Fuchs retains the Rolex Grand Prix crown at Royal Windsor Horse Show

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Martin Fuchs (c) @RoyalWindsorHorseShow - Peter Nixon

Martin Fuchs riding Leone Jei winners of the Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

Media Release: 5 May 2024 CHI ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW DAILY REPORT Royal Windsor Horse Show today drew to a close after an incredible five days of top class equestrian action. The pinnacle Jumping competition of the Show, the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix, was won by Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs, with America’s Laura Kraut victorious in the morning’s CSI5* Manama Rose Show Stakes. Meanwhile, the Pol Roger Meet of the British Driving Society featured both Her Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh alongside her daughter Lady Louise Windsor in a beautiful and traditional spectacle.

FUCHS FLIES TO VICTORY

A thrilling Rolex Grand Prix provided a fitting conclusion to the CSI5* Show Jumping at Royal Windsor Horse Show. Bernardo Costa Cabral’s up-to-height 1.60m course required precision, bravery and athleticism to produce the clear round required to progress into the second phase against the clock. The first clear came from France’s Simon Deleste riding the 12-year-old Cayman Jolly Jumper, with Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca and Denver de Talma setting up the jump-off. 

Following his first round, de Luca said: “I was really delighted with how he jumped — it’s his first 5* Grand Prix, but his ridability was incredible. I enjoy everything about this show, the crowd is amazing, the ring is amazing, it’s great. I will be going as fast as I can in the jump-off to try to win!”

In all, 12 progressed into the jump-off to vie for a share of the €500,000 prize fund, including three from the home nation — much to the delight of the passionate crowd. 

The first two into the arena for the second round accrued faults under the pressure of trying to set fast enough speed to win. It was Britain’s Matt Sampson who was the first to jump clear aboard the 16-year-old Daniel, setting an impressive time to beat of 46.80 seconds. Compatriot Tim Gredley followed, jumping a steady round and picking up one time fault to make it a British one-two in the early stages. 

However, Sweden’s Petronella Andersson spoiled the British party, taking the lead with a time of 76.04 seconds. Her lead was short-lived as Giulia Martinengo Marquet — second yesterday in the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup — jumped a beautifully smooth round to take over pole position. The lead changed quickly again, this time with World No. 4 Martin Fuchs, last year’s victor, taking over three seconds off the current leading time. 

The reigning European Champion, Steve Guerdat, gave it his best shot with another immaculate performance but was not able to match his Swiss compatriot’s time, and finished in eventual third. Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet, last to go, snatched the runners-up position with Bond Jamesbond de Hay. 

On winning consecutive Rolex Grand Prix titles, Fuchs said: “It’s obviously fantastic, not just to win back to back but the whole atmosphere of being here – it’s so special. I only brought one horse this week which puts a lot of pressure on the one class but I felt very confident after a good round on Friday. Today I knew when I walked the course that it suited us very well.”

Talking about the flying round, the Swiss rider stated: “I knew that I had to risk everything as I had some of the fastest riders in the world coming after me. Leone Jei has a huge stride so I have to try to ride tight turns and leave some strides out on the straight lines – his energy and ability lets me leave out strides which other horses aren’t able to do.”

Robert Whitaker, the best of the British contingent, said: “I knew the jump-off would be very difficult today for me to be quicker than Martin, Steve and Gregory, but I did what I thought I could with him [Vermento]. If I’d been offered fourth place at the start of the week I would have taken it, so I’m very happy!”

Whitaker went on to say: “I enjoy it every time I jump at Royal Windsor; the setting is amazing and the crowd is always fantastic.”

LAURA LEADS THE WAY

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Laura Kraut (USA) riding Calgary Tame in the CSI5* Manama Rose Show Stakes during the Royal Windsor Horse Show In Partnership with Defender, held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle in Windsor in Berkshire in the UK between 1st – 5th May 2024 @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

The CSI5* Manama Rose Show Stakes took the morning session by storm with speed and accuracy at the heart of the single phase competition. Robert Whitaker riding Evert was the first of the 26 combinations and kicked-off the class with a clear round in a time of 58.64 seconds. The course consisted of fourteen combinations with an unusual horizontal striped oxer and a brown upright decorated with large plastic swans causing numerous problems. 

Sixth to go was Italian Lorenzo de Luca, who flew around the course on his bay gelding, Violino Il Palazetto, and took nearly a second off Whitaker’s time to become the new leader. The class then had a flurry of clears from a number of top riders, including Steve Guerdat and Scott Brash.

American Olympic rider Laura Kraut took to the ring as 21st to go on her stunning chestnut, Calgary Tame, and wowed the crowd with her tight lines — ultimately completing the course with the fastest round of 56.44 seconds, the only rider to complete in less than 57 seconds to win the Manama Rose Show Stakes. 

Kraut said: “I love Windsor, this is one of the best shows. I’m thrilled, my horse was just absolutely perfect. Two of his owners got here for today so they got to see him win, so it was a great day.”

Speaking about Calgary Tame, Kraut continued: “He’s very, very quick and he’s tiny, so what would be a normal line for most horses is fast for him. He’s so brave and loves to win! Honestly, I watched the first two go and they were so fast, I didn’t think I could catch them. They didn’t leave room for improvement, but if I took the same lines as him he was just that much quicker.”

DEAN DOMINATES THE DEFENDER UNDER 25 JUMPING

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Natalie Dean riding Dotcom D’Authuit in the The Defender Under 25 Jumping Competition during the Royal Windsor Horse Show In Partnership with Defender, held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle in Windsor in Berkshire in the UK between 1st – 5th May 2024 @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

Some of the world’s most promising up-and-coming Show Jumpers took to the Castle Arena early this morning for The Defender Under 25 Jumping Competition, which took place over two rounds — with all clears from the first round proceeding into the jump-off.

A total of 33 combinations tackled the first round, which caused faults throughout. However, stylish clears did come from a number of riders including Billy Stud rider Lottie Tutt — who was also well-placed in the LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition on Thursday morning. In total, only four other riders could produce clear jumping rounds inside the time, with Harrison Hatteea heartbreakingly missing out on qualifying for the jump-off with just one time penalty.

Riders returned to jump the shortened course in the same order that they jumped in the initial round, meaning that it was America’s Natalie Dean riding Dotcom D’Authuit who entered the arena as first to go. Dean secured a quick and clear round in a time of 33.94 seconds to put pressure on the remaining competitors. Whilst clear rounds did then come from Olivia Sponer and Jake Myers, no one could quite match the time set by the American, meaning the Show debutant claimed the coveted title.

Speaking on her win, Dean stated: “It feels great to be here and to win! It is my first time competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show and it is such an amazing show. My horse is very fast and always competitive at this level and so I knew to stick to my plan going into the jump-off.”

The American continued: “I am based with Ben [Maher] at the moment which is incredible. He told me to play the jump-off a bit safe today as there were not many in it — his advice paid off!”

Press release Royal Windsor Horse Show

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