Katharina Offel (UKR) clinched her first Grand Prix victory in Abu Dhabi tonight after an extremely tough competition, which defeated some of the best in the world. Many leading talents had 4 faults or more in the first round including Edwina, Rolf, Denis Lynch, Philipp Weishaupt, Christian Ahlmann, Maikel van der Vleuten and Kevin Staut.
William Funnell, Pius Schwizer, Luciana Diniz and Ludger Beerbaum all jumped clear but followed with four faults in the second round. Harrie Smolders on Exquis Walnut de Muze and Michael Whitaker on Antello Z were both on 1 time penalty in the first round and clear in the second.
Nick Skelton, who has had a strong GCT season, had a dramatic fall at the orange upright when his Olympic gold medal winning champion horse Big Star put in an unusual stop. Double Olympic silver medallist Gerco Schroder on Eurocommerce London was the first double clear and was followed by the last rider in the ring Katharina Offel.
In the jump off Gerco set the pace turning sharp even before London had properly landed after the Al Forsan fence at the start of the course. After a gallop to the finish he looked doubtful that his time of 37.27 was enough to win. The pressure was on Offel and Fidji Island and she delivered by a narrow margin to win in 37.19.
After the prize giving she said: "It is a dream for me to win a GCT Grand Prix. Now we made it at the last minute. It is one of the biggest wins of my career. I really enjoyed it here. It is a beautiful show, a beautiful country.
Source: Press release from Global Champions Tour.
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