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Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos unbeatable in the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva

Sunday, 14 December 2014
Rolex Grand Slam 2014 Geneva

In a league of their own: Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos won the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva.
In a league of their own: Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos won the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva. All photos (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos made it their second triumph in Geneva this weekend, when they won Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix and the top prize of 297 000 CHF. After claiming the victory in Friday's Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, Brash made it a perfect end to his show by throwing all competition aside and yet again underlining why he is ranked the best rider in the world. With thirteen riders in the jump-off it was by no means an easy win for the British rider, who had to battle it out against a strong field of competitors.

The first clear round of the day came from home rider Paul Estermann, who made sure the roof lifted in Palexpo as the Swiss crowd went crazy. It looked like next to go Martin Fuchs would ride another clear round too, but unfortunately the talented rider was kept away from the jump-off by a single time penalty. The disappointment was nevertheless made up for when Alain Jufer secured a jump-off with the second Swiss clear of the day, and the temperature rose further among the audience. For the Swiss, that was it though as none of the other home heroes could clear the thirteen first fence track.

The two Swiss riders were joined by eleven more for the jump-off, and with super-fast names like Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, Penelope Leprevost, Maikel van der Vleuten, Scott Brash, Christian Ahlmann and Roger Yves Bost in it there was no doubt that this was going to be a fast affair.

The acrobatic Qoud´coeur De La Loge ended second with Bosty in the saddle.
The acrobatic Qoud´coeur De La Loge ended second with Bosty in the saddle.

Estermann opened the jump-off with no luck and three down, and the hopes of a home win were slowly sinking. Although Alain Jufer yet again did an impressive clear round on the sky high Wiveau M (Niveau x Concorde) it did not look fast enough to win the class, and in the end Jufer had to settle for 6th place.

Next in the ring was the winners of the Grand Prix in Doha – Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on Casall Ask (Caretino x Lavall I). Bengtsson was as always fast, but did not take out strides on either of the two lines from the second to the third fence nor on the one from the fifth to the sixth – either way his tight turns brought the time down to 36.55 and the Swedish rider took over the lead. Penelope Leprevost tried to catch Rolf, and although she in comparison left out a stride on each of the two lines the time was 0.81 slower than that of Bengtsson and aboard Vagabond de la Pomme (Vigo D´arsouilles) she slotted in behind him. Lorenzo de Luca did another clear round as well on Zoe II (Kannan x Goes Without Saying), but after having to make a long turn around to the combination the clock stopped on 39.42 seconds. Luck was not on Maikel van der Vleuten's side today, who really had a good chance – the front pole on the fifth oxer fell and the Dutch rider fell down the ranks.

Scott Brash entered the ring as next to go, and full of confidence in a Hello Sanctos (Quasimodo V. Molendreef x Nabab De Reve) that is in a super shape he set off. The world nr. one did like Bengtsson, and did not leave a stride out on the line from the second vertical to the third oxer – but this also helped him to get a perfect turn to the following combination. Taking out a stride to do four on the next line Sanctos came flying in over the penultimate gate though, and clearing the final Rolex vertical Scott had shaved off 0.86 seconds on Rolf's time to take over the lead.

Third: Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask.
Third: Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask.

They all tried, but none of the remaining riders could catch Scott and Sanctos. Christian Ahlmann had to see Codex One (Contendro I x Glueckspilz) pull with him the top pole on the penultimate gate and Kent Farrington suffered the same fate, while Henrik von Eckermann had two poles down. As last two go Gerco Schröder also had a pole down.

Two French riders showed off though. Kevin Staut rode another great clear on his faithful partner Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Capricieux Des Six Censes) to stop the clock on 37.23 and slotted into a temporary third. One rider later Staut had to step down to fourth though, as Bosty rode one of his trademark breath taking acrobatic rounds on Qoud'coeur De La Loge (Ideal De La Loge Sf x Tenor De La Cour). The French rider almost got it short where others had it long on four strides to the penultimate gate, and his efforts to catch Scott nearly paid off – when he crossed the finish line the timer showed a round only 0.25 slower and Bosty took over the runner-up position to squeeze Bengtsson down to third, Staut to fourth and Leprevost to fifth.

Once again, Scott and Sanctos proved to be totally untouchable. The two are now in the run to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – as well as one million Euros in prize-money. And if anybody can do it, it's this pair.

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