By: Karim Mekawi, Egypt
It was 30- year old Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani from Qatar and 12- year old Holsteiner gelding Cascano (Cascavelle x Ahorn Z) who won the Grand Prix title of the second weekend of CSI 1* WC of Amman, Jordan. The latter were second to go in the second round of course designer Ahmed Talaat's demanding 1m45 - 1m50 track over two rounds on Saturday, to shave off 4 seconds from the time set by Syrian Homam El Kholy and Gemini.
In total, seven horse and rider combinations produced a clean sheet in the first round to qualify to the second one including the young Egyptian and very talented Yahia Ragab & Azzuro who went relatively fast but on eight unfortunate faults which took him to 6th place. Alaa Waziry (EGY) and Luciana were very impressive at this level but suffered the front rail of the wide oxer at number 7 in a time of 50.53 seconds.
The Ireland- based Sameh El Dahan and the Clinton mare Elegance Casablanca were in line after Waziry, starting off in a very fast gear but with a little miscommunication at the tall vertical number 3 going down as well as faults on the last line going home in a hasty 46.40 seconds but on a total of 12 faults.
After El- Dahan was Maysam Bisharat (JOR) on a grey little machine called Wona Do, who had a breath- taking clear in 51.39 with much jolting and cheering by her home crowd to slot into a respectable third place.
Last to go in line was another Jordanian - Saleh Fakhoury who also had the controversial oxer at number 7 in 50.58 seconds to acquire 5th place overall.
"The first round was quite tricky," said Ahmed Talaat, the clever course designer from Egypt. "There were three main lines, including the triple bar going on five long strides to a double of verticals then five short to an oxer. The triple- combination by the end was an oxer-vertical-oxer leading to a tricky distance of either six or seven to the last big narrow oxer standing at 1m50."
"Well we had seven clears, that went to the second round which was a bit bigger, 1m50 all the way. There was a tricky part from fence 3-4 where you had to decide whether to take the turn before the island in the middle to save time or not and also vertical 6 to a very wide oxer with criss-cross rails in the middle which quite a few people had down, the rest was ok though."
When asked about the best rider who rode his track, he said " Definitely Sheikh Ali Al Thani, but I would also add that Maysam & Wona Do were superb".
1. Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT), Cascano 0/46.22
2. Homam El Kholy (SYR), Gemini 0/50.73
3. Maysam Bisharat (JOR), Exit Wona Do 0/51.39
4. Alaa Waziry (EGY) 4/50.53
5. Saleh Fakhoury (JOR) 4/50.58
6. Yahia Ragab (EGY) 8/48.12
7. Sameh El Dahan (EGY) 12/46.40
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