History of Grand Prix Bratislava
Since the first year of this contest in 1965, the aim of the organizers has been to hold an international competition of such significance which would allow to compare the standard of the local and foreign showjumping, and thus to improve the quality of the local riders and horses. The initial year entitled "Golden Horseshoe´´ was held at the Young Guard Stadium. The first foreign guests were the riders of Honvéd Budapest and Vorwärtz Berlin (GDR). Our riders were not accustomed to such standard, and therefore they won only one of seven competitions (P. Gregor- Rytmus).
In 1967, the competition moved to a newly built course in Ovsište where an equestrian stadium was built, which is still the venue of the competition of today, and is one of the most beautiful courses in Europe. Our riders achieved very good results, having won all competitions, and L. Gonos won both the Puissance and the Golden Horseshoe.
One year later, the Golden Horseshoe was won by V. Dudáš, but only after fourth jump-off at the height of 190 cm, which was permitted by the then applicable rules, and this height has remained the GP record. V. Mladý on the horse Caravella won the high jump with the height of 190 cm.
Since 1971, the character of the competition was recognized as Grand Prix Bratislava, thus becoming a part of the most important showjumping contest and having a firm position in the FEI international calendar. 23 riders participated in the main competition, with the winner MVDr. J. Hanulay on the horse Caravella.
Due to veterinary causes, the date of the competition was transferred in 1973 to the first half of August, and because it was convenient for most foreign participants, the Grand Prix has been held in August until today.
The Xth year of Grand Prix in 1975 welcomed for the first time also the equipe from the former Soviet Union. The GP winner was H. Schulenburg, and the most successful of our riders was A. Glatz.
The eleventh year was very special for us, because in the strong competition of 17 riders of five countries, the winner was A. Glatz mounted on Letkiss.
The XIIth year (1977) was revolutionary, as it bore the CSIO identification (Concours de Sauts Internationale Oficiel) for the first time in history of the Czechoslovak equestrian sport, but it bears also the tile ,,tragic´´. In the first round of the Nations Cup started O. Mikoláš with the horse Lord which fell down, and had to be slaughtered directly on the course. In the Grand Prix started 27 competitors, and only after the second jump-off, the winner was J. Pecháček on the horse Dany.
In 1979, in the Nations Cup started the then current record number of nations - 9, for the first time with riders from Switzerland and a rider from Japan.
The greatest attraction of the XVIth Year was the Olympic champion from the Moscow Olympic Games J. Kowalczyk on the horse Artemor who proved to be a favorite and won from among the 31 competitors in the GP.
In 1983, the Bratislava GP was attended by such competitors as H. Dickson and L. McNaught who helped the Great Britain to place second in the Nations Cup after the F.R.G. equipe. The GP winner was G. Etter on the horse Parkgate II.
The XXIIIrd year of Grand Prix - CSIO was the first competition for the national teams from Italy and France, which were placed first and second, followed by the Great Britain´s equipe.
In 1989, the Grand Prix was one of the competitions of the Central European League of the World Cup - VOLVO World Cup 1989/90. The riders from Sweden started in Bratislava for the first time. However, this year was successful for the riders of our northern neighbor Poland, because they not only won the Nations Cup, where our team was placed fourth (V. Naštický, Ing. J. Hanulay), and the GP was won by R. Mrugala - Igram from Poland, followed by his four Polish colleagues.
The XXVth year of GP welcomed for the first time the national team from Mexico, which immediately won the Nations Cup, followed by Hungary and Switzerland. The national team of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, with one Slovak rider Š. Necela, was placed 7th.
In 1991, the Grand Prix CSIO-W was from the most part sponsored by the firm Dunhill. The national team from Latvia arrived for the first time. The GP winner was Z. Koscienski on the horse Folga, and from our riders, the best result was achieved by V. Naštický mounted on Heraldik. The Dunhill Trophy for the best domestic rider was awarded to A. Glatz.
In the Grand Prix - CSIO 1992 started 10 foreign nations, the riders from Ukraine for the first time. The Nations Cup was won by the French equipe, followed by Great Britain and ex-aequo Italy and Germany with Markus Beerbaum in its team.
The XXVIIIth year of GP in 1993 was the first competition for the national team of independent Slovakia from among 12 nations. The best of our riders was V. Naštický - Heraldik.
In the Grand Prix 1994 for the first time participated the teams from Greece, Croatia, and Cyprus. The Nations Cup was won by the equipe from Italy, followed by Germany and Switzerland. Our team consisting J. Hanulay Jr., M. Štangel, and Š. Necela was placed 9th. The competition was attended also by the future Olympic champion U. Kirchhoff who won the competition until the first fault.
The jubilee XXXth Year in 1995 welcomed the competitors from 11 countries, with the team of Slovenia for the first time. The most successful in the Grand Prix was Ch. Ahlmann on the horse Satan Du Trenblay, who has become one of the top German riders, and the third was placed J. Hanulay Jr. with the legendary Balast.
The Grand Prix 1996 welcomed 15 nations, for the first time the team from Denmark, with the winning team from Switzerland, followed by Germany and Italy. The Slovak equipe (J. Hanulay Jr., M. Štangel, Š. Necela, and A. Glatz ) was placed 8th. The GP was won by a Swiss rider D. Etter - Wandonga followed by the second J. Hanulay Jr. mounted on Balast.
The Grand Prix CSIO - W in 1997 which was for the first time sponsored by the firm Samsung, hosted 17 nations, including for the first time the riders from the U.S.A., Belgium, and New Zealand. The Nations Cup - Samsung was won by Great Britain, followed by Germany and Italy. Slovakia was placed 12th, with the team including M. Štangel, J. Hanulay Jr., K. Brenčič, and R. Noskovič. The GP winner was the Italian rider D. Gorla - Lord Van Essen. The most successful of our team, Štangel - IRI Maryska was placed on the good 9th place.
The 1998 Nations Cup was won by the team from Hungary, followed by Denmark and Belgium. The Slovak equipe was placed 8th (J. Hanulay Jr., M. Štangel, J. Kriviansky, J. Poláš ). After three in turn, the GP winner was again Ch. Ahlmann mounted on Satan Du Tremblay.
The XXXIVth year of CSIO-W in 1999 was attended by 17 nations, including 15 teams in the Nations Cup, and one rider from each of the Czech Republic and Belorussia. The Samsung Nations Cup was won by Belgium followed by the U.S.A., Germany and Italy were placed third ex-aequo. The Slovak equipe (M. Sýkora, J. Hanulay, M. Štangel, and J. Sláviková - the first Slovak woman in the Cup competition) was placed 14th. The Grand Prix was won by Richard Spooner - Kirk (U.S.A.). The most successful from our team was Ing. Juraj Hanulay - Balast with 4 penalty points, which was sufficient for the 11th place ex-aequo.
In 2000, the GPB CSIO-W was participated by a record number of 19 nations. The Nations Cup competition was attended by 13 teams. The winner was again the equipe from Belgium, with only 2.75 penalty points less than the Slovak equipe (M. Štangel - Carthago, M. Sýkora - Česáč, Ing. J. Hanulay - Kentaur Wiener Wald, and P. Mackovjak - Grandezza) having 5 penalty points less than The Netherlands. The Grand Prix was won by Marc Bettinger Jr. - Ragtime Joe (Germany). Of our team, P. Mackovjak - Grandezza had 4 penalty points in the jump-off and was placed 6th.
In 2001, the Grand Prix welcomed national teams from 17 countries with 12 equipes in the Nations Cup. The premier in Bratislava had the riders from Egypt. The Nations Cup was won by Germany, followed by Switzerland and France. The Slovak equipe (Sýkora, Štangel, Wild, and Hanulay) was placed 10th. For the first time of the GPB history, the Grand Prix was won by a female rider - Lisen Bratt- Fredricson - Graal (Sweden). Of our team, the best were Ing. J. Hanulay - Ritual and M. Sýkora - Česáč, with 8 penalty points and were placed 16th ex-aequo.
The Grand Prix 2002 was participated by the competitors from 18 countries with 16 equipes in the Nations Cup. One of the most popular and most successful riders of that year´s GPB was the Hungarian rider József Túri who competed in our country for the last time (he died tragically in 2003). In the Nations Cup, the second round was for the first time participated by only three riders. The winner was Hungary, followed by Portugal and Sweden. Our equipe (F. Pál, M. Štangel, M. Javorský, and Ing. J. Hanulay) was placed 13th. The Grand Prix was won by only 22-year old Franz-Josef Dahlmann - Pikeur Carlo Cassini (Germany). In our team, Ing. J. Hanulay - Wiener Wald with 8 penalty points was placed 29th.
In 2003, the GPB welcomed the competitors from 17 countries, including 13 in the Nations Cup. One of the participants was also a rider from Austria, Boris Boor, a member of the Czechoslovak national team in the years 1969-70, vice champion of the ČSSR 1970, and second in the GPB in the years 1969 and 1970. The Nations Cup was for the third time won by the equipe from Belgium, followed by ex-aequo Italy and Switzerland. Our team (Z. Kuchár, P. Mackovjak, Ing. J. Hanulay, and M. Štangel) was placed 9th after two rounds. The GPB was won by Niels Bruynseels - Domino del Fel (Belgium), the youngest winner in the GPB history (19 years old). From our riders, the most successful was M. Štangel - Boris du Melnier, with 4 penalty points, who was placed 6th.
The XXXIXth year of Grand Prix Bratislava CSIO - W**** in 2004 welcomed the competitors from 15 countries, including 12 teams in the Nations Cup. The individual riders from Turkey and Estonia competed in Bratislava for the first time. The Nations Cup was won by Sweden followed by Switzerland, and Austria, Hungary, and Germany were placed 3rd. Our team (Štangel, J. Wild, M. Štangelová - another woman in the Nations Cup, and Ing. J. Hanulay) with 55 penalty points was again placed 9th. The Grand Prix was won by Jan Vinckier - Energie de Bacon (Belgium). M. Štangel - Anblick 16 and Ing. J. Hanulay - Lou Bega with 4 penalty points were placed 7th ex aequo.
Ing. Juraja Hanulay with horse Lou Bega was the winner of the XL. Annual Grand Prix Bratislava CSIO-W**** 2005. It is a victory of a Slovak rider after 29 years, when the last Slovak rider to win the GPB was Ing. Andrej Glatz with horse Lektis in 1976. 18 countries took part in the race, 15 teams to Cup of Nations. First time in the history of the race started representatives of Portugal and Bermudas, which caused that the overall number of participating countries in GPB raised to 41. In the Cup of Nations the winner was the team of Germany, ahead of Sweden and Poland. Our team (M. Štangel, R. Pál, M. Štangelová a Ing. J. Hanulay) ended up 15th. In Grand Prix – Mercedes-Benz, Ing. Juraj Hanulay with horse Lou Bega won, when he beat the only one in the jump off, French Cédrica Angota with Flash Varennes by 0, 32 sec.
XLI. Annual Aegon Mercedes Grand Prix Bratislava CSIO-W*** 2006. Erika Lickhamer was only a second amazon in the history of the race, who managed to beat men in the main race. 16 countries took part in the race, 14 teams started in the Cup of Nations, won by the team of Great Britain, ahead of Poland and Germany. Our team (M. Štangel, R. Pál, M. Štangelová a Ing. J. Hanulay) ended up 12th. In the Grand Prix Erika Lickhamer with horse Irco Mac (Sweden) won. From our team the most successful was Monika Štangelová with horse Lux Ass, who ended up 5th.
XLII. Annual Aegon Mercedes Grand Prix Bratislava CSIO-W**** 2007. In Bratislava representatives of 16 countries came together, 10 of them took part in the Cup of Nations.. Newcomer of the race was an attractive representative of Hong Kong. In the Cup of Nations the souvereign style victory took the team of Estonia, ahead of Austria and ex aeguo Hungary and Switzerland. Our team (M. Štangel, Z. Kuchár, M. Štangelová a I. Šulek) ended up 7th. The Grand Prix won Stefan Eder on the horse Sorbas (Austria), our most successful Igor Šulek – Wawo Profit ended up 11th.
Before XLIII. Annual Aegon Mercedes Grand Prix Bratislava CSIO-W**** 2008 from the preliminary applications we register attendance of 15 countries with 13 teams from the Cup of Nations. Overall 67 riders shall start on 155 horses. Newcomers in Bratislava will be representatives of Finland.
Author: Ing. Eugen Gejmovský