Irish riders collected two third places on the first day of the Longines Global Champions Tour (GCT) Final show in Doha today (12 November). But the four British riders in the CSI5* finished out of the money in both classes.
Eighteen went clear in this evening’s jump-off class, but the third to go in the jump-off, Moroccan rider Abdelkebir Ouaddar, set a blistering pace for a time of 37.97sec. He and the 11-year-old Diamant De Semilly son Quickly De Kreisker could not be caught and claimed the €30,195 first prize.
“I’m very happy with my horse, he’s a fast horse and he jumped superbly,” he said.
Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Molly Malone V (pictured top) are speed specialists and their 39.14sec netted them third, behind Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher (Cool And Easy), who stopped the clock in 38.72sec.
“I knew I was quite fast, but I knew there was no chance of catching Abdelkebir — that was an unbelievable round,” said Bertram. “But I’m happy with third, she jumped very good.”
The first CSI5* class today was a two-phase, where riders who went clear immediately progressed to the second section against the clock.
Top honours went to Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano on the nine-year-old mare Guess, who recorded a time of 26.83sec.
“She has a huge canter and that’s why she won — the arena suited her,” said Emanuele. “I watched Bertram [who finished fourth on Quiet Easy] and took one less stride to the combination than him.”
Young Egyptian rider Abdel Said claimed second place with Luron SZ, while Cian O’Connor took third for the Emerald Isle. His ride was the nine-year-old Super Sox.
“I didn’t go mad with him — I wanted to get him in a rhythm as I’m jumping him in the big class tomorrow,” said Cian. “I kept it smooth and did a tight turn to the first and the second to last, which made up a bit of time without blowing him.”
Tomorrow riders will compete in another jump-off class, but the main focus of the week is Saturday’s grand prix, which carries big prize-money in its own right, but will also determine the winner of the 2015 GCT series. Britain’s Scott Brash currently leads the rankings and is one of three riders who could take the overall title.
But the Brits were out of luck today. Scott jumped his top horse Hello Sanctos in the jump-off class, but in the first round he hit the black upright at fence six and the back bar of the double at eight, plus he had two time-faults. And Hello Forever played up in the earlier competition, refusing fence five. Scott returned to that corner of the arena after finishing his round, but the horse was still behaving somewhat erratically.
Ben Maher and John Whitaker also had faults in both classes, but Michael Whitaker put in a steady double clear with Viking in the two-phase.
More updates from Doha online over the next two days. Full report in Horse & Hound magazine next Thursday (19 November).