Fuchs Retains the Rolex Grand Prix Crown at Royal Windsor Horse Show


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. 


Steve Guerdat with Dynamix De Belheme Steve Guerdat with Dynamix De Belheme

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.

Gregory W. Gregory Whatelet with Bond Jamesbond de Hay

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.”

Photos @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon