Gerco Schröder and London showed an amazing form and won the 1.60 m Grand Prix at Al Shaqab, Doha in front of a very enthusiastic audience. The class consisted of two rounds and a jump-off, and only two riders were able to produce three clear rounds. The first round consisted of thirteen fences and sixteen jumps. The course included an open water as fence four and a triple combination with a triple bar, two strides down to an oxer and one stride to fence c - a vertical.
Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof's Tamino (Numero Uno x Farmer) was the first of 18 combinations to clear the first round. All the clears went on to the second round were they started in reverse order depending on their time from the first round. The second round was shortened and consisted of ten fences and thirteen jumps. It turned out to be a very dramatic round with unexpected happenings.
Kamal Abdullah Bahamdan with Delphi (Leo Caylon x Brilliant Invader) was first to go in the second round, but they only got to fence four, a red and white striped very airy jump. Delphi was not the only horse who didn't like this fence - Luciana Diniz and Lennox (Lifestyle x Grammus) went different ways in front of the fence and Luciana had to leave the course by foot.
Laura Renwick with Oz de Breve (Dollar du Murier x Grand Veneur) also had to walk out after having problem in the second combination, while the first combination stopped Patrice Delaveau - Carinjo HDC (Cascavelle x Landgraf) from finishing the course. Only six riders cleared the course and qualified for the jump-off. Steve Guerdat and Nasa (Cumano x Prince d'Elle) cleared the fences but got a time fault which stopped them from the third round.
The jump-off went over eight jumps and among them a combination - vertical - oxer - as number three. This fence stood on a difficult line after the second fence and caused problems for several riders. Robert Smith with Voila (Calvados x Concorde) was first to go and got in trouble at 3a. Next out was Denis Lynch with the well jumping All Star 5 (Argentinus x Alme). They cleared their third round of the evening, but they were not able to hang on to the lead for long as Gerco Schröder and London were next to go. By shaving off almost three seconds of Denis' time - Gerco and London went up in the lead.
Ludger Beerbaum and Chiara (Contender x Coronado) did a very short turn to the second fence and was faster than Gerco, but the first element of the combination fell. Sheik Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani with Cantaro (Corrado I x Libero) cleared the combination but got a fault on the next fence - a wall.
Clarissa Crotta and West Side v. Merputhoeve (Baloubet du Rouet x Apolloni) were last go, but once again 3a got in the way of a clear round. As Clarissa crossed the finishline securing third place in the prestigious Grand Prix, she immediately jumped off Westi and the horse was obviously lame leaving the arena. Hopefully we will see Clarissa and Westi showing again soon.
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