Pedro Veniss & Quabri d’Isle earlier in the week at CHIO Aachen. Ph. ©Erin Gilmore for NF
The show week of the CHIO Aachen 2017 is gradually coming to a close and the startlist has been released of the 40 riders who are going to compete on Sunday afternoon, in the Rolex Grand Prix, the Grand Prix of Aachen.
A huge surprise up front: The current Grand Slam contender, Pedro Veniss, will not be on the starting list, as became clear after the third and last qualifier on Saturday, July 21, the Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia. Veniss and Quabri de I’sle had two fences down, and Veniss pulled up and retired.
“I noticed in the ring that my horse, ‘Quabri de l‘Isle’ didn’t feel good. He wasn’t in his usual form, so I retired right after the first few obstacles,” commented a visibly disappointed, Pedro Veniss, who could only have secured himself a place in the Major final, if he had achieved a top placing in Saturday’s class.
“It was my big dream to compete in the ‘Rolex Grand Prix’ on Sunday, but of course the well-being of ‘Quabri’ definitely takes priority.”
Even if luck wasn’t on the side of Veniss in Aachen, his personal Rolex Grand Slam is not over yet. At the 2017 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ this coming September, the Brazilian rider still has the chance to claim his second Major victory within a Grand Slam cycle. A bonus that the British show jumper, Scott Brash, will have his sights set on this Sunday. Brash, the winner of the $3,000,000 CP ‘International’ Grand Prix presented by Rolex at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in 2016, was one of the 40 riders to qualify for the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.
Brash will be battling it out against the strongest competitors the international show jumping sport has to offer: heading his list of rivals is the current number one in the world rankings, Kent Farrington from the USA, who demonstrated that he is in absolute top form after riding to victory in Saturday’s Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia. His team colleagues, Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Lauren Hough and Laura Kraut are all on board too. Also on the starting list for the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen: the Olympic gold-medallist Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, Eric Lamaze from Canada as well as Kevin Staut and Roger-Yves Bost from France. The Irish rider Bertram Allen; the Italian show-jumper Lorenzo de Luca, Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya, Henrik von Eckermann from Sweden and the Dutchman Harrie Smolders have also secured themselves a ticket for the final. Together with the youngest Major winner of all time, Olivier Philippaerts from Belgium, who won the Grand Prix at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in 2012 at the tender age of 19, is accompanied by his fellow countrymen Gregory Wathelet and Pieter Devos, who won the Major in Calgary in 2013.
Twelve riders will be representing the host nation, including last year’s winner, Philipp Weishaupt; the three-time Aachen Champion, Ludger Beerbaum; the winner from the year 2005, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum as well as the youngsters, Laura Klaphake and Maurice Tebbel.
The best riders in the world will be competing against each other in the “Rolex Grand Prix, the Grand Prix of Aachen” on Sunday, the competition commences at 1:15 p.m. One of them will leave the most famous arena in the world as the new Major winner. The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is entering a new round!