What's at Stake, Who's in the Running: the Spruce Meadows 'Masters'
A winning cooler and red rosette from Spruce Meadows. Photo by Quinn Saunders
Each September, many of the world's top combinations flock to Calgary, AB, Canada. The five-day Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament culminates with the CSIO5* CP International Presented by Rolex; not only is this event part of the revered Rolex Grand Slam of show jumping, but it also offers the richest purse in our sport: $3 million CAD.
The winner will receive $990,000 CAD (about $751,662 USD). For comparison, the winner of the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen receives about $500,000 USD, and the current year-to-date earnings leader for 2022, Henrick von Eckerman, has earned $882,719 in eight months.
For Gerrit Nieberg (GER), Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Daniel Deusser (GER), there is even more incentive on the line. Nieberg is the current Live Contender for the Rolex Grand Slam—which has only been won once, by the way (We see you, Scott Brash)—and both Fuchs and Deusser can win bonuses for winning two of four Grand Slam events in the calendar year.
Just how likely are they to execute? Prixview broke down the numbers:
Gerrit Neiberg (GER)
Nieberg had a breakout moment when he won the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen in July, but it wasn't as surprising as many thought.
Nieberg has a few things on his side as he heads to Calgary. One, of course, is momentum, but there's an opposite side to that coin in that the pressure will increase exponentially.
One thing we know is that top mount Ben 431 loves an open grass field and will have a somewhat similar venue to Aachen to jump on when in Calgary. Ben 431 is averaging just 1.71 faults on grass this year (versus 4.4 on sand and synthetic surfaces), though it is important to note that the horse has made considerably more starts on sand/synthetic than grass. The versatile horse has also had success indoors and jumped at the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final.
This pair's weakness appears to be skinny fences. They have had rails at 50% of the skinny vertical and skinny oxer fences they've faced in 2022, according to Prixview Next Gen data. Things might be on their side at Spruce, a venue know for extra long 14' and 16' rails!
Martin Fuchs (SUI)
Fuchs is currently the world's second-ranked rider, and he led the prestigious Longines Jumping Rankings earlier this year. He won the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final as well as the Rolex Grand Prix at Dinard this year.
Fuchs is averaging just 2 faults across all of his mounts this year, and he maintains that average at 1.60m, with an average finish position within the top 10 from 20 starts at the height in 2022.
His top mount Leone Jei has been rested since the World Championships and should arrive a fresh horse in Calgary. According to Prixview Next Gen data, the grey gelding has been faultless in jump-offs this year and is finishing in the top 3 in major events nearly a quarter of the time (21.74%).
Good luck finding much of a weakness with this horse. He is very well balanced and a true Championship horse built for these kinds of tests.
Daniel Deusser (GER)
Former World No. 1 Daniel Deusser (GER) won the Rolex Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters this year (We predicted it). He'll bring forward Killer Queen VDM at Spruce, who, in four years at Aachen, has still never had a rail.
Deusser tends to thrive in big events, and he is averaging just 3 faults at the CSIO5* level in 2022. Similarly to Ben 431, the Queen thrives on a big grass field, but she has never before been to Calgary.
What should you watch out for? Combinations off the right lead. According to Prixview Next Gen data, Killer Queen has had rails at the combination 26.92% of the time she's faced the obstacle on course—57% of those rails have come at the "b" element.
Follow Nieberg, Fuchs and Deusser through Prixview's fantasy games this week at the CSIO5*/CSI3* Spruce Meadows 'Masters.'