Richard Vogel, 26, has made a rapid ascent in the sport to reach number 12 in the world rankings, but on Sunday afternoon (10 December) he achieved a career best when winning his first showjumping Major, the Rolex grand prix of Geneva held at the city’s Palexpo in Switzerland.
Now, the young German rider will be bidding to continue his success in the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping and it’s all systems go to be ready for the next leg at the Dutch Masters in the spring.
“This is an unbelievable feeling in front of such a great crowd in such a prestigious competition,” said the German star, who finished over 2.5sec quicker than his nearest challenger, Irish showjumper Mark McAuley on the big-striding mare GRS Lady Amaro.
The Rolex grand prix of Geneva was won by first-drawn Richard’s extraordinary tight lines and sharp angles with the 11-year-old stallion United Touch S (Untouched x Lux Z) over an imposing track set for the seven-way jump-off . None of his rivals could get close to the winning time and this landmark success on the global stage now offers Richard the chance to follow up with one of the biggest prizes in the sport, the Rolex Grand Slam.
“It’s indescribable and I’m overwhelmed with what United Touch is able to do, especially in the first round – it’s really difficult for him because he has such a big stride, so sometimes he finds the lines short,” explained Richard. “But he gives everything and he was fighting for me today – he was fighting to be clear. I’m happy we pulled it off in the jump-off.”
The third of the double clears came from Christian Kukuk for Germany, a further 2sec behind Mark McAuley, on the super grey son of Comme Il Faut, Checker 47, to slot into third. Finishing fourth was Friday’s winner of the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, Steve Guerdat – this time riding his European championship gold medal-winning mare Dynamix De Belheme.
Ben Maher was best of the Brits with Dallas Vegas Batilly, finishing on five faults in round one when the final oxer fell and he was one of nearly a third of the finishers to fall foul of the tight time allowed. The previous Rolex Grand Slam contender Martin Fuchs also finished with four faults in round one on Leone Jei.
You can read the full report from CHI Geneva, including a remarkable win in the Defender under-25 grand prix for Irish rising star Seamus Hughes Kennedy (Cuffesgrange Cavadora) in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine, in the shops Thursday 14 December.
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