40,000 enthusiastic spectators in the riding stadium in Aachen cheered, the winner Marcus Ehning tore his riding helmet off his head, clenched both fists and cried tears of joy. For the third time after 2006 and 2018, the exceptional German rider secured victory at the Grand Prix of Aachen in show jumping. On Stargold he prevailed in the jump-off ahead of Daniel Deusser on Killer Queen and Philipp Weishaupt on Zineday. Ehning needed 45.12 seconds for his final lap over the obstacles, making him 61 hundredths faster than Deusser. Weishaupt had afforded a discard.
“I had a good feeling at Stargold the whole week. He’s been in good shape for the past two weeks,” said Ehning afterwards. “But the fact that I’m sitting here now and have won the Grand Prix of Aachen is really unbelievable.”
With five pairs in the jump-off
The Aachen Grand Prix, which traditionally marks the end of the CHIO in Aachen, is ridden in two rounds. The 40 best riders of the tournament week so far will be at the start, the 18 best placed after round one are still there in the second round. After the first round, twelve pairs were still clear, including the Germans Ehning, Weishaupt and Deusser, all three former Aachen winners, as well as defending champion Gerrit Nieberg on Ben.
In the second round, the Mexicans Eugenio Garza Perez on Contago and Rodrigo Pessoa on Major Tom as well as Weishaupt, Deusser and Ehning stayed clear again. Nieberg made a mistake and ended up ninth. These five pairs went into a jump-off, where Ehning finally prevailed.
McLain Ward misses millions jackpot
The Aachen Show Jumping Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious competitions in international equestrian sport. Anyone who wins here has achieved something comparable to a victory at Wimbledon in tennis, at the Augusta Masters in golf or at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco.
The show jumping in Aachen is also part of the so-called Rolex Grand Slam, a highly remunerated series of tournaments in which lucrative additional prizes can be won in addition to the already high prize money for an individual victory.
This time the American McLain Ward had the most at stake. He had previously won the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva, Switzerland and s’-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.
Another victory in Aachen and with it the so-called Rolex Grand Slam would have given Ward a bonus of another million euros in addition to the half a million euros in prize money. But he and his mare HH Azur had two downs after the first three obstacles in the first round, whereupon Ward gave up. So far only the Briton Scott Brash could win the Grand Slam in 2015.
Jessica von Bredow-Werndl wins in dressage
Before the grand prix in show jumping, the decision was also made in the most important dressage competition. Double Olympic champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl secured victory in the Grand Dressage Prize, showing an impressive freestyle on Dalera and outshining the competition with 90.820 points.
Behind Bredow-Werndl, who won in Aachen for the first time in her career, the Dane Nanna Skodborg Merrald on Zepter (88.730 points) and the Brit Charlotte Dujardin on Imhotep (88.415) took the other places. For Isabell Werth, the record winner of Aachen with 14 successes in the Grand Prix, this time it was only enough for fifth place on Quantaz with 84.840 points. In the team classification, Werth and von Bredow-Werndl had already won the Nations Cup on Saturday together with Frederic Wandres on Bluetooth.
In eventing, the Nations Cup also went to the German team on Saturday. In the individual classification, however, Michael Jung on Chipmunk was a second too slow and finished second with a minimal deficit of 0.10 penalty points behind Brit Yasmin Ingham with Banzai de Loir. Third was the American Tamra Smith on Mai Baum.