Kent Farrington and Gazelle leap into history in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen

The sun shone down on the impressive CHIO Aachen arena for the pinnacle of the event, the Rolex Grand Prix. With seven horse and rider combinations through to the jump-off, the world’s best battled it out, but it was USA’s Kent Farrington who claimed the top prize aboard the speedy mare, Gazelle, in 43.98 seconds. In a nail-biting finish that went down to the wire as last-to-go Germany’s Daniel Deusser, looked close to beating Farrington’s time, but despite an electrifying clear round, finished just 0.37 seconds behind the American and had to settle for second place.

You have always said you wanted to win here, how does it feel now you have finally done it?
Every rider wants to win here. I have been riding out of that ring all week, looking at that winner’s wall and imagining my name on there, so I am so happy to come out with a win finally. I still can’t believe it’s real! CHIO Aachen is one of the most prestigious events in the world, I just feel so proud to win here.

Can you tell us how the course was to ride?
I think it is typical of an Aachen course. You have best of the best here, so every test you have out there on the course is difficult. Gazelle has the ability, scope and carefulness, and that was tested over the two rounds. I think that’s why you see so many faults throughout the class as every part of it is a test and so there is no easy part.

Will you be carrying on your Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’?
Absolutely! I will be there! The Rolex Grand Slam is great for the sport and I am excited to be a part of it again.

What was going through your mind entering the jump-off when there had been no clears? Did it change your strategy?
I have been so close in this class before. The last time I was in the jump-off I was the fastest but I had one pole down, so today I really wanted to go one better! I thought if I go clear it will put enough pressure on, so I had a different strategy and it paid off today.

What is Gazelle’s temperament like?
She has become a real professional in this sport. She knows the prize giving, she knows when she’s performing, she knows everything! She hasn’t always been that way, but now she is a real pro.

(Photos: Tiffany Van Halle)
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