Photo: Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze (Rolex/Ashley Neuhof)
The first equestrian major of the year, the Rolex Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters 2018 in ’s-Hertogenbosch, has been won by the 12-year-old  bay mare Gancia de Muze (Malito de Reve [BWP] - Barones x Nimmerdor [KWPN]). Bred by Perry de Winter, Gancia is a paternal grand-daughter of the individual showjumping world champion in 2006, the Holsteiner Cumano (Cassini I), and Selle Français Dira Courcelle (Muguet du Manoir).
Ridden by Bruynseels since July 2015, Gancia de Muze conquered two demanding qualifiers over tough courses set by Louis Kronickx on Friday and Saturday, so expectations were high for a challenging Rolex Grand Prix today, and no one was disappointed. From the world-class line-up, 13 combinations entered the arena for the jump-off, which saw Rolex testimonee Bertram Allen (IRL) claim an early lead riding Gin Chin van het Lindenhof. He was followed by the only rider to so far win the Rolex Grand Slam, Scott Brash, riding Ursula XII, and the pair were clear coming to the last fence when the mare clipped a rail to put them out of contention in 10th place. Allen was, however, eclipsed by Germany’s Marcus Ehning riding Cornado NRW, who demonstrated their competitive experience by pushing all the boundaries. While other riders tried, it was left to the last rider of the day, Niels Bruynseels: “I have to say it was a very, very good course, especially for me! Thirteen riders in the jump-off allowed me to see a few rounds as I was last to go, and I knew I had to be really fast. I also knew I had a very fast horse. I took a few big risks and it went well”.
Aachen is the next stop in the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping and Bruynseels said: “Of course, it is one of my goals to go there and win.”