13 May, Windsor, United Kingdom – The 2018 Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show was won by Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat (SUI) riding Bianca. Second place went to Laura Kraut (USA) riding Catwalk 22, and third place to Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) riding Caspar 232.
The sun was shining on the roster of international riders who entered the famed Castle Arena for the Rolex Grand Prix, the highlight of Royal Windsor. The show welcomed packed stands of knowledgeable spectators, gathered to witness the exhilarating competition, as the contenders battled for the prestigious prize.
World renowned course designer, Bob Ellis, assembled a typically demanding course for the riders with the first round consisting of 13 obstacles. Fences towered at 1.60m and numerous challenges were asked of the elite horse and rider combinations, testing the power and precision of the pairings. The course proved challenging and the enthusiastic crowd witnessed three retirements in the early stages. However, the competition heated up and the first round came to a close with ten clears. Swiss rider Steve Guerdat produced a stunning round, clearing the demanding course with apparent ease to progress to the jump-off. Fellow Rolex Testimonees Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Bertram Allen (IRE) also rode clear, alongside home favourites William Whitaker and Robert Whitaker.
Ten riders went through to the jump-off to face a revised course of eight jumping efforts, and first to go was William Whitaker, delighting the patriotic crowd with a steady clear. However, he was soon overtaken by his fellow countryman and cousin, Robert Whitaker. USA’s Laura Kraut displayed huge determination as she sped through the course in a time of 43.52 seconds with all fences still standing, taking one stride less to the last Rolex obstacle. Despite heroic efforts to beat the leading time by Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen, his horse Hector van D’Abdijhoeve just clipped the last fence, taking the Irish rider out of contention for the coveted prize.
Next to enter the arena was Steve Guerdat and the crowd held their breath as he proceeded to emulate his previous round, demonstrating his experience and precision skills by producing another brilliant clear and trimming 0.41 seconds from Kraut’s round.
Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5 was last to enter the arena, eager to challenge his fellow Rolex Testimonee for the title. Known for his incredible speed, Lamaze cut impossible corners in his attempt to win. Unfortunately slight contact on the very last fence saw a rail drop, crowning Guerdat the Rolex Grand Prix victor.
AN UNFORGETTABLE FIRST FIVE-STAR VICTORY FOR GUERDAT AND BIANCA
The phenomenal pairing of Guerdat and Bianca gave the crowd a breath-taking demonstration of speed, precision and an enduring partnership. The crowd erupted into emotional applause to celebrate a win from one of the sport’s best riders.
Speaking after his victory, Guerdat was full of praise for his horse, saying: “Bianca has been jumping very well and the course suited her. We’ve never won a five-star class together, but Bianca deserved this.
“I love competing in this city, it is very special to me after my victory at the Olympics and now winning the Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor. The show has a great crowd that appreciates what we do, the horses and the sport.”
FINAL RESULTS OF THE 2018 ROLEX GRAND PRIX AT CHI ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW
1. Steve Guerdat (SUI) riding Bianca
2. Laura Kraut (USA) riding Catwalk 22
3. Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) riding Caspar 232
4. William Whitaker (GBR) riding Utamaro D Ecaussines
5. Eric Lamaze (CAN) riding Fine Lady 5
6. Robert Whitaker (GBR) riding Catwalk IV
7. Bertram Allen (IRE) riding Hector van D’Abdijhoeve
8. Lauren Hough (USA) riding Waterford
9. Peder Fredricson (SWE) riding Hansson WL (SWB)
10. Olivier Robert (FRA) riding Tempo de Paban
ROLEX EQUESTRIAN HERITAGE
Rolex’s support of show jumping dates back more than sixty years. This close and long-standing association demonstrates appreciation for a domain where tradition and excellence highlight superior skill, precision 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 champion riders in the three Olympic disciplines of show jumping, dressage and eventing.
Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. Its Oyster and Cellini 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 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. Through philanthropic programmes and a broad palette of sponsorship activities, Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports and exploration, and encourages the spirit of enterprise, as well as the conservation of natural environments.