Surprise Win? Breaking Down the Numbers Behind Gerrit Nieberg and Ben 431 at Aachen
Gerrit Nieberg and Ben 431. Photo by Ashley Neuhof for the Rolex Grand Slam
It was the inside turn heard ‘round the world as Gerrit Nieberg (GER) and Ben 431 (Sylvain x Quincy Jones) etched their names in history as winners of the 2022 CSIO5* Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.
On the surface, it appears as though Nieberg, 29, came out of nowhere. But did he?
The numbers suggest this was no fluke. In fact, the Münsterland (GER) native might just be an Aachen specialist.
In 32 starts at CHIO Aachen since 2018, Nieberg has averaged less than a rail (3.5 faults) across nine different horses at both the CSIO5* and CSIYH1* levels. His average finish position is within the top 20 (18).
His record with Ben 431 is even more eye opening. In nine starts at CHIO Aachen from 2019 to 2022, Nieberg and Ben average just 1.3 faults! Their average finish position is just outside the top 10 (11.4).
Frank Rothenberger’s (GER) course may also have suited this pair. According to Prixview NextGen data*, Ben 431 is stronger off his right lead (55.56% of his faults come off the left lead, with just 33.33% of faults coming off the right lead). Moreover, the horse has incurred the most faults at “skinny” fences, with 33.33% of faults coming at skinny verticals and 50% of his rails coming at skinny oxers. There were no skinny oxers on course in the Rolex Grand Prix. Moreover, the skinny vertical in the first round came off of the right lead, setting him up for confidence on a big day.
That impressive inside turn? It also came off the right lead. And the numbers suggest Ben is simply superior on grass. Just 2.7% of the gelding’s faults have come on a grass surface, while 7.69% and 6.67% come on sand and fiber, respectively.
Nieberg and Ben 431 finished ninth in this event last year. If you went by the numbers, you shouldn’t have been surprised by this result at all. Congratulations to Gerrit Nieberg on an exceptional day!
*PRIXVIEW NEXT GEN
Prixview's Next Gen stats provide never-before-collected data in breaking down faults for athletes, horses and horse-rider combinations. Next Gen data has been collected by Prixview's team at select, “top-tier” international competitions. This subset includes competitions from the CSI2*, 3*, 4* and 5* level to World Cup qualifiers, Nations Cup events and other widely-attended global events.