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David Will and Babalou HD win CSI4*-W Al Shira'aa Longines FEI World Cup Grand Prix

Sunday, 30 January 2022
CSI4*-W Al Shira'aa International Horse Show 2022

Photo © Helen Cruden/Al Shira'aa Horse Show David Will and Babalou HD won the CSI4*-W Al Shira'aa Longines FEI World Cup Grand Prix. Photo © Helen Cruden/Al Shira'aa Horse Show.

David Will (GER) and the 10-year-old gelding Babalou HD (Balou’s Bellini x Newcastle) won Sunday's CSI4*-W 1.50-1.60m Al Shira'aa Longines FEI World Cup Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. 

Ten of the 38 horse-and-rider combinations in the class moved on to the second round of the competition, six of them on a clean sheet. Only two managed to deliver a double clear result though, the fastest being Will and Babalou HD with a time of 39.86 seconds. Constant Van Paesschen (BEL) was the only other rider to produce a double clear round, riding the 14-year-old Isidoor van de Helle (Canturo x Qredo de Paulstra) to a time of 41.77 seconds, which was good enough for the runner-up position. With one time fault from the first round, and a clear in round two, third place went to David Simpson (IRL) on Foudre F (Namelus R x San Patrignano Mister), a pair that were a part of the winning Irish Nations Cup team in Abu Dhabi one week ago. 

Ali Hamad Al Kirbi (UAE) and Dalida van de Zuuthoeve (Thunder vd Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui) also continued their success from last weekend, this time finishing fourth with three time faults picked up in the first round. As usual, Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) was lightning fast against the clock with Glamour Girl (VDL Zirocco Blue x Caletto I), stopping the clock on 38.61 seconds, but with four faults from round one the Swedish rider had to settle for the fifth place this time around.

“I am of course very, very happy,” Will commented to World of Showjumping after the win. “We have had Babalou since the end of his 6th year, and I always really believed in him. Our focus has always been on producing him, and now last week he jumped double clear in his first five-star Nations Cup, then this week he has been amazing too – I jumped him in the qualifier for the Grand Prix where he finished 6th and today he won. Things are definitely coming together for him, and I really think he has a great future ahead of him."

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