Scott Brash, Jerry Smit, Hugo Simon: 3 riders who have fulfilled their dream

The notion of Grand Slam comes from the world of tennis. The tennis Grand Slam tournaments are the sport’s four main events: The Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Winning just one of these tournaments is a highlight in a career. Only a few exceptional champions such as Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal manage to win each tournament. The only stars to have won all four the same year, and hence achieve the Grand Slam, are Rod Laver in 1969 and Steffi Graf in 1988.
In the showjumping world only 2 riders before Scott Brash, managed to win a Gran Slam: the Austrian Hugo Simon and the Italian Jerry Smit.

At that time the Gran Slam was the "Pulsar Crown": a prize fund under the aegis of the Federation Equestre International (FEI), operates on an ongoing cycle and offers top show jumpers from around the world the opportunity to compete for purses between USD 1.5 million and USD 2.5 million in additional prize money. The purse, the largest ever offered in the sport, is awarded based on a rider's results in the Grand Prix at three top international show jumping competitions in Valkenswaard, Netherlands, Aachen, Germany and in 2000, CSI Cannes.

Winning two or three Grands Prix in a series would be a rare performance, but it is not impossible. The Austrian Hugo Simon and the Italian Jerry Smit both won two stages of the Pulsar Triple Crown that covered the Grands Prix in Aachen, Cannes (initially Valkenswaard) and Monterrey, Mexico.

The first rider to win the "Pulsar Crown" was Hugo Simon in 1990: he took the DM $100,000 [approximately US $56,000] purse for the Grand Prix of Aachen, plus his victory in the Pulsar Grand Prix of Monterrey in Mexico, has earned him an additional, and unprecedented, US $800,000 for winning two of the three Grand Prix in the Pulsar Crown series. The combined prizes were the richest ever awarded to a showjumper. Riding his number-one ranked gelding E.T. FRH, Simon entered into his Pulsar Crown cycle by winning the Pulsar Grand Prix of Monterrey in 1997. E. T. FRH, an 11-year-old Hanoverian, is the same horse Simon rode in all Pulsar Crown events.

The second rider to win the "Pulsar Crown" was Jerry Smit with Lux Z who won two Pulsar Crown competitions in 2000 and for his efforts he came away with a prize bonus of 700,000 USD in addition to the more than $100,500 USD presented to the winner of the Grand Prix in Cannes.

Last 13 of September was the Great Britain’s Scott Brash that jumped to victory in the $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex, riding superstar mount Hello Sanctos.

Scott Brash was the first rider to win the Gran Slam created by Rolex and he rode always the same horse!

The system of the Rolex Grand Slam is simple: Anyone, who wins three shows in a row, receives 1 million Euros on top of the prize-money of each show. Moreover, anyone who wins two out of the three shows, also receives a bonus. If two shows are won in succession, the bonus is 500,000 Euros. If the rider is successful in qualifying for the “two out of three mode”, but doesn’t claim the victories at two consecutive shows, the bonus total 250,000 Euros. It is only the rider that counts, not the horse. It is possible to claim the bonus riding different horses. This system is infinite, it is not limited to a calendar year. It is a never ending story.

Rolex created the Grand Slam also of Eventing to inspire the world's finest riders and horses to new heights. Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley. Winning just one of these legendary eventing competitions represents the pinnacle of achievement; winning all three consecutively represents perfection. Since its inception, only one has risen to the challenge – Pippa Funnell. There is no doubt the bar has been raised.

image: Jerry Smit