The world’s top riders will converge in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, from 08 – 11 March for The Dutch Masters, the newest addition to the world’s ultimate prize in show jumping – the Rolex Grand Slam.
Eight of the world’s top 10 riders are expected to contest the highly anticipated Rolex Grand Prix, the first Major of 2018, as they seek to kick-off the year in style and be in with a chance of winning the most sought-after prize in the sport; the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. A prize of €1 million, on top of the prize money from each of the four shows, is on offer to any rider who wins three of the four Majors consecutively, with a further €1 million prize if that same rider continues their victory by winning a fourth Major in succession.
Anky van Grunsven, President of The Dutch Masters, “We are thrilled to become part of the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam alongside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva – it is a real honour and we are looking forward to an exciting Grand Prix on Sunday.”
World number two ranked rider, Harrie Smolders, “What a great opportunity to have the chance to compete for one of the Majors in my own country. I am delighted that The Dutch Masters has become part of the Rolex Grand Slam and will be giving it everything I have got to try and win it.”
Founded over 50 years ago, The Dutch Masters, previously known as Indoor Brabant, has long been a highlight of the global equestrian calendar. However, the announcement in 2017 that the show would become the fourth Major within the coveted Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has elevated its status to one of the most prestigious events of the year, alongside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva.
Over 60,000 spectators are expected to attend across the four days of competition, which also features FEI World CupTM Dressage as well as the CSI5* Show Jumping, the pinnacle of which is the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday 11 March.
GRAND SLAM CHALLENGER
Sadly, American rider Kent Farrington was forced to officially withdraw from The Dutch Masters due to injury. Farrington won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva last year and with this victory he started his challenge for the Rolex Grand Slam. Unfortunately, his chance to win the Rolex Grand Slam title is now gone for now.
Local riders, Harrie Smolders and Maikel van der Vleuten, currently ranked second and eleventh in the world respectively, will be looking to give the home crowd something to cheer about, following in the footsteps of compatriot Leopold van Asten, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix in 2017.
A strong contingent of Rolex Testimonees will be attempting to emulate the achievement of fellow Testimonee Scott Brash, who remains the only rider so far to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, following his emphatic victories in 2015. Kevin Staut (FRA), a winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in 2014, heads the challenge, with Canada’s Eric Lamaze, currently ranked world No. 12, making the trip from his winter base in Florida, USA for the competition. World No. 8 Steve Guerdat (SUI) will be making his 16th appearance in a Major, the only rider to have competed in all Majors since they began in 2013, with Britain’s Scott Brash also competing as he seeks to repeat his remarkable Rolex Grand Slam feat.
Reigning European Champion and Olympic silver medalist Peder Fredricson (SWE), world No. 7 Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and the in-form Henrik Von Eckermann, fresh from victory in FEI World CupTM Qualifier in Gothenburg, will add to the stellar line-up of riders taking part.
NEW ROLEX GRAND SLAM TV COMMERCIAL TO BE UNVEILED
To celebrate the debut of The Dutch Masters as part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, a pioneering new TV commercial will be released ahead of the Show. The theme of the commercial will be ‘Surpass yourself and become a legend’, reflecting the challenge faced to win the Rolex Grand Slam and the honour and esteem associated with victory.
The campaign will be fully integrated across social media, print and television outlets and will be distributed to a global audience to reflect the international prestige associated with the Rolex Grand Slam. The TV commercial will launch the promotion, with an international print campaign to follow.
ROLEX GRAND SLAM EXPERIENCE
There will also be a spectacular display unveiled at The Dutch Masters, located near the entrance to the arena, featuring memorabilia from each of the four Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping shows. The display, which was first unveiled in 2017, will be a celebration of the prize, in recognition of the challenges faced by the world’s top riders to win at these most prestigious shows and reward consistency at the highest level of the sport.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
ROLEX GRAND SLAM PRIZE
The Rolex Grand Slam is the most prestigious challenge in the sport of show jumping, primarily due to the sporting prowess required to achieve the feat. It is a quest taken on by the best, with the aim to be the best and secure the legendary status associated with winning. In recognition of the epic nature of the challenge, any rider who wins three shows in a row, receives €1 million on top of the prize-money of each show. If that same rider then continues their success by winning a fourth Major in succession, they will be rewarded with an additional €1 million bonus. Moreover, anyone who wins two out of the four shows, also receives a bonus. If two shows are won in succession, the bonus is €500,000. If the rider is successful in qualifying for the “two out of four mode”, but doesn’t claim the victories at two consecutive shows, the bonus totals €250,000. It is only the rider that counts, therefore it is possible to claim the bonus riding different horses.
DATES FOR THE 2018 ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF SHOW JUMPING EVENTS
08 – 11 March 2018 The Dutch Masters
13 – 22 July 2018 CHIO Aachen
5 – 9 September 2018 CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’
6 – 9 December CHI Geneva
PREVIOUS WINNERS OF THE ROLEX GRAND SLAM GRAND PRIX
Nick Skelton (GBR), Big Star CHIO Aachen 2013
Pieter Devos (BEL), Candy CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2013
Steve Guerdat (SWI), Nino des Buissonnets CHI Geneva 2014
Christian Ahlmann (GER), Codex One CHIO Aachen 2014
Ian Millar (CAN), Dixson CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2014
Scott Brash (GBR), Hello Sanctos CHI Geneva 2014
Scott Brash (GBR), Hello Sanctos CHIO Aachen 2015
Scott Brash (GBR), Hello Sanctos CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2015
Steve Guerdat (SWI), Nino des Buissonnets CHI Geneva 2015
Philipp Weishaupt (GER), LB Convall CHIO Aachen 2016
Scott Brash (GBR), Ursula XII CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2016
Pedro Veniss (BRA), Quabri de l’Isle CHI Geneva 2016
Gregory Wathelet (BEL), Coree CHIO Aachen 2017
Philipp Weishaupt (GER), LB Convall CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2017
Kent Farrington (USA), Gazelle CHI Geneva 2017
For further information on The Dutch Masters or the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, please visit www.rolexgrandslam.com
PHOTO CREDITS: Leopold van Asten, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix in March 2017 ©The Dutch Masters – Indoor Brabant
TV commercial © Rolex Grand Slam