Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

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RIDER WATCH - CHIO AACHEN 2024

Photo credits : CHIO Aachen Photo credits : CHIO Aachen

Similarly to how the tennis Grand Slam calendar moves surfaces from clay to grass, so too does the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – from the indoor arenas of the CHI Geneva and The Dutch Masters, to the awe inspiring grass arena at the CHIO Aachen, the next Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major. The show, which often draws comparisons with The Championships, Wimbledon, attracts the finest horse and rider combinations from across the globe – all with the same hope of claiming the prestigious final class, the Rolex Grand Prix.

 

Dutch rider Willem Greve goes to the CHIO Aachen as the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Greve made history in March when he became not only the first Dutch rider to win the Rolex Grand Prix [during the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping era] at The Dutch Masters, but also the first Dutch rider to win a Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major. Partnered by the sensational stallion Highway T.N. N.O.P, Greve set the home crowd alight as last to go in the jump-off. The duo have continued their impressive form since, winning the Loro Piana Trophy at the CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena – part of the newly formed Rolex Series – last month.

 

Another rider who is expected to be at the sharp end of the three rounds of competition that make up the Rolex Grand Prix is Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs. The World No. 6 recently won back-to-back Rolex Grands Prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show, and once again showcased why he is considered to be the amongst the best in the world. He will be joined by the reigning FEI individual European Champion Steve Guerdat – both riders have won some of the sport’s most coveted titles, including multiple Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Majors, but have never claimed the prestigious trophy on the final day of the World Equestrian Festival at the CHIO Aachen.

 

Great Britian will be represented by a strong contingent of riders including the World No.2 Ben Maher. Maher, who will be looking to defend his individual Olympic title later in the summer in Paris, will bring four of his best horses including his top mare Dallas Vegas Batilly, with whom he won the Rolex Grand Prix at the Brussels Stephex Masters last year. Maher will be joined Robert Whitaker who will be looking to follow in the footsteps of his father [John] and uncle [Michael] who won the class in 1997 and 2012 respectively. Rolex Testimonees Harry Charles and Scott Brash will also represent Great Britian – Charles will be looking to claim his first Rolex Grand Slam Major, meanwhile Brash, the only rider to have ever won the coveted Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping title, will be hoping to restart his quest for a second title.

 

The home nation will be hoping to retain the prestigious prize that was won last year by Marcus Ehning, who this year brings Coolio 42 and DPS Revere for the 5* classes. German riders have claimed the Rolex Grand Prix title for the past three years and for this one-hundredth edition have 16 entries in the CSIO competition. Daniel Deusser returns with Killer Queen VDM with whom he won the title in 2021, and was second last year, and will no doubt be one of the favourites on the final Sunday of the World Equestrian Festival. Other notable German riders include the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix winner, Richard Vogel, as well as the consistent senior level rider, Jana Wargers, who will be hoping to become the first woman to win the class.

 

Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa is one of the sport’s finest talents and has won each of the four Majors [in the pre-Grand Slam era]. Pessoa will be riding Major Tom, the 11-year-old chestnut gelding who was fifth in this class last year, and will be hoping to repeat his victory from 30-years-old ago, when he won the title in 1994 at the age of 21.

 

One not to be discounted is World No.1 Henrik von Eckermann. The Swedish rider has continued to dominate the FEI World Rankings over the past two years and this year claimed back-to-back victories in the FEI Jumping World CupTM Final. Rounding off the this year’s entries, which includes 6 of the world’s top 10 riders, is two-time Major winner McLain Ward who will be making the trip across the Atlantic Ocean from the United States of America, and Ireland’s in-form rider Shane Sweetnam.

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