Abu Dhabi: Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt and Belo Horizonte landed the 93,000 euro five-star Longines Grand Prix qualifier on the first day of the President of the UAE Showjumping Cup presented by Longines at Al Forsan International Sports Resort.
Weishaupt was more than a second faster than his nearest rival, Shane Breen on Ipswich van de Wolksakker, yet still believed he could have gone faster.
Fourth to go in the jump off, Weishaupt stormed into the lead in 40.92s. But the German rider knew that last-to-go Breen, rider for Dubai-based Team Z7, would be hot on his heels.
“On the approach to the final fence we just drifted a bit in the wrong direction and I thought that Shane could be dangerous there,” he said. “But Shane’s horse stumbled a little on the last turn which was good for me.”
Weishaupt will now rest Belo Horizonte for until the 150cm Al Shira’aa Challenge on Saturday.
“He is such an exciting horse to ride,” said Weishaupt. “He is fast and so careful that it’s so much fun to put him at the fences and know that he knows exactly where the poles are.”
Weishaupt will also be in action with the German team in the 200,000 euro Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup on Saturday.
“I think we have a good chance,” he said. “I will rider a younger, less-experienced horse so it will be very interesting.”
Held under the supervision of the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation (UAEERF), the first day of the event featured four classes and proved a happy hunting ground for Saudi Arabia. Olympic medallist, Abdullah Sharbatly rode to victory the UAE Equestrian Federation Speed Stakes on Artuur JH Z in a time of 81.96s. In the process he beat Syria’s Ahmad Saber Hamcho on Quintus and Team UAE Nation’s Cup rider, Nadia Taryam on Askaria.
The second class of the day, the Abu Dhabi Classic Qualifier saw 22 horse and rider combinations go into the jump off but it was another young Saudi, Khalid Almobty who proved too fast for the rest on his new mare, Garizona, completing the jump off course in 38.20s.