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Sameh El Dahan: the ‘other’ Rolex Grand Slam contender

Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan is, in addition to Marcus Ehning, the second rider who can win an extra bonus at The Dutch Masters. He won the Major, the CP ‘International’ presented by Rolex, of Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Calgary in September last year with his 15-year-old mare Suma’s Zorro. That day his Rolex Grand Slam cycle started and his name entered the winners’ list with big names such as Scott Brash, Marcus Ehning and Steve Guerdat. If he wins the Rolex Grand Prix of The Dutch Masters he will receive a bonus of € 250,000.

Sameh El Dahan had originally chosen a completely different course. “I come from a family of doctors. After school that appeared to be the right way for me too, so I began studying,” the 34-year-old explained. “However, it soon became clear to me that riding, not medicine, was my vocation.” Nevertheless, Sameh El Dahan completed his degree – giving up was never an option for him – before moving from his native country Egypt to Northern Ireland in the year 2011 to dedicate his time fully to the equestrian sport.

El Dahan has good memories of The Dutch Masters. Seven years ago he made his debut on the international podium during the 2012 World Cup Finals in ’s-Hertogenbosch. He finished in 22nd place with Pepperpot.

The 34-year-old rider from Egypt represented his country during the World Equestrian Games in Caen in 2014 and Tryon in 2018. His major breakthrough came in the autumn of 2017: Spurred on by their victory in a five-star Grand Prix of the Summer Series in Calgary, Sameh El Dahan and his top horse, Suma’s Zorro, place in the top ten in the Rolex Grand Slam Grand Prix event at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. A year later on September 9th, 2018, the pair won the very same Grand Prix, the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex – and “a childhood dream came true” for Sameh El Dahan. “It’s Zorro I have to thank most for this victory,” he raved about the small chestnut mare that he has been riding since 2011.

The pair did not succeed in winning the Major of CHI Geneva, but now Sameh El Dahan is back at the place where it all started and he will sureley aim for a victory. “I haven’t competed at The Dutch Masters for a while, but I heard really positive things from people who competed there last year, so I am excited to be a part of it,” says El Dahan.

The Rolex Grand Prix, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, will be staged on Sunday 17 March at 3.30 pm.
(Photo: Rolex/Ashley Neuhof)