Posted on March 05, 2017

March CDI 5* Grand Prix Special class

Seven riders from six nations came forward for the Grand Prix Special- the opening class of the closing day at CHI AL SHAQAB. This is a dedicated class for dressage riders who missed out on qualifying for the Grand Prix Freestyle which also takes place today, but the highest placed riders can opt to enter this Special class instead of the Freestyle if they wish. In this case several riders who were well placed yesterday chose to do this.

The first four riders failed to break the 70 % barrier until Spencer Wilton entered the arena. The British team member presented a stunning test and post an incredible score of 76.608% with Super Nova II. Speaking after his win “He’s a very special horse. I just have to keep him relaxed. After yesterday, this means an awful lot. We had a really tricky ride (In Grand Prix), but today gave me a more confident feeling. I was at Stuttgart for the World Cup and he got really nervous with all the crowds and I think yesterday he felt on edge but today he was much more confident. That’s what I wanted to do, just have a more confident end to the show and that is why I chose to do the Special and not the Freestyle. I didn’t want to risk going out and having a tricky ride and with the Special there are not so many distractions and he knows the test.”

On Super Nova II

“His owner Jen bought him as a seven year old, so I’ve been with him for seven years  -but he’s had a checkered career with injuries. Hopefully the Europeans is the plan. It would be incredible if I ever had a horse like him in my career” said Wilton who has no other horses of this caliber. “Although I might find one that is easier to ride but unlikely to be as talented” he laughs “I just hope we can keep him sound and happy and we will see”.

Wilton finished 7th in yesterday’s CDI 5* Grand Prix on a score of 71.920% and was one rider who chose to enter the Special in the hope of being more competitive.  Wilton was part of the British silver medal winning team at last year’s Rio Olympics with this horse. Super Nova II has been Wilton’s most successful horse yet,shares ownership with Jen Goodman - who also made the trip out to CHI AL SHAQAB to watch the pair in action. “We’ve had a lovely time here- the facilities and the arenas are just amazing” she said.

Bernadette Bruno of Germany riding Spirit of Age Old finished second on a score of 69.235 whilst Danielle Heijkoop was third on Badnarik with a score of 69.098%

CSI3* 1st class

Ramzy Hamad Al Duhami finally got his big break in the CSI 3* Accumulator class, having previously finished second on day one and two with his horse High Quality J. Despite riding in the torrential weather with a round punctuated by thunder, he pulled out all the stops to record the maximum number of points in the fastest time of 46.79.  Speaking after his win which came towards the end of the class.  “It’s great to get the break on the last day. I guess my horse didn’t mind the weather as he jumped really well. I have had a good year so far and I hope to continue that and aim for 5* next year.

 The Accumulator is a class where riders jump a course of ten fences and gain points for jumping each fence clear, the points are in correlation to the jump number (i.e 1 point for fence number 1; 2 points for fence 2). There are double points for jumping the larger option of the last fence also known as the “Joker” fence. This came in the form of a sizable upright which was higher than the remainder of the 1m30 course. Riders picked up penalty points if they attempt the Joker but did not manage to clear it. When multiple riders complete on the maximum score of 65, it is the fastest time which wins so this is essentially a speed class. With it’s concept of “He who dares, wins”, it is a class that makes for great spectator entertainment.

There were 43 riders in the class and 12 finished on the maximum 65 points. In second place Columbian rider Andres Penalosa finished on a time of 65.0 seconds with Tenor de Rouhet and it was Qatari rider Jabber Rashid Al Amri who finished in third with Canavaro de Muze (E.T). His time was 48.47 seconds.

Quote from Abdel Kebir Ouaddar

Abdel Kebir Ouaddar, the Moroccan rider, who won the CSI5* showjumping competition on the first day of CHI AL SHAQAB, said “I am very proud to be part of this competition for the third year. Every year it gets better and more exciting as they get the top 50 riders in the world. I am truly enjoying this nice weather amongst the world’s best riders and a very hospitable location, Al SHAQAB. Facilities here are extraordinary, the way the horses are treated and groomed is excellent”

CPEDI 3*Freestyle class

The Freestyle class was the finale for the 26 Para Dressage Riders competing here on the closing day of CHI AL SHAQAB 2017. The Freestyle is a competition where riders perform certain dressage movements but make up their own sequence which is choreographed to their choice of music. They ride in front of three world renowned judges who mark their performance of the movements as well as “artistic” marks for their choreography and rhythm to the music.

Jens Lasse Dokkan claimed his third victory in the Grade I scoring 72.917 % with his loyal mare Cypres. He was thrilled to beat several riders higher than him in the world rankings. Second place went to Elke Philipp who is ranked seventh in the world but came to CHI AL SHAQAB with second string horse Fuerst Sinclair 3.  Philipp was individual and team gold medallist for Germany at the Rio Paralympic Games on her main horse Regaliz.

In the Grade II PepoPuch reminded us why he was the gold medal winner at the Rio Paralympics and ranked third in the world. Although this time, his score of 76.889 %on Fontainenoir took just a short lead over Lee Pearson, who scored 76.000% on his homebred mare Styletta. The eight year old mare looked a lot more settled in her performance than her previous two tests. Pearson is currently sixth in the world rankings but has won a staggering 11 gold medals at the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London.

Steffen Zeibig’s 72.000% in the Grade III Freestyle was good enough for another win over Rixt van der Horst. Zeibig was delighted with the German bred mare Feel Good 4 who has won every class this week. He also competes in able-bodied showjumping and dressage. SanneVoets stormed ahead again in the Grade IV with an outstanding score of 75.458%. Riding Demantur the Dutch rider who is ranked 21st in the world is a regular competitor at CHI AL SHAQAB which has been a lucky place for him- he led both the Team competition and the Individual event held yesterday and won last year. Trailing behind with a score of 68.583% was Philippa Johnson-Dwyer with Verdi.

It was another Dutch success for father of three Frank Hosmar in the Grade V on Alphaville N.O.P who scored his best percentage of the week with 77.000%. Ciska yet again had to be content with second sport, after scoring 72.042% on Rohmeo.

CSI 5* 1st class

Emanuele Gaudiano took every risk to win the CSI 5* speed class on the final day of CHI AL SHAQAB with a time of 60.34. His stallion Chestnut simply ate up the ground with his huge strides. Gaurdiano never took a pull around this 1m 45 course and kept spectators on the edge of their seats when he took some strides out before several fences, including the last. The ever consistent Italian was delighted with his first win at this year’s edition of CHI AL SHAQAB, although he has finished in the top placing in several CSI 5* classes this week. Speaking after his win he explained “my horse was really with me. He likes to go fast. I have competed in this sport since I was nine years old and I love being a show jumper.”

Gaudiano is now based in Germany as it offers better access to competitions than his native town of Matera. He lives with his wife Henrike and daughters Lisa and Elia. Alongside competing at the highest level he trains and competes horses of all ages together with his father Giovanni. He competed in the Rio Olympics for Italy on Casper 232, the horse he will be riding in the Grand Prix here at CHI AL SHAQAB. It was another great result for Ibrahim Hani Bisharat and his diminutive mare Brown Sugar who is proving useful in the speed classes this week. He finished just a fraction behind Gaudiano on 60.61. Interestingly the first and second placed horses were both sired by Chacco Blue. Chacco Blue was himself a Grand Prix winner and had a staggering four of his progeny represented at the European Championships in 2015.

Markell va der Vlueten had his best result of the show so far with a third place on VDL Group Quatro on a time of 60.94.

CSI 3* 2nd class

It was a superb win in front of his home crowd for university student Khalid Mohammed A S Al Emadi. Once again he partnered the spring heeled mare Tamira IV, who is now 17 years old, but has been a great servant to the sport having competed at the World Equestrian Games in 2014 with Al Emadi and recently finishing 2nd in a World Cup qualifier at Al Ain. First to go in the jump-off, the talented pair produced a lightening quick clear round in a time of 39.63 seconds which proved too hot to touch. With second placed Frédéric trailing nearly six seconds behind on 45.40 with the only other clear round in the jump-off on his horse Ecuador Van’T Roosakker. Arkansas Al Hasawi picked up third spot with a fast time but paid the price for his risks with two fences down.

After his win an overwhelmed Al Emadi explained that he juggles his studies with showjumping but would like to pursue a career in the sport eventually. His goal is to compete at the Olympics one day. The final CSI3 * class was the most significant for this level. A Grand Prix which featured one round and a jump off with a prize fund of 36,500 euros. The first round measured 1m 45 and involved a few tricky related distances with a treble combination at jump six which caught a number of riders out. 24 horses started the class but a total of just five riders jumped clear to go through to the jump off.

Qatari riders put in a strong performance and it became a family affair in the jump-off with both Khalid Mohammed A S Al Emadi and his twin brother Salman A S Al Emadi having jumped solid clear rounds in the first round. Salman finished in eventual 4th after his horse Zorro Z knocked two fences in the jump-off. 11 riders represented Qatar in this class emphasizing the growing depth and ability of the nation in the sport of show jumping.

CDI 5* Freestyle Dressage

It was another masterful performance by World Number one dressage rider Isabel Werth in the Grand Prix Freestyle at CHI AL SHAQAB. Riding Don Johnson Frh, Werth scored a number of 8s and 9s in her test to finish on a score of 81.275%. Good marks came throughout the performance and for her collectives but her canter work was marked as outstanding by all five judges. The Grand Prix Freestyle to Music is a competition where riders must perform certain dressage movements but make up their own sequence which is choreographed to their choice of music. They ride in front of five world renowned judges who mark their performance of the movements as well as “artistic” marks for their choreography and rhythm to the music.

Werth is the most successful equestrian Olympian ever having contested five Olympics, winning ten medals and six of those gold.  She is a qualified as a lawyer but now rides horses full time from her base in Germany. She comes from a family steeped in equestrianism and started out competing in showjumping. Catherine Dufour gave Werth a run for her money on her great horse Atterupgaards Cassidy to score 80.775%. The Danish rider scored a number of 9’s throughout her test from all five judges. The 25 year old has partnered this horse since her days as a Junior rider winning team and individual gold medals at the Young Rider European Championships and the representing Denmark at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Anna Kasprzak took third spot for the second time with Donperignon. She scored a number of 8s throughout her test for a final percentage of 78.700% but was let down by her walk which scored several 6s. PatrikKittel finished fourth with Deja. The Swedish rider was the Freestyle winner in 2015 and 2016 and has participated in every CHI AL SHAQAB since the first in 2013. 15 riders competed in the Freestyle at CHI AL SHAQAB in front of five multi-national judges: Leif Toernblad from Denmark; Ghislain Fouarge from Holland; Andrew Gardner from Britain; Trondheim Asmyr from Norway and Susan Hoevenaars from Australia.

CHI AL SHAQAB 2017 - Results 4th 1 [].jpg

Quote from Amelia Anderson

“Being here is very exciting, I have been to CHI before and every year I look forward to it more and more. One of my favorite aspects of CHI AL SHAQAB is the dressage, it is one of the most beautiful things I have seen throughout this competition, the way the rider and horse enter and perform is so graceful. It has been such a delight for me and my family to be here.”

Quote from Olivier Ranon

“Overall the event is extremely entertaining, the atmosphere, restaurants and activities all made our experience great. This is the first time for me to come to CHI AL SHAQAB. I am very impressed with the standard of these riders and the way everything is organized. The dressage has been the most enjoyable for me,” 

CSI 5* Grand Prix

It was another big win for the prolific Scott Brash in the CSI 5* Grand Prix. After jumping a double clear in the first two rounds, the former World Number One was first to go in the jump-off and posted a faultless performance in a time of 45.21. The 31 year old from Scotland was riding Ursula XII who has been one of his faithful campaigners. The  16 year old mare has had a long and successful career with Brash and won the Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows last year.Brash helped Team GB win an Olympic gold in London 2012 and became the first rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam, all three of the sport’s most prestigious events in a single year- a feat he managed to pull off twice- in 2015 and 2016.

Speaking after his win: “I’m delighted with her (Ursula XII) and a win here means a lot to me. We are off to Stuttgart next. I have some promising young horses coming through including one my father bred.” When asked what he will spend the money on: “With horses it goes very quickly, just on keeping them and traveling from show to show.” Second place was won by the only other clear in the jump off- Turkish rider Omer Karaevli on Roso Au Crosnier who finished on a time of 45.98. The other two riders in the jump-off were Pilar Lucrecia Cordon from Spain and Christian Ahlmann from Germany both of whom recorded faster times but had a fence down.

The CSI 5* Grand Prix was the class all the riders wanted to win and they saved their best horses in the hope of taking a share of the staggering 500,000,00 euro prize fund. Frank Rothenberger set another tough challenge for the 42 riders who entered. The format involved jumping the first course of fences measuring 1m60 and the top 18 riders going through to the second round where a new course was built of the same height but a greater technicality. This is a test of stamina as well as athleticism and speed. There were just four double clears that went through to the jump-off.

In round one, a number of world class riders picked up time penalties including a former CHI AL SHAQAB Grand Prix winner Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Niels Bruynseels (BEL) and Qatar’s Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani which put them out of the running for the jump-off round.