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

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 clash of titans. 

The 18 best horse-and-rider-combinations from the first round continued on to the second round over another massive course set by the German course designer Frank Rothenberger, who for the 2024-edition had decided to turn the traditional double of ditches into a triple combination – with an oxer jumping in. Eleven of the riders that returned for round two managed to solve all the questions asked by Rothenberger and four delivered double clears to move on to the jump-off.

With this photo special, we look back at the second round as well as the jump-off that decided 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. Ireland's Denis Lynch took his son Nick to check out the course for the second round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Laura Kraut and her stunning Baloutinue were the pathfinders for the second round that saw four pairs deliver a double clear and secure an exciting finale for the most prestigious Grand Prix in the world. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ After recording four faults in round one, Daniel Deusser and Killer Queen VDM posted a clear in round two to eventually finish 11th.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Just two champions helping each other out: After delivering a clear in the second round with Killer Queen VDM, Daniel Deusser shared a moment of advice with Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson that were the next into the ring at Soers.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Brash – the only rider to ever have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – added another four faults to his score, making it a total of eight after two rounds.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Christian Kukuk steered the wonderful 10-year-old mare Just Be Gentle to a fast clear in round two and the pair finished 7th in the end.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Flying the Irish flag: Cian O'Connor and Fermoy rounded off the top ten after a clear in round two.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Ashford Farm's Enda Carroll celebrating Jana Wargers and Dorette that jumped clear in round two to end 6th.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Well on their way towards Paris: Jana Wargers and Dorette showed great form during the week at CHIO Aachen.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ All eyes on Dallas Vegas Batilly, clear in round two with Ben Maher to finish 5th as the fastest of those on a total score of four.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. The first double clear of the day came from USA's McLain Ward and Ilex.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Two done, one to go: Ward was sure there would be a jump-off to follow and seemed to start going through the course while still inside the ring.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. It's a team effort: McLain Ward's groom Virginie Casterman celebrates the double clear.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Team Ward at the in-gate.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Thumbs up from Martin Fuchs after Leone Jei delivered another double clear in the Rolex Grand Slam, joining Ward in the decisive jump-off.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Hop Swiss!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Kendra Claricia Brinkop's lovely Tabasco de Toxandria Z had one rail down in round two, plus two time faults.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Marcus Ehning's dreams of defending his 2023-title ended on the very last fence of round two – with a collective gasp going through a sold-out Soers.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Ehning thanks Coolio 42 on their way out.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. The new Aachen-pet: Richard Vogel was last week's crowd favourite at Soers.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Vogel's groom Felicia Wallin and the German team vet Jan-Hein Swagemakers could celebrate once more, when United Touch S delivered a double clear and joined the jump-off as the last pair to go.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Vogel thanks United Touch S.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Mclain Ward and Ilex were the first out in the jump-off of four...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ..and gave it their best shot.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Stopping the clock on 41.02, Ward and Ilex set the pace for the battle in the jump-off. “He did everything exactly the way I planned,” Ward said afterwards of Ilex. “In hindsight, I could have done eight to the last pretty easily, but I had a fade-out and then it felt slow. The horse was jumping better the last round than in the first, so you always kick yourself a little bit, but Andre took a great risk and it paid off and you know that's great sport. I can't be disappointed with anything other than that you certainly would like to win.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. On a mission: Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei were clear all the way...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. the penultimate Mercedes-Benz oxer, where the Swiss rider had to add four faults to his 39.03 seconds.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ There are many ups and downs in this sport, so what better than to have someone to share it all with.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Preparing for landing! "The whole time I thought ‘I'm not going to get there’. But, somehow I got there and she cleared it and I think the risk to the last two jumps and her quickness made it happen,” Andre Thieme said about his ride to the last fence.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Smiling on his way to the finish-line... "I thought I didn't take all the risk to the last and I was still quite sure the time was good enough," Vogel said afterwards about his jump-off.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Last to go, Richard Vogel had the chance of his life to write history on home soil at the legendary venue. And he got as close as one can get, even celebrating in the landing as the clock was ticking towards his 38.64 seconds – but as he turned around with his fist punching the air...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ...the top rail of the last Rolex upright was already on its way down to the holy grass of Aachen as United Touch S had clipped it out of the cups with the hindlegs, handing the €500.000 victory to...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ...Andre Thieme!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The lovely Leone Jei.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Wrapping up an unforgettable week in Aachen.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. An iconic duo: Lee McKeever and McLain Ward.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ That was it!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Over and out from the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen 2024!

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