When the best show jumpers in the world meet up at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ from September 4th-8th, this year for the first time ever the focus will also be on the Rolex Grand Slam. This ultimate challenge provides the competitors with the opportunity to become an international equestrian sport legend. Seven of the ten leading riders in the world rankings will take part in this competition staged at the traditional showgrounds at the foot of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Beezie Madden is currently lying in second place in the world rankings. According to the US-American rider, “the Rolex Grand Slam raises our sport up to an ever higher level. It is fantastic that such a renowned company like Rolex, which is so closely linked to the world of sports, is showing such further commitment to our sport.” The successful female rider, who will be competing with “Simon” and “Cortes C”, is looking forward to the ‘Masters’. Earlier this year she already came seventh in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen with Cortes C. She is very optimistic about the coming days: “At the ‘Masters’ the best riders in the world battle it out for the highest prize-money in the world at one of the best showgrounds in the world. I will try my hardest and hope that at the end of the day that is a little bit more than all of the others are able to do…”
The French rider, Roger-Yves Bost, who recently won the European Championship title in Herning, Denmark, will also be competing in Spruce Meadows. He can rely on the support of an extremely strong team comprising of Kevin Staut, Eugenie Angot and Penelope Leprevost. Christian Ahlmann is currently heading the world rankings. The favourites also include the Swiss Olympic gold medallist, Steve Guerdat. For him the entire show is a unique highlight: “It is very exciting being able to compete at the ‘Masters’ – especially because of the Rolex Grand Slam.” It is a home game for Eric Lamaze, who of course knows that in Canada all eyes will be on him – and that the fans and media love him more than anyone else. Lamaze was able to ride to victory here in 2005 and 2011. “That was a dream come true for me,” he commented. The next, the absolute ultimate success, would be winning the Rolex Grand Slam – “that would turn the rider into a legend,” said Lamaze.
The Rolex Grand Slam
The system of the Rolex Grand Slam is simple: Anyone, who wins three shows in a row, receives 1 million Euros on top of the prize-money of each show. Moreover, anyone who wins two out of the three shows, also receives a bonus. If two shows are won in succession, the bonus is 500,000 Euros. If the rider is successful in qualifying for the “two out of three mode”, but doesn’t claim the victories at two consecutive shows, the bonus total 250,000 Euros. It is possible to claim the bonus riding different horses. This system is infinite, it is not limited to a calendar year. It is a never ending story.
The Rolex Grand Slam trophy for show jumping is a cup and cover created by the London jewellers Garrard, it is made of sterling silver with double scroll handles. A delicate ribbed spiral stem curves around the middle section moving up towards a tulip shaped vessel with a lid that is surmounted by a twisted shape finial. The trophy stands upon an integral silver plinth, and overall it is 45 cms high. Garrard was established in 1735 and is the oldest jewellers in the world, serving British sovereigns and royalty from around the globe, renowned for producing the crowns in the Tower of London. The firm has made ceremonial regalia and presentation silverware for governments and important international institutions, and created sporting trophies for world-class events. This trophy was designed by Corinna Pike, the bespoke and regal jewels designer, and heritage director at Garrard. Her approach is to incorporate curved forms inspired by the natural world, with meticulous hand-painted artwork in watercolours and gouache to create sinuous flowing harmony in her designs.
The 2013 Debut Event in Aachen
The British rider, Nick Skelton, succeeded in winning the debut event at the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen 2013. He won the jump-off of the Rolex Grand Prix in front of a crowd of 40,000 spectators in the, needless to say, sold-out main stadium in the Soers of Aachen with a well-calculated and experienced round on his horse, Big Star. Jannika Sprunger from Switzerland came second and third place went to Patrice Delaveau from France. Unfortunately, Nick Skelton will not be able to continue his personal efforts to win the Grand Slam at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, because “Big Star” is recovering from a ganglion on his leg. “I will be starting to compete again in Geneva,” he explained, when he will attempt to win the next leg of the Rolex Grand Slam at the beginning of December.
Official Website: www.rolexgrandslam.com