Abu Dhabi: Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt added the 165,000-euro five-star President of the UAE Cup presented by Longines to his UAE riches, sealing victory with a cool-headed second round at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort.
Weishaupt, who also won the qualifying class, was last to go in the 10-rider second round on Catokia, and the pair were one of only seven clears carried over from the first round.
Denmark’s Tina Lund, fourth to go, was sitting in top spot with one-time penalty after stopping the clock at 61.52s, just outside the 60 seconds allowed. The remaining riders, including eventual third, Abdullah Al Marri from the UAE, either could not go under the time allowed or incurred faults. Weishaupt came into the arena knowing that he had to go clear inside 60 seconds to seal the winner’s purse of 41,250 euros (Dh171,791), the UAE President’s Cup and a Longines timepiece.
“It sounds simple enough, I just had to go clear to win but it seems like whenever I am in these situations, I manage to mess it up,” he joked. “This time I was very happy that I didn’t. To win a five-star Grand Prix is always something very special.”
Weishaupt, a regular on the UAE winter circuit, who first made the trip eight years ago, believes that it is the perfect place to bring on jumping horses.
“The facilities and the shows are amazing and the weather is fantastic,” he said. “I came out here with six horses this time and I feel that they have made a big step forward and are ready for the next stage. I have also seen the local riders really develop. They are very professional and they really care about horses and this season we have seen local riders win four and five star Grand Prix.”
Third-place rider Al Marri, who has only been riding his horse James VD Oude Heihoef for three months, congratulated Weishaupt and Lund.
“I am very proud to share the podium with these two amazing riders,” he said. “My horse is very special and I am very happy to ride him and hopefully he has a lot of potential,” he said.
Weishaupt and Al Marri will both be in action in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup on Saturday as part of the German and UAE teams respectively.
The preceding class on Thursday, the 25,000 euro Abu Dhabi Sports Council Cup went the way of Syrian rider, Ahmad Saber Hamcho and his 16-year-old gelding, Quintus.
Hamcho and Quintus, who have been placed at every show they entered this season other than the Dubai Showjumping Championship, put together a 66.02s clear round and beat Jordan’s Ebrahim Hani Bisharat and Etos HBC into second by 55 hundredths of a second. Shady Ghareb and Taiwan du Landey were third in a time of 66.78s.
Hamcho, who has ridden Quintus since he was a six-year-old, revealed that he was likely to retire the horse after Saturday’s 150cm Al Shira’aa Challenge.
The UAE’s Salim Khamis Al Suwaidi was in the money in the Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Qualifier, winning on Espresso in 73.33s with Syria’s Yasser Al Sharif on Easy coming second in 74.20s and Kotayba Al Dughly on Queensland E finishing third in 74.65s.
There was an Emirati 1-2-3 in the opening class of the day, the Fatima Bint Mubarak Two Phase Trophy, with young rider Sultan Majed Al Awani powering to a clear victory aboard the fleet-footed Carodas Z. The pair went clear during the first eight jumps, which earned them the right to tackle the second, timed phase of the course and their 29.88s was more than two seconds faster than the runner up, Salim Al Suwaidi on Diamond Way. Third place went to Abdul Rahman Ahmad Ameen and Carolien D in 33.95s.