‘It feels amazing’: top rider wins prestigious grand prix again 14 years on

Top US rider Beezie Madden said it felt “amazing” to win the CP “international” grand prix presented by Rolex at Spruce Meadows – 14 years since her name was last engraved on the trophy.

Beezie rode the distinctive chestnut stallion Darry Lou to a stylish clear in the first round yesterday (8 September). The combination were one of only eight to answer all course-designers Leopoldo Palacios and Peter Grant’s tough questions – then clocked up a single time fault in the second round.

This was enough to win the tough class, with Australian rider Rowan Willis on Blue Movie finishing second on four faults and Austria’s Max Kuhner on Chardonnay 79 in third on five.

“It feels amazing,” said Beezie, who had already notched up one win this week on Darry Lou, in the Tourmaline Oil Cup on Friday (6 September).

“It’s an honour to be here and any win is fantastic – but this one is pretty special; the second round was a real bear.”

Beezie said she had asked, when walking the course, whether the designers had even planned a jump-off.

“They said we might be jumping off on eight faults, that filled me with confidence!” she said.

“When you walk this course, it always looks so difficult; Leopold is brave but he knows what he’s doing and I thought it made for an amazing event.”

Beezie described the 11-year-old stallion as a “pleasure to ride”.

“If anything goes wrong, it’s my fault as he does exactly what I tell him,” she added.

The win makes Beezie the “live contender” for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping; should she win the grand prix in Geneva in December, she will bank a €500,000 bonus, with €1m on offer should she win three of the associated grands prix in a row, as Scott Brash did in 2015.

Rowan said his 13-year-old mare, who was bred in Britain by Sue Welch out of Nick Skelton’s former top ride Showtime, was “fantastic”.

“The rail was my fault; I was really happy with her,” he said.

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“She managed to jump the last difficult line – I couldn’t have asked any more of her.”

And while Max said of the course that he “wouldn’t built that at home, but ok!”, he added that he was very pleased with his 12-year-old stallion, who was jumping at Spruce Meadows for the first time, and had won Atco Electric six bar on Friday.

“I’m pretty impressed with him – and this is a fantastic venue,” he said.

Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound magazine for a full report from the Spruce Meadows Masters, out 12 September.