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Thrills and spills from the 2024 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen, part one

Tuesday, 09 July 2024
CHIO Aachen 2024

Sunday's €1.5 million Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen – one of the four Majors in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – was a real highlight, with fantastic sport from beginning to end. With the world's very best horse-and-rider combinations at start, some of them doing the last fine-tuning ahead of the Olympic Games in Paris in less than four weeks’ time, the Grand Prix was always going to be a big battle for the first prize of €500.000 and the status as live contender, but perhaps more importantly, the chance to write history in the most prestigious competition in the international showjumping calendar. 

After an absolutely incredible week in Aachen, Germany's own Richard Vogel went into the Rolex Grand Prix as a clear favourite and had a lot of pressure to perform. Here he is out walking the course with USA's McLain Ward, mapping out a plan on how to solve Frank Rothenberger's thirteen-fence first-round track.

And with this photo special, we look back at the first round of the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.

All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. No reproduction of any of the content in this article will be accepted without a written permission, all rights reserved © World of If copyright violations occur, a penalty fee will apply.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ World no. one Henrik von Eckermann did not start in the Grand Prix, but was there to support his wife Janika Sprunger.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ As no. 3 to go, Argentina's José María Larocca and Abril Iconthon were the first pair to post a clear and the two made the difficult course look deceptively easy.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Germany's Marcus Ehning came to Aachen as title-defender of the Grand Prix, and did not disappoint when he delivered a clear round with Coolio 42 as no. 4 to go.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ But then the poles kept falling, also for live contender Willem Greve who decided to retire Highway TN N.O.P. From Ehning's clear as no. 4 to go, the spectators had to wait all the way to...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ ... Lorenzo de Luca and Denver de Talma who as no. 19 into the ring at Soers kept all the fences up.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Scott Brash, the only rider to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, did not have luck on his side as a rail on 9a fell to the ground for him and Hello Jefferson.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Katanga vh Dingeshof loves it in Aachen and after a double clear round in the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup, the 14-year-old mare yet again delivered with Belgium's Nicola Philippaerts.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Cian O'Connor was one of the riders who was clear all the way up to the final Rolex oxer, but who had an agonising rail down on the very last jump of the course.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ This was also the case for reigning European champion Steve Guerdat...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ ...whose Venard de Cerisy jumped absolutely fantastic in round one and wold have deserved a clear round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Laura Kraut and Baloutinue also fell victim to the last Rolex oxer, here flying over the Oscar fence – one of the American-themed jumps with USA being the partner country of CHIO Aachen 2024.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Leone Jei has a fantastic track-record in the Rolex Grand Slam and always delivers. This time was no exception as the 12-year-old gelding jumped a beautiful clear in round one with world no. two Martin Fuchs.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ That last oxer....

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Full focus from Richard Vogel, who was the absolute crowd-favourite in Aachen!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ United Touch S jumping above and beyond in the first round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ McLain Ward greets his fans after delivering a picture-perfect clear with Ilex.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Like so many others, Ben Maher and Dallas Vegas Batilly had a fault coming into the triple combination at 9abc where many of the horses got a bit flat jumping in.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Also Jana Wargers and Dorette had to see a pole fall on 9a, but were clear for the rest.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ As last to go, Kendra Claricia Brinkop impressed yet again with the only 9-year-old Tabasco de Toxandria Z and jumped a clear round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Stephex Stables-boss Stephan Conter greets Kendra Claricia Brinkop by the exit after a fantastic performance.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ They won in 2021, were second in 2023, and fourth in 2022, but this year a pole fell to the ground for Daniel Deusser and the now 14-year-old mare Killer Queen VDM in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Christian Kukuk and Just Be Gentle look tiny in the gigantic stadium at Soers.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The Majors of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping have become the four Grand Prix classes every rider wants to win!

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