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Abdullah Mohd Al Marri wins the CSI4* Longines & Al Shira'aa Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi

Saturday, 12 January 2019
CSI4* Al Shira'aa International Horse Show 2019

Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping. A happy winner! All photos (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.

The third annual CSI4* Al Shira'aa International Horse Show in Abu Dhabi concluded on Saturday with the 62,000 Euro Longines and Al Shira'aa Grand Prix. The 1.50/1.60m course set by Bernardo Costa Cabral proved tricky enough, and only eight pairs out of the 30 that started cleared their way into the deciding second round.

The crowds that were gathered in the Al Forsan International Sports Resort got to witness some spectacular sport, when the local hero Abdullah Mohd Al Marri (UAE) on the 12-year-old mare Sama Dubai FBH (Stakkato x Landcapitol) left all fences intact – clocking a time of 33.07 seconds and setting the standard for the rest to follow in the second round. Last year's winner Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) gave it his best, but had to settle for the runner-up position this time around. Riding the 9-year-old gelding Peter Pan (Perigueux x Escudo 19), clocks stopped on 33.35 seconds for the Swede – leaving him behind Al Marri.

Al Marri's time proved unbeatable, giving the hosts an incredible end to what has been a great weekend of showjumping at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort. "We had an amazing day. It is my first ever Grand Prix win here in UAE," Al Marri said afterwards. "I have won Grand Prix classes in other countries, but never here at home. This means a lot. I ride for Al Shira'aa and they host this show, so it is really a home for us. Two years ago I had the last fence down in the jump-off, and that has stayed in the back of my head for two years. So I am really happy we pulled it together this time," he continued. "I've had my horse for nine years. She is a really special horse, and she really deserves to win a Grand Prix."

"To beat Henrik," Al Marri laughed when asked what his plan for the jump-off had been. "That was the main thing; I knew he was coming after me and he has an unbelievable record." 

Talking about the course, Al Marri said: "It was not the easiest of courses. I saw the first three riders, they have all done championships and Olympic Games, and they all found the course difficult. When I went in I knew we need to be focused and we need to have a really good performance to jump a clear round. Thankfully, my mare was amazing, she jumped her heart out." 

"I think it is getting better and better," Al Marri said about the event in general. "I think the addition of the derby was a really interesting thing. The level is getting higher every year. For us to get more experience and get challenged like this, is a really good thing. I think the sport in this region has changed a lot in the last five years and Longines has been a big part of it. To actually reach this level, to have such a good show here – it has been a long road, but now we are here." 

Ramzy Al Duhami (KSA) on the 11-year-old gelding Ted (Waranta x Jalisco B) took the third place, while the fourth place went to Ahmad Saber Hamcho (SYR) on the 14-year-old mare Lola V (Locarno 62). Shane Breen (IRL) on the 9-year-old stallion Colmar (Colestus x Quidam's Rubin) took the fifth place, and Evelina Tovek (SWE) on the 10-year-old mare Dalila de la Pomme (Taran dl Pomme x Diamant de Semilly) placed sixth. 

Earlier in the afteroon Paolo Paini (ITA) won the CSI4* 1.45m jump-off class presented by HH Zayes Bin Hazza Al Nahyan. Riding the lovely 9-year-old mare Chaccolie (Chacco Blue x Celestial), Paini clocked the winning time of 33.81 seconds. Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR) on the 10-year-old mare Dominka van de Lucashoeve (Cardento x Chin Chin) took the second place, while Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) on the 11-year-old mare Lorielle (Lordanos) placed third. William Funnell (GBR) on the 16-year-old gelding Billy Angelo (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Kroongraaf) took the fourth place, and the fifth was Kotayba AlDughly (SYR) on the 10-year-old stallion Queensland E (Quickfire De Ferann x Socrate De Chivre). 


Text and photo © World of Showjumping

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