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Home heroes Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei win the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva

Sunday, 12 December 2021
CHI Geneva 2021

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei won the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

The 60th edition of CHI Geneva concluded on Sunday with the CSI5* 1.65m Rolex Grand Prix, worth CHF 1,000,000, where the home hero Martin Fuchs on the talented 9-year-old Leone Jei took the second Grand Slam victory of his career. 

The course set by Gerard Lachat (SUI) and Louis Konickx (NED) was tough but fair, counting 14 obstacles and 18 efforts – putting the 40 horse-and-rider combinations that had qualified to compete up for a big test. With the world’s very best present in Geneva, the crowds gathered at Palexpo were in for a treat with great sport. 

As number 24 to go, Darragh Kenny (IRL) on the incredibly consistent VDL Cartello (Cartani 4 x Lord) produced the first clear round of the class and was followed by Martin Fuchs on Leone Jei (Baltic VDL x Corland). Kent Farrington (USA) on Gazelle (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro), Max Kühner (AUT) on Elektric Blue P (Eldorado v. Zeshoek x For Pleasure), Laura Kraut (USA) on Baloutinue (Balou du Rouet x Landor S) and Harrie Smolders (NED) on Monaco (Cassini II x Contender) also delivered, making it a quality jump-off of six. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Kenny opened the jump-off and set the time to beat at 43.47 seconds – a time soon bettered by Fuchs, who took over the lead when crossing the finish line in 41.54 seconds. Farrington set Gazelle in top gear and looked set to catch Fuchs, but when the last fence fell to the ground the US rider had to settle in behind – eventually ending fifth. With a time of 42.22, Kühner – who was in the contest for the two-out-of-four-bonus after his win at The Dutch Masters earlier this yer – slotted into second, between Fuchs and Kenny. When Kraut had two fences down, it was up to Smolders as the last man out to decide the last Rolex Major of 2021. Taking all the risk with Monaco, Smolders stopped the clock on 41.77, a time good enough for a runner-up position, while Fuchs could celebrate the second Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva-win of his career. Kühner took the third spot, while Kenny placed fourth, Farrington fifth and Kraut sixth. 

“This is my second Grand Prix victory here in Geneva, what a fantastic day,” Fuchs said afterwards. “Leone Jei jumped great in both rounds. I knew that the jump-off suited me very well and when I walked the course, I walked the jump-off as well and I was very excited about it, because I knew I could leave out strides. I knew that it would be difficult for my colleagues to do the same, because Leone Jei has such a massive stride, so it is hard to do the same round as him. Thank to this, I could put a lot of pressure on my colleagues and I was a bit lucky that Kent Farrington had a fault at the last fence, and that Harrie Smolders and Max Kühner were just a little bit slower. I am delighted with my second victory, and for again being the Live Contender in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.” 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The top three: Martin Fuchs, Harrie Smolders and Max Kühner. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“As Martin said, his horse has such an amazing, huge stride and the jump-off suited them very well,” second placed Smolders commented. “We watched him, but we knew we could not copy the amount of strides on the last line, so we knew we had to find it somewhere else. We tried in the first turn, to turn a bit tighter and make that a bit quicker. I think I had a pretty good start, but in the end it was not enough.” 

“I want to give a compliment to the course designer today, because in all fairness, I think he probably has the hardest job of the show,” Smolders continued. “Today I must say that the course was tough but very fair, the time allowed was exactly good. Faults were everywhere on the course and with six clears, I think we saw incredible sport and a great jump-off.” 

“Of course, this was a big aim, to win this Grand Prix also, but I saw Martin’s round and he once again perfectly used all the skills from his horse for the jump-off,” third placed Kühner complimented the winner. “Leone Jei is probably not the fastest horse naturally, but Martin made him the fastest horse – so he well deserved to win today.” 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Event director Sophie Mottu Morel was happy with the 60th edition of CHI Geneva, and said: “The public came in numbers, even if the situation has been difficult. It was really a great anniversary and we had a really special gift with the victory of Martin, but we had also the gift of great sport,” she smiled, thanking the sponsors and the 700 volunteers for a successful event. 

 



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