Nineteen-year-old Syrian rider Ahmad Saber Hamcho kicked of GCT Chantilly with his first win in the world’s most prestigious show jumping series. The young rider looked determined from the start as he entered the huge grass arena on his 14-year-old mare Columbia. He took a very tight turn, tighter than all the other riders, to the replica Chateau fence, and after clearing the tricky double towards the end, Hamcho really accelerated over the last two fences to a winning time of 32.99.
Italian Luca Moneta and American rider McLain Ward were second and third respectively with only a fraction of a second between them on 35.87 and 35.92. The Prix ESN class was in two phases with rides who go clear in the first phase, racing against the clock in the second.
After his lap of honour in the first competition of the weekend in Chantilly, the proud young Syrian Hamcho said: “Columbia is 14 years old and I have had her for three years now. I like the two phase class, as I can gallop as there are not a lot of turns. It is my first win in the GCT but the second time I have been placed in GCT.”Asked about the result at a time when his country is going through turmoil, he said: “It is something to make people feel positive.” Hamcho, based in Brussels, has recently changed trainers and is on his way to the Olympic Games in London. He said: “It is my first Olympics and I just hope to be in the Final.”
The course designed by Uliano Vezzani included some troublesome fences with light rails that fell at the slightest touch. Many of the top ranked riders took sweeping turns on the vast showground and paid the price with time penalties. The bogey fence ended up being the horseshoe double combination. It followed the replica chateau obstacle and the downward slope to the double left riders like Christian Ahlmann, Ben Maher and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on 4 faults.
Source: Press release from GCT.
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