A Deline Hecart arrived for the CSI 4-star Al Shiraa’a Showjumping Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi hoping to leave with nothing but experience. Not in her wildest dreams did she envision herself departing from the UAE capital with the gold medal hanging around her neck. But that is exactly what she did. The Frenchwoman rode her 14yo gelding Pasha du Gue without restraint around the obstacle course in a track record time of 52.60seconds to claim a fine victory, with Saudi Arabia’s Khaled Abdulrahman Al Mobty placing second on board Zypern 4 with a time of 54.31seconds. Bahrain’s Khalid Hilal Al Khatri, who finished third on board Awal BDF, was the only other rider to complete the course without a fault and posted a time of 56.96seconds.
Local hope Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri, riding Sama Dubai FBH, recorded the fastest time of 50.04seconds, but his four faults took him away from what would have been a fantastic success at home. Thrilled at having won, Adeline said: “This is the first time I have come to this part of the world. My father told me a lot about this place so I came here. I wanted to see the place and gain some experience, but to go on and win is a very special feeling.” She added: “The conditions suited us as the course was easy to ride. The second round was difficult as there was so much clearance, but the horse was just too good.
This is clearly my best performance so far as I have never won a 4-star event before.” Her father Michel is famous as a showjumper, having represented France internationally and won bronze at the 2015 Global Champions Tour in Shanghai. And it was a case of daughter stepping into her father’s shoes as Adeline struck gold on the same horse that had won her breeder father bronze at the Shanghai competition. “Victory brought Adeline an automatic berth at the 2018 World Equestrian Games that will be held in Tryon, North Carolina, in the United States. But first she heads to Sharjah to gain more competition experience this week.
Adeline has doubts if she’ll travel to the US for the event in September next year as she knows it will be down to French authorities to pick the team. “I have never participated in the World Equestrian Games. I would like to do it someday but not at the moment. I think it is too early because there are many better riders than me at the moment in France and it will be up to the national team trainers to see who they want,” she added. Emirates’ Al Marri was visibly disappointed at having lost out, but was gracious in defeat and his fourth place finish helped him book his spot in the UAE squad for the WEG in North Carolina. He said: “We missed on an opportunity, but I’m quite satisfied with the result and the performance of my mare. We have a few more big events in Dubai and the President’’s Cup in Al Ain and I am to win some of those prizes.”