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‘Unbelievable’ mare helps rider safe first leg of Rolex Grand Slam


  • “She just an incredible horse,” said German showjumper Daniel Deusser of his ever-obliging 12-year-old mare Killer Queen VDM after the duo achieved one of the hardest feats in the sport, jumping a triple clear to win the $3million CP International presented by Rolex at the Spruce Meadows Masters Tournament in Canada, on Sunday (11 September).

    Daniel also became the live contender for the next leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping, at Geneva in December.



    “She was unbelievable to jump three clear rounds. Usually if you jump just two clear rounds, you’ve won already,” said Daniel. “But I’m able to enjoy this feeling now.”

    This blue-riband event is one of the toughest classes in the world. Leopoldo Palacios’ formidable, technical tracks tower far higher than the average five-star grand prix and the Venezuelan doesn’t make any allowances for time-wasters. The stakes are raised even higher as the top 12 from the 40 starters jump a full second round before any riders on double clears – and they come few and far between in this contest – jump off against the clock.

    Swiss rider Steve Guerdat lifted the prize last year as the sole double clear and was back in the mix this year as one of three jump-off contenders, lining up against Hickstead’s King George V Gold Cup winner Gilles Thomas of Belgium on Aretino 13 and the German hero.

    With pressure and expectation pulsating round the arena, Steve opened proceedings with the tail-swishing 13-year-old gelding Venard De Cerisy. The pair skipped round until tapping out the first element of the double of swans – one of a handful of fences to have been bought in from the recent Herning World Championships – but they were quick and a 41.7sec four-fault round still applied the pressure to his rivals.

    When the hotshot 24-year-old Belgian toppled two fences, it all came down to Daniel and this exquisite mare, who triumphed in last year’s Aachen grand prix. Daniel admitted he felt “pretty nervous” walking in beneath Spruce Meadows’ iconic clock tower, but this forward-thinking mare soared over every obstacle with a clean flick of her heels and the historic title was theirs.

    “It’s a class I’ve followed since I was small,” he said. “I watched it on TV and I still have VHS cassettes at home that show the grand prix here. I’ve watched it over and over again, but I could never imagine being here. So to win the CP International presented by Rolex here in Spruce Meadows is a fantastic feeling.”

    “She will definitely have a big dinner tonight and some carrots and sweets,” he added of the 12-year-old mare by Eldorado VD Zeshoek out of the legendary For Pleasure mare Derly Chin De Muze.

    “At the beginning of the season, I set myself the goal to come here with her as I’d never been here before for the Grand Slam. She’s done well in these big grass rings. I think she enjoyed it.”

    Daniel Deusser will now continue his journey once again towards the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping.

    You can read the full report from the Spruce Meadows Masters in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound, in the shops Thursday 15 September.

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