ETomorrow, on Wednesday, the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Calgary, Canada, the second leg in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, kicks off and the first starting places for the Grand Prix on Sunday will already be awarded on the first day of the show.
The riders have the opportunity to qualify for the “CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex”, which is endowed with prize-money totalling three million Canadian dollars, in two competitions every day from Wednesday to Friday. The last tickets will be earned during the Nations’ Cup on Saturday. Hereafter all of the 50 pairs that are allowed to battle it out for the Major victory on Sunday will be known.
The top riders from 19 nations in total have announced their participation. The two equestrian sport legends Eric Lamaze and Ian Millar are heading the field for the host country, Canada. Among others, the current number one in the world ranking list, Kent Farrington, as well as Beezie Madden, this year’s World Cup Final winner McLain Ward and Lauren Hough have travelled in from the neighbouring country, the USA. The entire European elite has also made the long journey to Canada: Last year’s winner Scott Brash (GBR), Kevin Staut (FRA), Christian Ahlmann (GER), Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), Steve Guerdat (SUI), Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP), Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), Cian O`Connor (IRE), Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and Luciana Diniz (POR) are just a few of the famous names that will be representing the European flags in Calgary.
Of course, the two current contenders of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping will also be on board in the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’: The Belgian rider Grégory Wathelet could succeed in taking the next step towards winning the Grand Slam here in Calgary. If, after his victory in the “Rolex Grand Prix” of the CHIO Aachen in July, he is now also able to win the “CP ‘International‘, presented by Rolex”, this would be his second Major victory in succession, which would mean he would be riding to claim the Grand Slam title at the CHI Geneva in December. At the latter Major, Pedro Veniss was on the top step of the winner’s podium last year. A triumph in Calgary would thus earn the Brazilian rider a bonus of 250,000 Euros for two Major victories within one Grand-Slam cycle.
However, first of all each of the athletes has to master the qualifying phase: Everything kicks off on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. local time with the “Telus Cup”, where the three best placed riders can win a direct ticket for the “CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex” on Sunday.
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping unites the Majors in Aachen (GER), Geneva (SUI), Calgary (CAN) and ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in the challenge for the most prestigious and most difficult-to-win trophy on the international equestrian sport circuit.
The rider, who triumphs at three shows in succession, wins the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – together with one million Euros on top of the prize-money. Should a rider win the fourth Major in direct succession after claiming the Grand Slam victory, he doubles his Grand Slam bonus up to two million Euros. Two Major victories within a Grand Slam cycle are rewarded with 250,000 Euros or 500,000 Euros, if the victories occur at two consecutive legs of the Grand Slam. Irrespective of the calendar year, each rider’s personal Grand Slam cycle begins individually with his first Major victory.
After his victory in the “Rolex Grand Prix” of the CHIO Aachen 2017, Grégory Wathelet will be competing in the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ as the current Grand Slam contender and will strive to win his second Major in succession. As the winner of the CHI Geneva 2016, the Brazilian rider, Pedro Veniss will be setting his sights on the 250,000 Euro bonus for two non-consecutive Major victories within one Grand Slam cycle.
Image: The Rolex Grand Slam Trophy