At the conclusion of the Spruce Meadows Masters, Germany's Daniel Deusser, a Rolex Testimonee, conquered three intense rounds to win the $3,000,000 CP International Grand Prix presented by Rolex, ahead of last year's winner, himself a Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat riding Venard de Cerisy. Twenty-four-year-old Gilles Thomas from Belgium riding Aretino 13 finished third.
As usual Leopoldo Palacios designed a classy course that produced only four clear rounds: with McLain Ward and HH Azur joining the top three for the second round where he incurred one rail.
Going first in the jump-off, Guerdat had the option of going fast or going clean, and shaving metres from the corners eventually cost him a rail, albeit in the fastest time. Gilles Thomas likewise decided that speed was necessary, but it cost him eight faults in 42.31. Last to go, Deusser naturally had the benefit of foresight and chose a steadier pace with his 12-year-old BWP mare, Killer Queen VDM (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x For Pleasure), producing a hoof-perfect round in a time of 45.78.
It's Deusser's third win of a Rolex Major, the first two coming at the Dutch Masters and Aachen, so completing a career Grand Slam. "This is not just a super competition, it's an historic class and being able to win one in my life... I don't have the words at the moment." Asked about his jump-off stragegy: "To be honest, when I went to the first fence I wasn't sure what I would do, but I knew I could go clear to win. She has a big stride and went deep at the last fence and had a rub, but I'm very proud of her. It was a lot of effort, but she's an amazing mare, has a lot of blood and likes big arenas, so this really suited her."
Asked about unsuccessfully defending his 2021 Rolex Major win, Guerdat said; "I would be a very good poker play because you have no idea how I feel right now. Of course, I'm disappointed because I would have loved to win again today. Finishing second in any other Grand Prix and I'm happy, but there's a huge difference between being the winner and the loser of a Rolex Major. Although I'm disappointed with the result, I'm happy for a lot of reasons today, with the way my horse has been jumping, for my team, and with the way I rode today."
For Gilles Thomas it was his first experience of Spruce Meadows and the Rolex Major and explained that he knew he had to go faster to beat Steve's time. "I've heard so many stories about Spruce Meadows, big fences, wide fences, atmosphere, and now I believe it. After Hickstead people told me that Calgary would suit my horse, and I was happy to be in the top three."