World of Showjumping
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Thrills and spills from the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters, part two

Tuesday, 14 March 2023
CSI5* The Dutch Master 2023

With sixteen of the world's best horse-and-rider combinations in the jump-off, the second act of The Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in 's-Hertogenbosch turned into a race against the clock. With Olympic champions, a double world champion, six former Rolex Grand Prix winners and the master of the faster – Julien Epaillard – all among those in the jump-off, there was never any doubt about where it was heading. 

As second man out against the clock, Epaillard posted a brilliant round with his home-bred Donatello d'Auge – pushing von Eckermann down to a temporary runner-up position by 0.46 seconds. And, with such a fast round, even Epaillard had to smile a little.

With this, we look back at the thrills and spills from the jump-off in Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix worth a staggering €1,000,000. 

All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ First out in the jump-off, Henrik von Eckermann had no choice but to risk it all. With four long stretches and two roll-backs waiting, a horse with absolutely everything was needed – and several of the horses in the jump-off were capable of getting the job done. However, going flat out on the opening, very long, stretch from the first to the second fence in the jump-off, sent von Eckermann too far off into the corner in the landing and he lost time already in the roll-back to the combination that followed next. Crossing the finish line, the clock showed 38.52 seconds and the look on von Eckermann’s face as he left the ring clearly showed that he knew that he had left the door open. Here he is on the way to the third last fence in the jump-off.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei could also not get it just right this time around, and had to settle for the fifth place 0.93 behind the winners.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ He knew he would be hard to beat when he shaved off 0.20 seconds on Epaillard's time. Yet, it was a nervous wait for Ward with another twelve still to go. "It was lot of stress having to watch the remaining 12 riders in the jump-off," Ward said.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ This was the second fence in the jump-off, and right after the riders had to turn sharp back to the left for the former combination of 12ab. Coming flying in, the turn got tricky for many. Here Gerrit Nieberg gets ready for landing with Blues d’Aveline CH.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Janne-Friederike Meyer in the combination. Unfortunately for the German rider, a pole on the next oxer fell to the ground and she had to settle for 12th place.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Steve Guerdat racing down towards the Rolex upright with Dynamix de Belheme. In the end, their time of 38.53 seconds was good enough for fourth.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ In the jump-off, two poles fell for Harry Charles and Balou du Reventon.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Turn and burn! Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not S, who finished 7th after a double clear round and a jump-off time of 39.48.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Simon Delestre was cheered on by the crowds as he was ahead of Mclain Ward towards the last fence, but the risk came on the expense...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ ... of a rail on the very last oxer – dropping the French rider to 10th, however with the fastest time of the jump-off in 37.77 seconds.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ As last to go in the jump-off, home hero Lars Kersten gave it a good shot but had to settle for 6th place when the clock stopped on 39.01 seconds for him and Hallilea.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Epaillard was beaten by Ward, but not at all disappointed. "I'm very happy, my horse jumped amazing today. I tried to do my best, the horse is naturally fast but he is only 10. I saw the distance to the last and it was very, very long, and I didn't want to take the risk," the French speed specialist said.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ After the jump-off, comes cuddles... Annie and Virginie...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ King Edward and Louise...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Dynamix and Emma.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Standing ovation for home hero Lars Kersten who has had a brilliant start to 2023.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The winners: Mclain Ward and HH Azur pocketed the first prize of €330,000, as well as the bonus of €500,000, and will be on the hunt for the Grand Slam bonus of €1,000,000 at CHIO Aachen.

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