A Look Ahead to the 15th Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final & Geneva CHI

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The podium of the 2014 Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final
The podium of the 2014 Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final
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The high-stakes world of international show jumping moves around the globe from one glamorous location to another until it reaches a climax in December at the end-of-season CHI Geneva, Switzerland. From 10-13 December 2015, the world’s elite horse and rider pairs will gather for this world-renowned indoor show, which dates back to 1926 and for which Rolex has been a presenting partner since 1996. 

The event plays host to two of the sport’s greatest contests: the Rolex International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) Top 10 Final, and the Rolex Grand Prix. In April 2013, the CHI Geneva formed an alliance with CHIO Aachen and the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, joining forces to create the esteemed Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL
The Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, held on Friday 11 December 2015, is one of the most thrilling and intensely competitive classes of the year. The top-10 highest-ranked riders in the world for 2015 are invited to go head-to-head. Only an athlete who has shown consistently brilliant form all year will qualify to compete for the coveted title.

This year three Rolex equestrian Testimonees have qualified for the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final: Great Britain’s Scott Brash; Ireland’s Bertram Allen; and the USA’s Kent Farrington. While Brash will be aiming to retain his 2014 title; this will be the first time Allen has competed, whilst Farrington returns for his second attempt to claim the trophy. 

Rolex has supported the IJRC Top 10 Final since its inauguration in 2001, and several of its equestrian Testimonees have won this prestigious title – Rodrigo Pessoa (2003 and 2005), Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (2004 and 2006), Steve Guerdat (2010) and Scott Brash (2014).

ROLEX GRAND PRIX
The show builds to a peak on Sunday 13 December with the Rolex Grand Prix, one of the three Majors that comprise show jumping’s greatest prize – the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

The Rolex Grand Prix is the most prestigious competition of the winter season, taking place in front of knowledgeable and enthusiastic spectators. With formidable courses guaranteed, winning will require the utmost courage, perfect timing and exquisite skill from each horse and rider pair.

A NEW GRAND SLAM CHAPTER COMMENCES
In Geneva this December the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping torch will be lit once more. Whoever wins the show’s feature class – the Rolex Grand Prix – will have the chance to carry that torch forward and establish their own opportunity to make history and become equestrian legends as Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos have so memorably done this year after winning all three Rolex Grand Slam Majors in a row.

If an athlete can harness physical talent, an exceptional work ethic and the right support system, he or she can then aspire to be the best. As the 2015 show jumping year comes full circle, Scott Brash can reflect on a remarkable 12 months. At CHI Geneva in 2014, the young British rider launched himself on a journey that seemed almost impossible: to win his sport’s greatest prize – the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. He would have to triumph in the three Majors of the year – the Rolex Grands Prix of CHI Geneva, Switzerland; CHIO Aachen, Germany; and the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, Canada. It had never been done; but with brilliance, bravery and true horsemanship, Brash and his incomparable equine partner, Hello Sanctos conquered this extraordinary challenge, and will forever be immortalized as legends of show jumping.

ROLEX TESTIMONEES AT CHI GENEVA
The exclusive group of supreme athletes who can call themselves Rolex equestrian Testimonees has a tremendous record at CHI Geneva – Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, Canada’s Eric Lamaze, and France’s Kevin Staut have all won the Rolex Grand Prix at Geneva’s Palexpo in recent years. Guerdat will be aiming for his third Rolex Grand Prix victory, after taking the honours in 2006 and 2013 aboard Jalisca Solier and Nino des Buissonnets, respectively. Similarly, Lamaze – who with the late, great Hickstead fought off stiff competition from fellow Rolex Testimonee, Meredith MichaelsBeerbaum to take 2008’s crown; and Staut – who effortlessly guided his mare, Silvana de Hus around the arena to win 2010’s jump-off – will each be hoping to add a second Rolex Grand Prix win to their already impressive list of top-level triumphs. 

Kent Farrington, currently number two in the world rankings, and USA’s highest ranked male rider, will be hoping to claim his first CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix victory.

Rolex’s newest Testimonee, Scott Brash will be competing at CHI Geneva in an effort to not only retain his 2014 Rolex Grand Prix title, but also to launch his quest for an unimaginable second Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping accolade.

Brash commented, “I’ve ridden at CHI Geneva for the past two years and it’s definitely my favourite indoor show of the year. The arena is big; the atmosphere is great; and I just love riding there. All the top riders want to compete there; the event gathers the very best horse and rider pairs worldwide.”

One of Germany’s most successful show jumpers, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, will be competing for supremacy at Geneva with Fibonacci 17. Michaels-Beerbaum has been having an excellent year with her equine star, whom she rode at the European Jumping Championships in Aachen in August 2015. 

Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen, will be hungry for a major victory to end what has been a promising year for the rising athlete. The 20-year-old competed in last year’s Rolex Grand Prix for the first time, and he hopes that the experience gained will set him in good stead this time around.

ABOUT ROLEX
Leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, Rolex, headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster watches, all certified as chronometers for their precision, are symbols of excellence, performance and prestige. Pioneer in the development of the wristwatch as early as 1905, the brand is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism introduced in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities, as well as philanthropic programmes.

ROLEX GRAND PRIX PAST WINNERS

2014 Scott Brash (GBR), Hello Sanctos
2013 Steve Guerdat (SUI), Nino des Buissonnets
2012 Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Itôt du Château
2011 Alvaro de Miranda (BRA), AD Ashleigh Drossel Dan
2010 Kevin Staut (FRA), Silvana de Hus
2008 Eric Lamaze (CAN), Hickstead
2007 Ludger Beerbaum (GER), All Inclusive NRW
2006 Steve Guerdat (SUI), Jalisca Solier
2005 Thomas Frühmann (AUT), The Sixth Sense 

ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL PAST WINNERS

2014  Scott Brash (GBR), Hello Sanctos (Geneva)
2013   Daniel Deusser (GER), Evita van de Veldbalie (Stockholm)
2012   Christian Ahlmann (GER), Taloubet Z, (Geneva)
2011   Billy Twomey (IRE), Tinka’s Serenade, (Paris)
2010   Steve Guerdat (SUI), Jalisca Solier, (Geneva)
2009   Marcus Ehning (GER), Plot Blue, (Paris)
2008   Michel Robert (FRA), Kellemoi de Pepita, (Brussels)
2007   Jessica Kürten (IRE), Castle Forbes Libertina, (Geneva)
2006   Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), Shutterfly, (Geneva)
2005   Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Baloubet du Rouet, (Geneva)

*Names in bold denote Rolex equestrian Testimonees

-Source: Revolution Sports