This year the World Equestrian Festival not only traditionally kicks off the cycle of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, but is at the same time a new milestone in the biggest challenge of the equestrian sport: Whoever succeeds in emerging as the winner of the “Rolex Grand Prix” at CHIO Aachen 2017, will be the first rider ever to benefit from the new, even more spectacular bonus system of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
Starting with this new cycle of the Grand Slam, The Dutch Masters in ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, is joining the three original events as a fixed annual leg. From now on four Majors – one distributed in each quarter of the year – will be contested: The CHIO Aachen in July, the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September, the CHI Geneva in December and finally The Dutch Masters, which will welcome the best riders in the world in March 2018 for the first time in its capacity as a Major of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
Nevertheless, in spite of the inclusion of a fourth leg, the established mode that three Major victories in succession lead to the Grand Slam triumph and a one million Euro bonus in addition to the prize-money, remains intact. However, if a rider wins the fourth Major directly afterwards, he doubles his bonus up to two million Euros.
For the selected pairs, who are on the starting list of this year’s CHIO Aachen, this means more than ever, full concentration here and now! Because only 40 pairs can qualify for the “Rolex Grand Prix” on the final Sunday – and following tradition the absolute top show-jumpers from all over the globe compete at the World Equestrian Festival together with their best horses.
The equestrian sport elite has been battling it out against each other at the legendary showgrounds at the Soers in Aachen, which attracts around 350,000 visitors every year, since 1927. On the last Sunday, the Main Stadium in Aachen is completely sold-out down to the last standing area. 40,000 euphoric spectators want to be there live, when sporting history is written in the “Rolex Grand Prix”.
Last year a young German rider led the field: Philipp Weishaupt claimed the Major victory riding the grey stallion “LB Convall”, ahead of Scott Brash from Great Britain, the Grand Slam champion of 2014/15, with his mare “Ursula XII”. This pair in turn also won the Grand Prix of the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2016 and thus travelled to the CHI Geneva last December as the current Grand Slam contender.
However, it was Pedro Veniss and “Quabri de l’Isle”, who secured themselves the victory in the Palexpo arena in Geneva – the pair that everyone’s eyes will be set on during the “Rolex Grand Prix” at the CHIO Aachen 2017, when the 34-year-old Brazilian rider and his exceptional stallion will try their hardest to win their second Major victory in a row.
Will Pedro Veniss succeed in pulling off the next step towards taking the Rolex Grand Slam? Or will the journey begin for a different rider? The decision will fall on July 23, 2017 in the Main Stadium in Aachen!