Aachen, Germany - Nick Skelton (GBR) today proved that things really do get better with age when he won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen and thereby becomes the first 'live' contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in 2013.
Riding his favourite horse Big Star, Skelton was one of only three riders who went double clear in the first two rounds, and he then topped off a stunning afternoon of Show Jumping with a clear, quick round in the jump-off, beating the 26 year-old Swiss rider Janika Sprunger riding Palloubet d'Halong into second place, and Patrice Delaveau (FRA) on Orient Express HDC into third. Daniel Deusser, riding Cornet d'Amour, was the leading German rider in fourth place, and unlucky to have a time fault in the first round, his only penalty over two rounds of jumping.
This is Skelton's fourth victory in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen and makes him the most successful rider to compete in the highlight of the famous World Equestrian Festival. His first title was over 30 years ago in 1982 when riding Everest if Ever, and he has had subsequent victories in 1987 and 1988 riding Raffles Apollo.
Commenting on his win today, Skelton said, "My first win here was a long time ago; Janika probably wasn't even born then, but although I am getting on a bit it's all about your horse and how good a horse you have. I'm lucky that I've got a good horse and can keep going."
Forty horse and rider combinations qualified for the Rolex Grand Prix, and the first round saw eight go clear. The format of the competition dictates that numbers reduce to 18 for the second round, and faults are carried forward.
The second round saw eight of the eighteen go clear including successful rounds from Rolex Testimonees Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) on Bella Donna and Steve Guerdat (SUI) on Nino des Buissonnets, but only three went through to the jump off which was won so emphatically by Nick Skelton.
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping features three of the world’s greatest equestrian shows – the CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament and CHI Geneva – and is the first global initiative to reward the outstanding rider who wins the Grand Prix at each show in succession. The winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping will be rewarded with a €1 million bonus prize.