Niels Bruynseels of Belgium is the latest Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping contender following a sensational performance in the Rolex Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters in Den Bosch, Netherlands, one of the four Majors that make up the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
Under the spotlights of the Brabanthal arena, the world’s best horse and rider combinations battled for the prize of the weekend, all vying to start their Rolex Grand Slam journey.
The 13 riders through to the jump-off included Great Britain’s Scott Brash, the only rider so far to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, putting extra pressure on the competitors. Eighth to go, Marcus Ehning (GER) raised the bar with a speedy clear round in 37.80 secs, but it was Bruynseels who shifted the pace up a gear to clinch the victory and his first ever Major in 37.10 secs. Ehning has to settle for second, and Harrie Smolders (NED) was third.
“This has to be one of my biggest victories, I don’t even have the words to say how much it means to me,” said Bruynseels. “This show has always been great but the support of Rolex has made it even better and it is an honour for me to come here and compete against the best riders in the world. The atmosphere in the arena was incredible, it was a very special moment for me.”
Bruynseels said his mount, Gancia de Muze, “was a superstar today, I cannot thank her enough. She always tries her best for me and I couldn’t be happier with her performance this afternoon. I think I was at advantage going last in the jump-off, I was able to see all the other riders go before me and where the course was difficult. I had a plan in my head, I knew I would need a fast ride, and Grancia exceeded all expectations, she is a special horse for sure.”
Watch highlights from the show below: