EMIRATI RIDER Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi set a new record en route to winning the CSI4*-W class in the Big Tour Final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The event from 12-14 December at Al Duhami Farm was part of the Diriyah Equestrian Festival that is currently ongoing in the UNESCO protected region northwest of the Saudi capital. Riding Cha Cha Cha 7 in the feature event of the Big Tour Final, Al Muhairi completed the course in a record time of 34.67s which was .12s faster than the time set by Saudi rider Ramzy Al Duhami aboard High Quality J only moments earlier when he clocked 34.79s that would only be good enough for second place. In third place, with a time of 36.21s, was another Saudi rider in Abdulrahman Al Rajhi, who rode Hot Stuff.
A total of five Emirati riders participated in the event with Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri the only other UAE national to finish among the prize money spots as he took sixth aboard Sama Dubai. Ali Ahmad Al Kirbi, Mohammed Al Kumeiti and Moufi Owaida Al Karbi finished 13th 15th and 17th respectively. Al Muhairi also placed tenth in the World Cup Two Rounds event that was won by Mike Kawai of Japan aboard Celvin, who were one of the rider horse pairs to emerge without a fault during the two rounds. The pair won with a time of 38.73s, with Saudi Arabian rider Waled Alghamdi taking second aboard Cenieta with a time of 40.03s. In third place was Egypt’s Mohammed Talaat on Casanova Royal in 40.50s. With eight fault points and a time of 68.06s, Al Muhairi was tenth, with two other Emirati riders finishing ahead of him: Al Marri who took seventh and Al Kumeiti, who placed ninth.
With points scored during the competition counting towards qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the event managed to attract some of the top jumpers from around the world. Veteran Saudi rider and bronze medal winner at the 2012 London Olympics, Al Duhamy, who won silver, was also the host of the competition and he said the event would go a long way in promoting the country as a future showjumping destination. “We are hoping to raise awareness about the showjumping circuit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to an international elite standard,” Al Duhami said. “Organising an international World Cup event in Saudi Arabia for future generations is a privilege. Riding on your home ground is an honour. I am looking forward to the future of our sport at this standard.”
It was a landmark making moment in the history of Saudi Arabia with women competing alongside men for the first time in a FEI sanctioned event within the country’s shores. Prince Abdullah bin Fahd bin Abdullah, the president of the Saudi Equestrian Federation, said: “The success is due to God and the support the sport has from the wise leadership of Prince A b d u l Aziz bin Turki Al Faisal, t h e chairman of the General S p o r t s Authority Saudi Arabia.”