Brussels Stephex Masters: Home of the champions!

[caption id="attachment_6476" align="alignleft" width="300"] Panoramic view of the International Arena from the Rolex Sky Box[/caption]

Today is the last day of competitions at the Brussels Stephex Masters.

Fresh from competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, many of those Olympic horse and rider combinations are testing themselves across these five days of action that culminates today in the Rolex Grand Prix presented by Audi.

Taking place from 31st August – 4th September 2016, the Brussels Stephex Masters is a unique competition that combines elite level sport and a lifestyle village featuring a myriad of restaurants and shops. Now in its 3rd year, the competition has fast become famed as one of the world’s leading show jumping events, providing an unparalleled equestrian experience.

In helping France to Team gold in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games, Kevin Staut (FRA), is  a strong contender in Brussels. Currently ranked 8th in the world, Staut has enjoyed a distinguished career with several Grand Prix victories and an Individual European Championship gold medal in 2009.

Eager to challenge Staut is be the highest ranked rider taking part in the Brussels Stephex Masters. Kent Farrington (USA), current world no.4 and Olympic Team silver medallist at Rio, finished 4th in the Rolex Grand Prix at the Brussels Stephex Masters last year, and is hoping for an improved showing this year after another successful season.

World and Olympic champion, Eric Lamaze (CAN) arrives in Belgium as the world no.10 having claimed Individual bronze at last month’s Rio Olympics. Lamaze is no stranger to world-class competitions having won countless Grand Prix and World Cup titles including the 2008 Olympic individual gold medal.

Completing the world-class line-up at the ‘Home of the Champions’ are Daniel Deusser (GER), Bertram Allen (IRE), Steve Guerdat (SUI), Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Lorenzo De Luca (ITA), Jonna Ekberg (SWE) and Zoe Conter (BEL). As Olympic Individual gold medallists in 2004 and 2012 respectively, Pessoa and Guerdat complete an elite cast compiling three of the last four individual Olympic champions.

Pressure is also on the home favourites to entertain the expectant crowds and that responsibility falls on a host of top Belgian riders including Olivier Phillippaerts, Jos Verlooy, Gurdun Patteeet and Niels Bruynseels as well as 2016 Olympic participants Jerome Guery and Nicola Phillippaerts, twin brother of fellow competitor Olivier.

Son of the famed Belgian rider Ludo Phillippaerts, Olivier Phillippaerts, is currently the top ranked Belgian rider with a world ranking of 22. In 2012, Olivier became the youngest ever rider to win the CN International Grand Prix at the 2012 CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, a victory that remains his career highlight to date.

An event that features such quality and prestige can only operate with support its sponsors including Audi, Rolex, Stephex, Topsport Vlaandern and Seacoast. In addition to this, a host of superb exhibitors on display suggests that this year’s Brussels Stephex Masters is set to be the biggest yet.

source: press release

image: it shows the “International Ring” of Spruce Meadows. (picture: Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping/Kit Houghton).