A jubilant Bassem Hassan Mohammed won the first major class of his young career this evening in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco Grand Prix before packed house and a very appreciative Royal box. Second went to the ever-consistent Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask, and third to Cameron Hanley and his very aptly named young superstar-in-the-making, Living the Dream. The result left Championship leader Edwina Tops-Alexander, who lowered a rail in the first round with Old Chap Tame, just 20 points ahead of Rolf-Göran Bengtsson in second, while the Qatari rider moves up to third just one point behind.
Bassem Hassan Mohammed dropped his reins and raised his arms in the air in triumph upon finishing his daring round in what has become his signature celebration since he launched into this season with a fourth place in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Antwerp Grand Prix in April. His fellow teammates hugged and congratulated Bassem as he left the arena with tears in his eyes following his winning round where this young rider bettered the world's best. The Qataris are hitting top form and Bassem has become a rising star of the show jumping world.
Course designer Luc Musette's first test was tough, big and technical, and with the excited crowds pressed right up against the edges of the smallest arena on the Tour, the atmosphere was electric ahead of the first horse and rider combination entering the arena. The tricky fences proved to be the wide oxers and tall uprights coupled with short distances which made up the combination lines, with more than one big name catching the back rail of a giant oxer for four faults. Just ten clears went through to the second round along with the eight fastest four faulters.
The second round was a heart-stopping affair with the last upright falling more than once in otherwise clean rounds. The time allowed was tight and it was an excruciating single time fault that kept Cameron Hanley out of the jump-off with his exceptionally talented young horse. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson was the first rider to jump a double clear with his experienced stallion Casall Ask. The former European Champion and Olympic medallist looked sure to win when the final jump-off came down to himself and the newcomer Bassem Hassan Mohammed. But unintimidated, Bassem rode the round of his life to clinch this historic victory to become the very first Qatari to win an LGCT Grand Prix.
As the Tour heads to Paris, the halfway point of the Championship race, the top of the leaderboard has become a nail-biting battle for supremacy.
Source: Press release from Longines Global Champions Tour.
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