World of Showjumping
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Highlights from the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen, part one

Wednesday, 05 July 2023
CHIO Aachen 2023

WHAT A HORSE! The only 9-year-old Zineday – who is by Lugder Beerbaum's former five-star Grand Prix stallion Zinedine and out of the mare Paola who herself competed internationally with Beerbaum, Henrik von Eckermann as well as Daniel Deusser – was one of the horses that really stood out in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen. 

Jumping clear in both rounds of the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen at the age of nine is no mean feat, and Philipp Weishaupt was as impressed as the rest. “He showed his quality, he is an absolute outstanding horse. He’s a young horse, and how he handled the first round, it’s absolutely insane and it’s so much fun to ride him," Weishaupt said about Zineday. 

And with this, we look back at the first round of the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen – which as expected had it all, including some really special horses that we hope to see a lot of in the future. 

Photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Over the week in Aachen, forty world-class riders had managed to qualify for the Rolex Grand Prix so as expected Frank Rothenberger’s tracks were no walk in the park. While French pathfinders Olivier Perreau and GL Events Dorai d'Aiguilly made Rothenberger’s first-round fourteen-fence track look deceptively easy when jumping a clear round, it soon became apparent that this was not the case.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ As next in the ring, Victoria Gulliksen and Papa Roach got a taste of how difficult it actually was... We have no idea how Papa Roach managed to get over the b-element of the combination clear after having the oxer coming in down, but somehow he did! Several horses made mistakes on the oxer at 4a with yellow poles and a water tray.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ A few were also unlucky to be caught out by the open water, such as reigning European champions Andre Thieme and DSP Chakaria.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The final line of four long or five short strides from a vertical to a Rolex oxer was the real heartbreaker as the latter fell again and again – especially for those that opted for a long four. Here Donald Whitaker and Di Caprio who chose the long four, but who were too far off.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The second clear of the competition came from Rodrigo Pessoa and Major Tom, a horse that looks destined for fame.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Killer Queen VDM must love Aachen. Once again, she jumped clear in the first round for Daniel Deusser.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The face says it all... This line was extremely demanding. Here Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Bentley de Sury give their everything to clear the final oxer.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Like a canter in the park on a Sunday... Eugenio Garza Perez and Contago impressed when they made light work of the tricky track.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Marcus Ehning and Stargold were one of four German pairs to jump clear in round one, much to the delight of the home crowds.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Just like Thieme, Ludger Beerbaum had a mistake on the open water with Mila. This would be the last round Beerbaum jumped internationally, as he later in the afternoon announced his retirement.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Gerrit Nieberg and Ben came to Aachen to defend their 2022-title in the Rolex Grand Prix, and lived up to expectations when clearing the first-round track easily.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Yuri Mansur's lovely Miss Blue-Saint Blue Farm did her first international start in a CSI1* 1.30m less than one year ago, but is a natural talent and joined round two of the Rolex Grand Prix as one of five quick four-faulters.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson had one very cheap rail on the oxer at no. 3, and did not move on to round two despite a great first round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Got to love Dynamix! The 10-year-old mare jumped a fantastic clear with Steve Guerdat in round one. We can't wait to see what the future holds for this incredible mare, who makes everything look so effortless.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ They just keep on delivering... After winning the Rolex Grand Prix of La Baule in June, Nicola Philippaerts and Katanga vh Dingeshof continued to impress in Aachen. After a double clear in Thursday's Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup, the two jumped clear again in the first round of the Grand Prix.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ When at Soers...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The super-cute Gisborne VDL.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ For McLain Ward and his 17-year-old HH Azur who came to Aachen as live contenders with the chance to win their third Major in a row – and become historical alongside Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos – the Grand Slam dream got an abrupt end as poles fell early on in the course, at fence no. 2 and 3, and the American rider wisely decided to retire. This would turn out to be Annie's last start, as the American rider announced her retirement later that night.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Twelve clear pairs were joined by five more on four faults completing the start field for round two; Simon Delestre and Dexter Fontenis Z were one of those who had a mistake on 4a but were still fast enough to qualify for the second round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The last clear in round one came from Ben Maher and Dallas Vegas Batilly, that also delivered a double clear in the Nations Cup.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The stunning Leone Jei had an unlucky fault in the first round, but still made it to round two as one of the five fastest four-aulters.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Richard Vogel's powerhouse United Touch S once again jumped unbelievable but had the skinny plank after the open water down. However, the pair was quick enough to make it to round two, completing the starting field of seventeen horse-and-combinations.

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