Abu Dhabi: After a year-long sabbatical, world No. 8 Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann re-united with his horse Chacanno and that combination reaped rich dividends on Saturday night.
Von Eckermann and Chacanno clinched victory in the CSI4* Grand Prix presented by Longines and Al Shira’aa Stables at the Al Shira’aa International Horse Show held at Al Forsan International Sports Resort.
Von Eckermann pipped some of the best in business after two challenging rounds with the fences set at 1.60m. “I had to live with Chacanno backwards and forwards because I had him for a while and then it got sold,” recalled Von Eckermann, adding: “Then he came back and I had a chance to ride him again for one year now.
“He did good thing when he was with me earlier as well but he had never won a Grand Prix and we achieved that today. We had travelled far to get here so I’m really happy with the way we performed today.”
From the 42 riders listed, only 12 of the best made it to the final round. Among them were German rider Philipp Weishaupt and Che Fantastica, already winners earlier in the week at the Al Shira’aa International Horse Show, six-time Olympic rider and former World and European Champion and team Olympic gold medalist, Jos Lansink representing Belgium and riding Valdelamadre Clooney.
Saudi Arabia’s Olympic bronze medallist and World Equestrian Games silver medallist, Abdullah Sharbatly and Crazy Quick, another partnership that had already won at the show, also made the cut.
Von Eckermann, the European silver medallist, was well clear of all the obstacles in 39.65 seconds, more than a second faster than previous leader, Weishaupt’s round of 40.86 seconds. Italy’s Natale Chiaudani was third on Almero in a time of 46.92 seconds.
“Phillip [Weishaupt] was quick enough and when I saw him I knew I have to go quick. I had a horse that was quick and knew he could do it and we timed it to perfection,” said Von Eckermann, who will now head for the Dubai five-star event before heading home.
“I will do Dubai and then go home to do World Cup qualifier and come back for three weeks for two events in Sharjah and another one here. For the World Cup, I will mix three horses including Chacanno little bit. We will see what the future is for Chacanno. He is a good horse so there is bright future ahead of him,” said Von Eckermann.
The day’s opening class, the Longines Presents International Jumping with Jump Off was won by UAE rider, Mohammad Shafi H Al Rumaithi on the speedy grey mare, Doxanne B.
“It was a hard course and there were a lot of good riders. There were 26 in the jump and I went second because I couldn’t watch the rounds so it put a lot of pressure on me,” said Al Rumaithi.
“But I did the best that I could and she is a very fast mare and she really proved it.”
Irish Team Z7 rider Shane Breen also followed up his three victories earlier in the show with another CSI4* win in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Haza Al Nahyan Presentss International Jumping Competition with Jump Off.