For most show-jumpers, the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen is something like Wimbledon for tennis. To win it once is every rider’s dream. Not only because it will take you to the Rolex Grand Slam and you have a chance at a one million Euro bonus – if you win three major events (Aachen, Spruce Meadows, Genf, ‘s-Hertogenbosch) in a sequence- not only because the winner gets 330,000 Euro but because of the prestige. Everyone wants to be at the top in the Soers at least once. The victory is more than the balance of one’s bank account on Monday. A victory in the Grand Prix in Aachen stays with one for one’s whole life.
Marcus Ehning knows this feeling well- he already won in 2006 with Nolte’s Küchengirl. This year he did it again. With Selle Francais gelding Pret A Tout by Hiram Chambertin/Stew Boy he already had two good rounds in the Nations Cup even though he had one fence down in the first round, but in the Grand Prix the chestnut horse was even more confident. With a clear round he had no trouble to be among the top 18 for the second round and stay clear again. Irish Darragh Kenny with Oldenburger mare Babalou by Balou Du Rouet, Pedro Veniss (BRA) with French stallion Quabri de L’Isle by Kannan, Steve Guerdat (SUI) with Balou du Rouet daughter Bianca and Luciana Diniz with Hannoverian mare Fit for Fun also achieved two clear rounds.
Kenny was the first to ride but had the first and third fence down and was out of the race. The next rider, Pedro Veniss decided on a calm but safe clear rond with 41,62 seconds. Then it was Ehning’s turn. The German used all his cleverness and experience, took the turns narrow and finished the course in 38,34 seconds, which pressured the last two riders enormously. Steve Guerdat and over-motivated Bianca could have made it but they had three fences down. Then Luciana Diniz and Fit for Fun. Last year the rider from Portugal already finished the Grand Prix in second place – should she make it? “Markus before me was like a role model – I thought I could do it just the same way,” so she said. But the lines she took were too long – soon it became obvious that she could not be faster. 40,96 second meant second place – for the third time. Diniz was still happy.
Even more happy was the winner Marcus Ehning: “I still cannot believe it. That is a thing that always stays with you and I hope I will be able to tell this my grandchildren one day.”
Marcus Ehning did not yet know if he would go to Calgary in order to have the chance to win the 500,000 Euro bonus. “My priority were the World Equestrian Games,” so the rider from Borken said. “Calgary was not part of my plan. But I still do not know yet which horse will go to Tryon and therefore I will take my time before making the decision.” Next to Pret A Tout he has Cornado, Comme Il Faut and Funky Fred to choose from. A good basis for both events. Calgary is a week before the World Equestrian Games. From there it is not so far to get to Tryon as from Borken.