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Fuchs retains the Rolex Grand Prix crown at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Sunday, 05 May 2024
CSI5* Royal Windsor Horse Show 2024

Photo @ Royal Windsor Horse Show/Peter Nixon Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei; winners of the Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show. Photo @ Royal Windsor Horse Show/Peter Nixon.


Edited press release from Royal Windsor Horse Show



A thrilling Rolex Grand Prix provided a fitting conclusion to the CSI5* showjumping at Royal Windsor Horse Show. Bernardo Costa Cabral’s up-to-height 1.60m course required precision, bravery and athleticism to produce the clear round required to progress to the jump-off. The first clear came from France’s Simon Delestre riding the 12-year-old Cayman Jolly Jumper (Hickstead x Quaprice Bois Margot), with Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca and Denver de Talma (Vigo Cece x Canturo*Bois Margot) setting up the jump-off. 

In all, 12 progressed into the jump-off to vie for a share of the €500,000 prize fund, including three from the home nation — much to the delight of the passionate crowd. 

The first two into the arena for the second round accrued faults under the pressure of trying to set fast enough speed to win. It was Britain’s Matt Sampson who was the first to jump clear aboard the 16-year-old Daniel (Heartbreaker x San Patrignano Mister), setting an impressive time to beat of 46.80 seconds. Compatriot Tim Gredley followed, jumping a steady round and picking up one time fault to make it a British one-two in the early stages. 

However, Sweden’s Petronella Andersson spoiled the British party, taking the lead with a time of 45.38 seconds aboard Odina Van Klapscheut (I Am Moerhoeve's Star x Landor S). Her lead was short-lived as Italy's Giulia Martinengo Marquet — second yesterday in the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup — jumped a beautifully smooth round aboard Delta Del'Isle (Tibet Tame x Grain de Soleil) to take over pole position. The lead changed quickly again, this time with world no. 4 Martin Fuchs – last year’s victor – taking over three seconds off the current leading time riding Leone Jei (Baltic VDL x Corland) to 41.40 seconds.

Steve Guerdat and Dynamix de Belheme (Snaike de Blondel x Cornet Obolensky) – reigning European Champions – gave it their best shot with another immaculate performance, but were not able to match their Swiss compatriot’s time and finished in eventual third after stopping the clock on 41.86 seconds. Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet, last to go, snatched the runner-up position with Bond Jamesbond de Hay (Diamant de Semilly x Kannan) when crossing the finish line in 41.75 seconds. Following Fuchs, Wathelet and Guerdat in the top three were Great Britain's Robert Whitaker and Vermento (Argento x Skippy 12), who pushed Martinengo Marquet down to fifth.

On winning consecutive Rolex Grand Prix titles at Royal Windsor Horse Show, Fuchs said: “It’s obviously fantastic, not just to win back-to-back but the whole atmosphere of being here – it’s so special. I only brought one horse this week which puts a lot of pressure on the one class, but I felt very confident after a good round on Friday. Today I knew when I walked the course that it suited us very well.”

Talking about the flying round, the Swiss rider stated: “I knew that I had to risk everything as I had some of the fastest riders in the world coming after me. Leone Jei has a huge stride, so I have to try to ride tight turns and leave some strides out on the straight lines – his energy and ability lets me leave out strides which other horses aren’t able to do.”

Robert Whitaker, the best of the British contingent, said: “I knew the jump-off would be very difficult today for me to be quicker than Martin, Steve and Gregory, but I did what I thought I could with him [Vermento]. If I’d been offered fourth place at the start of the week I would have taken it, so I’m very happy!”

Whitaker went on to say: "I enjoy it every time I jump at Royal Windsor; the setting is amazing and the crowd is always fantastic.”


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