Nick Skelton from Great Britain is – after the Italian rider Piero d´Inzeo – the second rider, who has succeeded in winning the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen four times. He already managed to ride to victory in 1982, 1987 and 1988 at the traditional showgrounds in the Soers. On the final day of the show, Sunday, he repeated this victory again at the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen 2013, riding Big Star in front of 40,000 enthusiastic spectators in the sold-out stadium.
"Winning in Aachen – in front of this fantastic crowd – is an absolute dream," commented Skelton.
Second place went to Janika Sprunger from Switzerland, who like Patrice Delaveau from France (third place) made it into the jump-off. Daniel Deusser, who came fourth, was the best German rider. Unfortunately, he picked up one fault for exceeding the time in the first round. Christian Ahlmann, who jumped clear in the first round, collected four faults in the second round, so neither made it into the jump-off.
After his victory in Aachen, Nick Skelton goes down in equestrian sport history as the first rider to take on the challenge of the Rolex Grand Slam. He now has the
opportunity to write equestrian sport history. A victory in the CSIO 5* Spruce Meadows Masters (September 5th-9th) would open the door for him to the Rolex Grand Slam.
Because the rider, who manages to win the CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows 'Masters´ and the CHI Geneva in succession, wins the Rolex Grand Slam – and with it also an additional one million Euros in prize-money.
"The Rolex Grand Slam is a fantastic initiative. Now, things are going to get really exciting for me," Skelton stated after his victory in Aachen.
Writing history seems to be in Skelton's blood – he is only the second rider to win the Grand Prix in Aachen four
times. As such, he has already long since become an equestrian sport legend and it even seems quite feasible that he could achieve the ultimate goal:
"Of course, it is not going to be easy to win the Rolex Grand Slam, namely heading the field in the three first-class shows in Aachen, Calgary and Geneva in a row. But who knows – perhaps I can simply carry on in Canada where I have left off in Aachen."
Skelton won the Rolex Grand Prix with Big Star, however this is not significant for the Rolex Grand Slam, where only the rider counts, not the horse.
Photo: CHIO Aachen/Michael Strauch