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McLain Ward Wins Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva and Turns into Rolex Grand Slam Dwell Contender


    (Photograph: Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder)

    Earlier than the Rolex Grand Prix – the spotlight class of the 61st version of CHI Geneva – received underway, 8,000 adoring followers stated farewell to an all-time nice horse, Martin Fuchs’ legendary gelding, Clooney 51, who was retired in August 2021. After profitable this Rolex Grand Slam Main in 2019 with the now 16-year-old gray, a visibly emotional Fuchs paraded Clooney to every nook of the Geneva Enviornment, to rapturous applause and cheering from all who regarded on, earlier than closing with a brief speech honouring his loyal companion.

    The scene was then set for this 12 months’s Rolex Grand Prix, during which 40 horse and rider mixtures representing 14 nations – together with 16 out of the present high 20-ranked riders – lined up, every staking a declare for one of many sport’s most sought-after prizes, as a part of their Rolex Grand Slam quests. Course designers Gérard Lachat and Louis Konickx set a technical, 14-obstacle first spherical check, which might be adopted by a nine-effort jump-off, ought to two or extra partnerships navigate the opening spherical with no fault.

    Nice Britain’s Ben Maher (Dallas Vegas Batilly) recorded the 1.60m class’s first clear, repeated quickly after by Daniel Deusser of Germany with Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z. On the midway stage, an extra seven riders had gone clear, together with Gilles Thomas (Calleryama), Frenchmen Kevin Staut (Scuderia 1918 Viking d’la Rousserie) and Simon Delestre (Cayman Jolly Jumper), Andre Thieme (DSP Chakaria) and Christian Ahlmann (Dominator 2000 Z) of Germany, Dane Andreas Schou (Darc de Lux), and Irishman Shane Sweetnam (James Kann Cruz). The second half of the spherical witnessed simply 4 extra riders progressing to the jump-off, with the Oxer-Liverpool (6a) proving to be the trickiest and most knocked down. These riders included crowd favourites, Martin Fuchs (Leone Jei) and Elian Baumann (Little Lumpi E), American McLain Ward (HH Azur), and a delighted Daniel Bluman of Israel (Ladriano Z), making a ultimate shoot-out of 13 pairings.

    Rolex Grand Slam Dwell Contender Daniel Deusser set the early jump-off tempo and put the strain on after turning into the primary to go double clear in a time of 42.58 seconds. Nonetheless, it wasn’t to be a second consecutive Main victory for Deusser after Simon Delestre went 0.12 seconds sooner, with the Frenchman’s time quickly being eclipsed by subsequent era Belgian expertise Gilles Thomas, who went 1.58 seconds faster nonetheless (40.88 seconds). After each Christian Ahlmann and Kevin Staut had been unable to go clear, Saturday’s winner of the Credit score Suisse Problem, Shane Sweetnam, regarded like a person possessed, going clear and knocking Thomas off high spot in 40.48 seconds, a time that regarded unbeatable. Nonetheless, subsequent into the world, Martin Fuchs, proved Thomas’ time the truth is was beatable, going 39.77 seconds and in flip sending the group wild. With penultimate rider Daniel Bluman placing one down, Fuchs’ future lay within the arms of American McLain Ward and his 16-year-old bay mare HH Azur. Famend for his or her velocity and accuracy, the pair glided across the course, going sooner than Fuchs on the first two sectors, ultimately clearing the ultimate fence over a second faster than the Swiss, etching their names into Rolex Grand Slam historical past, with Ward in the end turning into the Dwell Contender.

    On his first Rolex Grand Slam of Present Leaping Main victory and the place it ranks amongst his profession wins, McLain Ward stated: “To win the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva ranks proper up amongst the very best moments. Olympic gold medals, the Grand Prix in Calgary – it is a very particular second.”

    On what makes CHI Geneva such a particular place, Ward commented: “Its folks! I imply, it’s spectacular — the environment, the atmosphere, the organisers, and sponsors make it so particular, that the rivals rise to the day.”

    Learn extra right here.

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