Local hero Abdullah Al Marri had won the Longines Al Shira’aa Grand Prix last year. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Abu Dhabi: The concluding weekend of the three-week Al Shira’aa International Series showjumping gets under way on Wednesday with a four-star event comprising a host of acclaimed showjumpers at the Al Forsan International Equestrian Centre in the capital. The four-day event concludes on Saturday (January 25).

Adding to the starpower will be a number of top riders including German world No. 10 Christian Ahlmann, Ireland’s multiple Olympian Shane Breen of Dubai’s Team Z7, Britain’s highly decorated Olympian Michael Whitaker alongside young Irish rider, Mikey Pender, the winner of the 2019 Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby.

A thrilling fare is on offer including the second running of the Al Shira’aa Abu Dhabi Derby class featuring its first winner and runner-up, Hamad Al Kirbi and William Funnell, respectively, as well as the current Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby winner, Mikey Pender. The show then closes with the much-anticipated Longines Al Shira’aa Grand Prix, which was won last year by local hero Abdulla Al Marri.

Patrick Aoun, Longines’ Regional Brand Manager, said: “As sponsor of the Longines Arab League and title sponsor of the Longines Al Shira’aa Grand Prix, we are pleased to play a part in the continued development of the sport in this region.”

The last couple of weeks have seen the Al Shira’aa Series, part of the Longines Arab Jumping League, staging numerous classes for all levels of showjumpers. Every type of class ranging from Junior and Young Riders, to Young Horses, the newly launched Al Shira’aa Amateur Tour, all the way up to international 4* level, including qualifiers for FEI World Cup, European Championships and the Tokyo Olympics, showcased their skills in the Al Forsan International Equestrian Centre arena.

Major General Dr Ahmad Raisi, President of the UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation, said: “The Al Shira’aa Series is a great addition to the broad schedule of events that we have on the UAE Winter Tour and the extended three weeks of Al Shira’aa Series hugely contributes to the aim of developing the UAE into a highly respected showjumping destination on a global level.”