Geneva, Switzerland - In front of a huge crowd of over 9,500 fans, Switzerland's Steve Guerdat riding the great Nino des Buissonnets, today won the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, and becomes the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
Each time he entered the arena, the Swiss crowd greeted Rolex Testimonee Guerdat with wave after wave of cheers, which at one stage seemed to rock the foundations of the huge Palexpo Arena. He was one of 10 riders to make it through to the jump-off and, fourth to go, his time of 43.26 seconds was only briefly threatened by the World No. 1 Scott Brash (GBR), who produced a second clear round just 0.32 seconds behind Guerdat.
"I get a little scared sometimes on what is going to be next and how I am ever going to be able to give to the fans who have already had so much success with me here over the years. But every year I come back and something new happens and some bigger wins and it just feels amazing!" said a delighted Guerdat.
"Nino has won so much already since the Olympics - he is not jumping a lot but every time he goes out he is in the top and again today. He is just in a class of his own." continued Guerdat.
At one stage it looked as though Belgium's Peter Devos, riding Candy, could make it a 'double' by winning a second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping - he was the 'live' contender having won the CN International presented by Rolex, at Spruce Meadows in September. Having gone clear in the first round he went into the jump-off showing good form, but two poles down and eight faults put paid to his chances of taking the Rolex Grand Prix title.
It was a truly exciting Rolex Grand Prix, with 10 superb spectacular clears around the 14 fence course. The first clear came from the Rolex Grand Prix winner at Calgary - Pieter Devos and Candy. Athina Onassis Miranda (GRE) rode a brilliant round, but was very unlucky to get one time fault on AD Camille Z. Her husband Alvaro de Miranda (BRA) was next into the arena and rode a great clear, followed by Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) who also left the ring on a clean sheet on the stunning Embassy II. Then followed seven more riders with clear rounds; Luciana Diniz (POR), Gerco Schröder (NED), Simon Delestre (FRA), Scott Brash, Kevin Staut (FRA) and Patrice Delaveau (FRA).
The 2013 CHI Geneva has been the most successful in the show's long history with over 40,000 spectators packing into the Palexpo over the four days to watch the some of the world's best riders including Rolex Testimonees Kevin Staut, Eric Lamaze, Meredith Michaesl-Beerbaum and Rodrigo Pessoa compete at the highest level of the sport.
Alban Poudret, Sports Director for CHI Geneva, commented: "It is like a dream, we are flying at the Palexpo Arena. For us, always when Steve wins, it's a big gift, because he is the rider of the show. But this year it was something special you know with the Rolex Grand Slam and more pressure for us, more pressure for Steve, for everybody. To have him winning, it's really a dream come true, but I think he is even better when he has big pressure. He has one eight major Grands Prix in Geneva in nine years, it's incredible. Nobody did that. The bigger the pressure, the better he is!"
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping now takes a break until CHIO Aachen from 11 - 20 July 2014, but Rolex continues to support the sport at the highest level and will be the Official Timepiece at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida from 9 January to 31 March 2014, and also at Indoor Brabant from 20 to 23 March 2014.
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.