The Rolex Grand Prix provided a thrilling finale to Royal Windsor Horse Show, with Steve Guerdat taking the title riding Bianca.
Despite the 12-year-old mare’s consistent form over the years, this was their first five-star win together.
“It might sound crazy, as amazing as she is, but this is the first five-star class we have won together,” said Steve. “I’m really pleased for her, she really deserves it. It’s very special.”
The CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix welcomed the world’s best showjumpers, who battled it out for a £265,00 prize pot. Many of them faulted around Olympic course designer Bob Ellis’s demanding track, including Ben Maher, Kent Farrington, Scott Brash and Laura Renwick.
Ten combinations made it through to the jump-off out of a field of 30. William Whitaker was first to go, jumping a steady clear with Utamaro d’Ecaussines. Next in was his cousin Robert Whitaker (Catwalk IV) who proved the time could be beaten, but was the first of several riders to fault at the final oxer.
Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano briefly took the lead with Caspar 232 (44.31sec), but Laura Kraut then shaved 0.79sec off their time with Catwalk 22. Laura has only had the ride on the eleven-year-old gelding for three weeks, but the combination produced a brilliant fast-paced round move into pole position (43.52sec).
Once again the leaderboard changed when Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat managed to pip Laura to the post with an incredible round on Bianca (43.11sec).
London is a lucky city for Steve who won team gold at the European Championships at Windsor in 2009, and Olympic individual gold at the London Games in 2012.
“I love competing in this city, it is very special to me after my victory at the Olympics and now winning the Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor,” said Steve. “The show has a great crowd that appreciates what we do, the horses and the sport.”