The First Equestrian Major of the Year Welcomes Steve Guerdat, Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender

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Published on July 8, 2016

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Elite performances and highly competitive show jumping will return to Aachen in July, as the world’s finest riders compete in the first equestrian Major of the year.

Considered by many to be the most breathtaking equestrian show in the world, CHIO Aachen attracts a record attendance of passionate supporters, with over 400,000 spectators across 10 days of exhilarating competition.

CHIO Aachen offers competition in five equestrian disciplines, including show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving and vaulting, with the Rolex Grand Prix, the highlight of the competition, on Sunday 17 July.

Designed by the legendary course designer Frank Rothenberger, the course for the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen is widely acknowledged as one of the most demanding for equine athletes, testing horses and riders to the limit of their skill and talent. Crowds in excess of 40,000 are expected to watch Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat tackle this challenge and attempt to maintain his position as the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

THE ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF SHOW JUMPING

Created jointly in 2013 by CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping rewards the rider who wins the Grand Prix at each of the shows, amounting to three Grands Prix in succession.

The Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, has been won by some of the most famous names in the sport, including father and son team Nelson and Rodrigo Pessoa, alongside Rodrigo’s fellow Rolex Testimonees, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Eric Lamaze and Scott Brash. The year 2015 was momentous for the international world of show jumping, as Brash won the pinnacle of equestrian sporting achievement. Aachen was the second Major in his path to writing history, before lifting the prestigious trophy in the atmospheric grass arena at Spruce Meadows.

This year all eyes will be focused on leading Swiss rider and current Olympic champion Steve Guerdat, who is following in the footsteps of Brash by winning at CHI Geneva in December 2015. Guerdat will be looking to continue his quest in challenging for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping at Aachen to firmly establish his own place, alongside Brash, in the ranks of equestrian legends.

EQUESTRIAN TESTIMONEES SET TO COMPETE AT AACHEN

To be the very best, an athlete must be able to deliver repeatedly under pressure. As the world’s leading makers of timepieces, this is something Rolex understands perfectly.

Rolex has developed particularly close partnerships with a handful of the very best riders in the world – its equestrian Testimonees. These men and women are notable not only for their exceptionally high levels of achievement, but also for the virtues of horsemanship and sportsmanship.

They must be patient and persistent, as well as courageous, resilient and quick thinking. It is these qualities that turn a rider into a horseman, qualities found at the heart of every Rolex Testimonee.

Many of Rolex’s Testimonees are set to return with their leading horses this year, to compete for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Two-time individual gold medal winner and Canadian sporting hero Eric Lamaze will be ready to challenge Guerdat. Having won the Rolex title here in 2010, he will be hungry for further success. Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash is expected to return in 2016 to defend his Rolex Grand Prix title, alongside the ‘first lady’ of German show jumping Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, who will be looking to repeat her 2005 victory at Aachen.

Kent Farrington will be eager to continue his winning form at the end of 2015, with victory in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva. Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen, French rider Kevin Staut and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa have also all entered their world class horses to compete for the esteemed Rolex Grand Prix trophy.

Rolex’s iconic dressage Testimonee, the World and Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth has won Aachen’s dressage Grand Prix a breathtaking 11 times, and is set to return again in 2016 to compete in the magnificent 20,000 seater Deutsche Bank stadium.  

AN OPENING CEREMONY LIKE NO OTHER
Rolex has sponsored the Grand Prix at Aachen since 1999 and are proud to continue their enduring partnership with this iconic and emblematic event.

More than 160 horses and around 500 active participants are expected in the impressive main stadium on 12th July for the official opening ceremony. There will be plenty of surprises, spectacular stunts and impressive show elements in the fascinating floodlit atmosphere of the stadium that holds a crowd of 40,000. “Forget everything you know about the CHIO Aachen opening ceremonies to-date. This year’s ceremony will be better than ever”, said Show Director Frank Kemperman.

ROLEX’S EQUESTRIAN HERITAGE
Rolex’s support of show jumping dates back more than half a century. The prestigious Swiss watch brand’s close and long-standing association with equestrianism demonstrates its appreciation of a domain in which fair play, equality, horsemanship and tradition highlight superior skill, accuracy and achievement.

From Pat Smythe, the greatest female show jumper ever to represent Britain and Rolex’s first equestrian Testimonee in 1957, to Scott Brash, the only rider in history to win three consecutive Majors in the Grand Slam in September 2015, Rolex continues to support riders in the three Olympic disciplines of show jumping, dressage and eventing, all of which demonstrate qualities of excellence and perfection.

ABOUT ROLEX
Rolex, the leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, is headquartered in Geneva and enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and 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 invented 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 all the essential components of its watches in-house, 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 PREVIOUS WINNERS

2015 Scott Brash (GBR), Hello Sanctos

2014 Christian Ahlmann (GER), Codex One

2013 Nick Skelton (GBR), Big Star

2012 Michael Whitaker (GER), GIG Amai

2011 Janne Friederike Meyer (GER), Cellagon Lambrasco

2010 Eric Lamaze (CAN), Hickstead

2009 Denis Lynch (IRL), Lantinus

2008 Albert Zoer (NED), Sam

2007 Elizabeth Madden (USA), Authentic

2006 Marcus Ehning (GER), N. Kuchengirl

2005 Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), Shutterfly

*Names in bold denote Rolex equestrian Testimonees

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