in the glorious afternoon sunshine, Windsor Castle provided a fitting backdrop for this prestigious class. In total, nine combinations made it through to the jump-off, delivering top-class entertainment for the packed-out grandstands. It was, however, the battle between Rolex Testimonee Martin Fuchs (SUI), and the 2020 Individual Olympic Champion Ben Maher (GBR), that truly set the crowds alight. The Swiss rider’s spectacular turn to the penultimate fence secured his victory aboard Conner Jei by 0.40 seconds. Ben Maher and Explosion W therefore settled for second place, with Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro completing the podium in third.
Held from 25–28 May, the Eternal city hosted the 90th edition of the CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena, staged in the magnificent Villa Borghese gardens. The Italian course designer, Uliano Vezzani’s masterfully designed course, saw 11 combinations from the 50 starters proceed to the jump-off. The 5* Rolex Gran Premio Roma has been won by some of the sport’s best athletes, with the prize this year going to FEI European Championships individual gold and team silver medallist, André Thieme (GER). Sweden’s Jens Fredricson (SWE) riding Markan Cosmopolit claimed the runner-up spot, ahead of Brazil’s Stephen de Freitas Barcha (BRA) and Primavera Imperio Egipcio.
Held on the stunning shores of the Atlantic Ocean in western France, the Jumping International de La Baule has welcomed elite level show jumping for over 60 years. Often considered to be one of the most picturesque shows on the equestrian calendar, top horses and riders can often be spotted riding on the beautiful beaches each morning. The exquisite scenery provided a fitting location for the fierce competition take took place on the last day of the show. Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), with the ever-competitive mare Katanga v/h Dingeshof, produced two faultless and fast clear rounds to claim their first 5* victory together. Last to go in the jump-off, Sweden’s Jens Fredricson (SWE) came home just 0.32 seconds slower to take second place once again, while the World No.1, Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), took third place.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, Spruce Meadows, held their ‘Summer Series’ presented by Rolex. From June to July, the venue held four Tournaments, providing a chance for those combinations aiming to compete at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, a part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, an opportunity to participate at the impressive venue. Three 5* Grands Prix presented by Rolex took place over the five-week period including the ‘Continental’ Grand Prix presented by Rolex, which was won by Canada’s Mario Deslauriers (CAN), RBC Grand Prix of Canada presented by Rolex won by Brazil’s Santiago Lambre (BRA), and the Pan American Cup presented by Rolex which was claimed by Ireland’s David Blake (IRL).
The Rolex Grand Prix Ville de Dinard, held on Sunday 30 July at Jumping International de Dinard, a show which has over 110-years of history, saw 40 of the best horse and rider combinations, including last year’s victor Martin Fuchs (SUI), compete in the famous arena. With 15 combinations mastering the first round of the competition, the jump-off was set to be electric, and fittingly, it was Max Kühner (AUT) with his consistent 12-year-old Elektric Blue P who claimed the win in this prestigious class. Fuchs could not quite repeat his victories in 2021 and 2022, but he did finish third with the striking grey, Leone Jei, whilst Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and James Kann Cruz took second.
The Brussels Stephex Masters will round off the summer season, from 23–27 August. Held close to one of Belgium’s famous landmarks, the Atomium, fans can expect to experience equestrian sport at its highest level. The 2022 show saw Peder Fredricson (SWE) take an impressive victory in the Rolex Grand Prix on the final day, and the class is once again sure to provide a fitting finale to the Rolex summer season.
Source: Press Release (edited) from Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping
Photo: © Peter Nixon