There’re only ten days left to ‘D Day’ for the Rolex Top 10 IJRC Final 2023. The event, organised by the International Jumping Riders Club and scheduled on Friday 8 December (h. 9 p m), is one of the highlights of the CHI in Geneva, a historic landmark among indoor jumping events in the world.
The stands, as usual, will be sold out and the enthusiastic crowd is getting ready to express great vibes for a super event at the Palexpo.
The riders for the 2023 edition have already been announced earlier this month, but suspense is still high on which horses will be chosen for this competition by the top-ranked champions.
Austria (Max Kühner, rk. 8), Great Britain (Ben Maher, rk. 2) Ireland (Shane Sweetney, rk. 11), Nederland (Harrie Smolders, rk. 9) Sweden (Henrik von Eckermann rk. 1) and USA (Ken Farrington, rk.3) are represented by one rider each in the top ten group while Switzerland (Steve Guerdat rk.5 and Martin Fuchs rk.4) and France (Julien Epaillard, rk.6 and Simon Delestre rk.7) double their chances of success by fielding two riders. Just for the records: the ‘Blues’ were the first to unveil their mounts.
Delestre has four Top 10 participations to his credit and has twice placed second. Even last year his double clear with Cayman Jolly Jumper was not as fast as the one that awarded victory to the unstoppable Henrik von Heckermann riding King Edward.
«In this year's Rolex IJRC Top 10 I will ride Dexter Fontenis Z because he is really the fittest among my horses that I enter in top level classes. Gaining the leading position in the ranking for pairs with him was the greatest satisfaction of the entire 2023 season».
Julien Epaillard, who has only been climbing the ranking at a fast and steady pace in the last two years (individual bronze medal in the European Championships in Milan), made it to the Top 10 for the first time in the last edition, but he does not retain good memories of that competition. «Finishing eighth out of ten was certainly not what I expected. This time, having to choose between Dubai and Donatello, I preferred to take my chance with Dubai du Cedre, the horse that gave me the bronze medal in the European Championships in Milan. I am lucky to have two horses that are both so competitive in view of the Paris 2024 Games».
Choices and strategies of the other competitors will soon be unveiled. Let's get ready for an edition to remember and stay tuned.
IJRC - Road to Rolex IJRC Top 10
Find all updates and insights to follow the Top 10's approach to the final on social media and the official website www.ijrc.org
THE ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL ‘IN NUMBERS’
· 2 horses have won the class twice: Baloubet du Rouet ridden by Rodrigo Pessoa and Shutterfly ridden by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.
· 2 lady riders have won the final: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum with Shutterfly in 2004 and 2006, and Jessica Kürten with Castel Forbes Libertina in 2007.
· 5 riders have won it twice: Ludger Beerbaum, Rodrigo Pessoa, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Steve Guerdat and Kent Farrington.
· 3 horses have competed in 4 editions: Shutterfly ridden by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Silvana ridden by Kevin Staut and Itot du Chateau ridden by Edwina Tops-Alexander.
· 5 horses have competed in 3 editions: Goldfever ridden by Ludger Beerbaum, Gitania ridden by Marcus Ehning, Plot Blue ridden by Marcus Ehning, Hickstead ridden by Eric Lamaze, and Chaman ridden by Ludger Beerbaum.
· 1 horse has competed in 2 editions: Austria ridden by Kent Farrington.
· 5 wins for Germany, the country that has won the most editions.
· 14 is the highest number of Top 10 Finals in which a single rider has competed: Marcus Ehning, followed by Steve Guerdat, who will be competing this year for the 11th time
· 4 former winners in this year’s final: von Eckermann, Maher, Guerdat and Farrington. Seven of the riders were among last year’s finalists, including Delestre, who was ahead of von Eckermann after the first round.
Source: Press Release
Photo (ph. ©FEI/Kim C Lundin – Oslo CSIW5*)