Steve Guerdat (SUI) riding Dynamix de Belheme during the day 2 of Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping  on December 8, 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo by Pierre Costabadie/Icon Sport) © CHIG /

Swiss stars ready to take on world’s best

The eyes of the world will be on the 62nd Concours Hippique International de Genève (CHI Geneva), with the best show jumpers on the planet – among them Martin Fuchs and Steve Guerdat – going head-to-head in the 22nd Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final and the Rolex Grand Prix. Also featuring high on the bill of an event that has become an unmissable celebration of all things equestrian are indoor cross-country and the Swiss round of the FEI Driving World Cup.

The world’s leading riders and drivers will be in action at the 62nd CHI Geneva, at Palexpo on 6 to 10 December. Featuring large among them will be Jura’s own Steve Guerdat, the reigning European jumping champion (in tandem with the amazing Dynamix de Bélhème), who, on the evening of Saturday 9 December, will receive a special tribute for that achievement and all his Rolex Grand Slam success. A European champion himself in 2019, Zurich’s Martin Fuchs now has the Grand Slam in his sights following his superb win on Leone Jei at Spruce Meadows in mid-September.

The 17-strong Swiss contingent, which includes ten riders from the French-speaking part of the country, will not be lacking in motivation as they look to shine on home soil. Up against them will be a veritable host of stars from the world of jumping, led by world No.1 and two-time reigning individual and team world champion Henrik von Eckermann. On board the peerless chestnut King Edward, the Swede will be intent on defending his title in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final on Friday (21:00) and taking the honours in Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix, one of the four Grand Slam events on the global jumping calendar.

Also lining up are world No.2 Ben Maher of Great Britain, the individual Olympic gold medallist at Tokyo and the 2021 Top 10 Final winner; the USA’s Kent Farrington, one place below Maher in the world rankings and a winner here in 2015 and 2019; and the ever-combative Julien Epaillard of France, among others. With nine riders, including five on the Big Tour, France have the largest contingent of all foreign countries, followed by Germany on seven, Belgium on five and Ireland on four.

Elite events

The field is truly outstanding, the kind only seen two or three times a year at most, with 25 of the world’s top 30 riders in action, all of them on their top horses. An action-packed programme features Le Trophée de Genève on Thursday evening (20:00), a 160cm event with a jump-off that serves as the main qualifying competition for the Rolex Grand Prix. The second qualifying event is the Prix des Communes Genevoises on Friday (14:15), which is followed in the evening by the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. Saturday’s highlights are the Coupe de Genève (14:00), the famous combinations event, which features a CHIG-exclusive quadruple; and the Credit Suisse Challenge (21:40), with the Rolex Grand Prix bringing things to an exciting conclusion on Sunday (14:30).

The 32 U-25s competing on the Young Riders Tour are the cream of the next generation, and of the 12 home riders five are from French-speaking Switzerland. Some of their competitors will be crossing the Atlantic for the occasion, with world ranking points up for grabs in Saturday’s Grand Prix Defender. The CHI Geneva has always supported promising young talents, and Saturday morning’s relay will bring together youngsters and cross-country riders and will also be open to three pony teams.

Indoor cross-country, driving, breeding and a host of attractions

Presented by local newspaper La Tribune de Genève, Friday’s indoor cross-country event (18:00) will attract some of the stars of eventing for a spectacular competition comprising jumps, ditches and natural obstacles, including a lake and bank. Challenging Germany’s three-time Olympic champion Michael Jung for top honours will be France’s Karim F. Laghouag and Astier Nicolas, the British duo of Alex Bragg and Kirsty Chabert, Ireland’s Cathal Daniels, and some excellent Swiss riders, most notably Mélody Johner, Nadja Minder and Robin Godel, who won in 2021 on Grandeur de Lully CH.

Presented by RTS, which will broadcast four events in total (two on Friday and two on Sunday), the Swiss round of the FEI Driving World Cup takes place on Sunday (11:30). The Netherlands’ Bram Chardon will be gunning for a third successive win in the event, though compatriot Koos de Ronde and Jérôme Voutaz of Valais, who always provides a spectacle with his Franches-Montagnes, will be just two of the drivers with something to say about that.

Finally, the CHI Geneva is also home to breeding events; superb shows, including a high-flying act, Les Sangles, by Marie Barcelo and Pierre Antoine Chastang; and a major exhibitor fair that opens on Wednesday for the Jockey Club events, for which admission is free. It all adds up to a five-day equestrian extravaganza.

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