CHIO Aachen returns from 23 June – 2 July and will play host to the second Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major of 2023. This year, CHIO Aachen will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the sport’s ultimate prize, having hosted the inaugural Major in 2013. The 10-day show will culminate with the Rolex Grand Prix, which will see some of the world’s top horse and rider combinations from 16 different nations, including seven Rolex Testimonees, compete over Frank Rothenberger’s masterfully designed course.
Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch
All eyes will be on one rider; America’s McLain Ward as he aims to become only the second person to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. The World No.3, who won the Rolex Grands Prix at both CHI Geneva and The Dutch Masters aboard the 17-year-old mare HH Azur, will be looking to write his name into the history books. Ward has experienced success at the show in the past, last year taking victory in both the Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe and RWE Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as placing fifth in the Rolex Grand Prix. As a fierce competitor who knows how to win in the unique Main Stadium, he will be one to watch. Ward will be joined by four compatriots who will all be making the long journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the celebrated venue, including his 2020 Tokyo Olympic teammate, Laura Kraut.
He will, however, face competition from the very best in the world including last year’s victor Gerrit Neiberg. The German, who recently took the top spot in the CSI5* Grand Prix in Hamburg, will be seeking to continue this form to become the first rider to win this prestigious class back-to-back. In total, 18 German riders will contest the international showjumping at this year’s World Equestrian Festival including Daniel Deusser and Marcus Ehning, both of whom are also past victors of this prestigious class.
Looking ahead to the 2023 edition, Nieberg stated: “I cannot wait to return to CHIO Aachen to try and defend my title. Winning the Rolex Grand Prix in front of my home crowd truly was a dream come true and something that I will never forget.”
Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs, a double Major winner at CHI Geneva, comes to CHIO Aachen on the back of an impressive victory in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show with Conner Jei. Fuchs will be hoping to claim his first victory in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen. Fellow countryman, Steve Guerdat, is another amongst the talented field who has never won this coveted title. Guerdat, known for his horsemanship skills, will bring four horses with him to Aachen, including the exciting Dynamix de Belheme and Venard de Cerisy, the horse he rode to victory in the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex in 2021.
Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts also returns to the hallowed grounds of CHIO Aachen on stellar form, having taken the Rolex Grand Prix at CSIO Jumping International de la Baule earlier this month with the brilliant mare Katanga V/h Dingeshof, who will also jump at CHIO Aachen. Philippaerts will be joined by his twin brother, Olivier, who similarly will be brimming with confidence following a victory in the CSI5* in Stockholm last week with H&M Miro. They will be joined by Belgian teammates Gregory Wathelet, Wilm Vermeir, and Vereecke Koen.
Great Britain’s Scott Brash will be hoping to improve on his second place in the Rolex Grand Prix last year to reclaim the title he won in 2015 enroute to winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. His teammate, the individual Olympic champion Ben Maher, will be competing at his first Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major since his injury in February. He will be bringing his his FEI World Championship™ partner Faltic HB, as well as two less experienced mounts Dallas Vegas Batilly and Enjeu de Grisien. Rolex’s youngest Equestrian Testimonee Harry Charles, brings forward the experienced, yet evergreen stallion, Balou du Reventon and is another who could produce a good result on the final day of the World Equestrian Festival.
Other notable entries include show jumping legend Rodrigo Pessoa, who has returned to the top of the sport with a new string of horses, World No. 12 Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam, and the ever-competitive Frenchman Simon Delestre, the current World No. 7.