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Inside The Dutch Masters: Friday 10th March 2023

Saturday, 11 March 2023
CSI5* The Dutch Masters 2023

Photo © The Dutch Masters / Digitshots Willem Greve and Gradorado TN N.O.P., winners of the CSI5* VDL Groep Prize at The Dutch Masters. Photo © The Dutch Masters / Digitshots.


Press release from Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping



Held under the bright lights of the Brabanthallen, 38 riders, representing 13 nations, contested Friday’s feature class – the VDL Groep Prize – on the second day of The Dutch Masters 2023. This impressive line-up featured no less than 8 of the world’s current top 10-ranked riders, including the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender McLain Ward, world no.1 Henrik von Eckermann and the Rolex Grand Prix defending champion Daniel Deusser. In addition, seven Rolex Testimonees and 12 riders from the home nation contested Louis Konickx’s masterfully designed course.

First to enter the arena was Britain’s Scott Brash, the only winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, riding the nine-year-old stallion Hello Valentino, who set the standard with a flawless clear round. Second to go, Simon Delestre with the feisty Cayman Jolly Jumper, followed suit to ensure a jump-off. To the delight of the Dutch crowd, three riders from the home nation secured a place in the second round, including 60-year-old Loewie Joppen, who put in an impressive performance aboard Havel van de Wolfsakker Z.

12 horse and rider combinations successfully made it through to the jump-off, over a shortened course of 8 fences. Brash set the early pace as the first to go, with a clear round in a time of 42.10 seconds. His lead looked to be in jeopardy as Delestre set-off meaning business, coming home in an exceptional 37.54 seconds, but accruing four faults enroute. Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann, the only woman in the jump-off, temporarily took over pole position as third to go, but with Delestre’s speedy round, the following riders knew the time was beatable.

The lead changed several times before Dutchman, Willem Greve, set the crowd alight riding Grandorado TN N.O.P., stepping up the pace once more to post a clear in a time of 36.62 seconds. It was left to Rolex Testimonee Harry Charles, as last to go, to attempt to knock Greve off the top spot, but despite an impressive display of speed and agility, his time of 37.93 was only good enough for second place.

Speaking after the class, Greve said: “I am extremely happy to win in front of my home crowd. The first round was big, but it was fair on the horses – it is the second biggest class of the show so it should be a real test, and I thought it made for a great competition. I have had this horse since he was three-years-old, so I have a produced him throughout the levels, which makes this win even more special. He is just such a super horse, and I have worked hard over the winter to improve his rideability and his fitness – he is feeling fabulous now, so I am looking forward to Sunday.”

When asked about his tactics going into the jump-off, the Dutchman said: “I was near the end of the class so I managed to watch a few other combinations before I went in. I thought that if I got a good jump at the second fence, that I could do seven strides to the next and then take advantage of his big stride down to the last fence and it worked out very well!”



Walking the course with: Louis Konickx

Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Thomas Lovelock Louis Konickx. Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Thomas Lovelock

For you, why is The Dutch Masters such a special show?

The Dutch Masters is such a special show as it draws the best show jumpers in the world to compete here in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and this is incredible to witness. In 1994, when we hosted the first World Cup™ Final, it was a very extraordinary day and one that will go into the history books. The fans that come to this show are so vibrant, passionate and knowledgeable, and this really adds to how unique it is. As a course designer, the lead up to a show can be challenging as you are questioning whether the courses will be a correct fit, but you just have to trust in yourself. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the course that you have designed for Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix?

I have designed this year’s Rolex Grand Prix course with my assistant Quintin Maertens – who is a very talented individual. We are extremely happy with the size of this year’s arena as it allows us to build lots of challenges and different distances. We have some tough lines that require the riders to be totally precise in their rhythm, speed and power. 

How many clears are you expecting? 

Sometimes the number of clears can be viewed as a dilemma for course designers. In Holland, and in many other countries, fans like it when there are lots of clears in the first round as it results in an interesting jump-off, especially if someone from their own country makes it through. I think I will be happy if there are around 10 people in Sunday’s jump-off.  



Word from the organiser: Marcel Hunze

Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Thomas Lovelock Marcel Hunze. Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Thomas Lovelock.

You must be delighted that this year’s edition of The Dutch Masters is going ahead with full capacity?

It is great that after several difficult years due to the pandemic that we can have a full edition of The Dutch Masters with crowds, hospitality and the entertainment village all returning. The after parties are also promising to be fun this year!  

How has planning been going for this year’s event?

The planning has been going very well! We have seen a huge amount of interest from the fans that are looking forward to attend again. As a result, we are expecting a lot of crowds and exhibitors to be at the show to watch the best riders of the world – so everything is going smoothly at the moment.

Is there anything new this year that The Dutch Masters has introduced? 

In 2020 a lot of changes were made, but unfortunately the event had to be cancelled only one-hour before the show was meant to start, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For this year’s edition, we have implemented these changes, so it is a great opportunity for those attending to see the differences in the set up. 

The team have added new restaurants, have improved facilities for the audience, and have increased the size of the warm-up arena for the riders. We hope that everyone will enjoy these changes that we have made.



About the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping



The Rolex Grand Slam is considered by the sport to be the ultimate equestrian challenge, primarily due to the sporting prowess required to achieve this feat. It is a quest taken on by the world’s top riders, vying to secure the legendary status associated with winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

The format of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is simple: anyone who wins three Majors in a row receives the Rolex Grand Slam trophy and a €1 million bonus on top of the class’s classes’ prize-money. If that same rider then continues their success by winning a fourth Major in succession, they will be rewarded with an additional €1 million bonus. If two shows are won in succession, the bonus is €500,000 or if an athlete wins two majors in a period of four successive shows, the bonus is €250,000.

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