Swiss rider Steve Guerdat is one step closer winning the Rolex Grand Slam of showjumping, after taking the first leg of the treble at CHI Geneva.
Steve and his 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning partner Nino Des Buissonnets took the prestigious Geneva grand prix at the show on Sunday (13 December).
Earlier this year world number one Scott Brash made history by becoming the first rider to win the prize — which is made up of three grands prixs, Geneva, Aachen and Spruce Meadows.
At Spruce Meadows on 13 September Scott picked up a €1.3million (£950,000) total prize fund – which included the €1million grand slam bonus for winning the treble.
Scott was knocked out of contention when Hello Sanctos clipped a fence in the first round, but Steve will have the opportunity to follow in the Scotsman’s footsteps.
He was cheered on by a home crowd, as 9,500 spectators packed into the world-famous Geneva Palexpo Arena.
Sixteen riders made it through to the jump off, with Steve ninth to go. He made it round in 40.94 secs, ahead of Canadian rider Eric Lamaze who had been lying in first place. The remaining seven riders couldn’t catch him and Steve took the spoils.
The beginning of the jump-off was a little bit difficult for me and Nino, but he is a special horse – he is a genius,” said Steve.
“The rest of the jump-off went as we’d planned and I am really happy with the result. This show is really, really important for me. I always plan it as it is one of the main weekends in the year for me, it is not just another show so I try to plan in advance and come with fresh horses like it is a Championship. The crowd always helps me and luck must do the rest.”
Steve will now be aiming at the Aachen grand prix next July.
There is a €1million bonus for three victories, but two out of three wins also comes with a prize.
If two grands prixs in succession are won the rider will take home a €500,000 bonus. If two classes are taken non-consecutively there is €250,000 up for grabs.