FORTUNE FAVOURS the brave and Henrik von Eckermann put maxim into action as he bid to land the CSI 4* Grand Prix at the Al Shira’aa International Horse Show with Chacanno. It paid off with the pair winning the top prize at the four day event presented by Longines and Al Shira’aa Stables at Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi last week. Sweden’s world No 8, Von Eckermann and his talented bay stallion Chacanno, who drew the curtains down on the competition, were matchless in their event which consisted of two challenging rounds with the fences set at 1.60m. A total of 42 riders started the event, with just 12 making it past the first round course, designed by Portugal’s renowned course builder, Bernardo Costa Cabral.
Among them were German rider, Philipp Weishaupt and Che Fantastica; six time Olympic rider and former World and European Champion and team Olympic gold medalist, Jos Lansink representing Belgium and riding Valdelamadre Clooney. Also in the group continuing in the competition were Saudi Arabia’s Olympic bronze medalist and World Equestrian Games silver medalist, Abdullah Sharbatly and Crazy Quick, who had won the CSI 4* ranking class earlier. Third to go, Von Eckermann seemingly flew through the jump off course without touching a pole in 39.65 sec, more than a second faster than previous leader, Weishaupt’s 40.86 sec round. Italy’s Natale Chiaudani was third on Almero in a time of 46.92 sec.
Having watched Weishaupt’s round closely, European silver medalist Von Eckermann knew he had to take his chances if he wanted to win. “I had Philipp Weishaupt in front of me and he was already quick so that put a bit of pressure on my shoulders,” he said. “I knew I had to risk a little bit and go a little bit. Philipp started off with five strides and I wanted to do that but then I realised that was too long, so I did six. Then I knew I had to get going so I got going. The horse is amazing. He is very, very careful and then when it comes to the jump off he’s a very quick horse. So I knew I could win it I just had to do the right thing.” The day’s opening class, the Longines Presents International Jumping with Jump Off was won by UAE rider, Mohammed Shafi H Al Remeithi on the speedy grey mare, Doxanne B.
The second to go out of a huge jump off field of 26, Al Remeithi was forced to sit through the torture of watching 24 other riders attempt to better his time. Jordan’s Ahmed Mansour and Estoril de Vardag were second while Denmark’s multiple champion, Tina Lund and Payse Heutiere were third. Al Remeithi said: “It was a hard course and there were a lot of good riders. There were 26 in the jump and I went second because I couldn’t watch the rounds so it put a lot of pressure on me. But I did the best that I could and she is a very fast mare and she really proved it.” Irish Team Z7 rider, Shane Breen was not to be stopped this weekend, following up his three victories earlier in the show with another CSI4* win in the Sheikh Zayed bin Hazza Al Nahyan Presents International Jumping Competition with Jump Off. Mounted on Laith, he was clear in a time of 33.63 sec, a convincing margin ahead of the 35.15 sec time of the second placed Artiste de l’Abbaye d’Aulne and Von Eckermann from Sweden.
Portugal’s Luis Sabino Goncalves and Teck de Riverland were third in a time of 35.19 sec. Emirati riders tasted success on the third day with young Al Shira’aa Stables rider Humaid Abdulla Khalifa Al Muhairi heading an all UAE podium in the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Academy Presents Young Riders Class. Al Muhairi won with 11yo bay stallion Hattrick van de Noordheuvel with a time of 39.08sec, with Moufi Owaidi Al Karbi settling for second with 40.24sec. In third place was Saeed Mohammed Al Maazmi, who stopped the clock at 43.63sec. “I studied the course and looked at places where I could save some time and cut some corners,” said Al Muhairi. “I’m very happy to win in our home show for the Al Shira’aa team.
It’s an amazing event. It’s not always easy because I can’t train too much, but I’m very happy with this result.” Another UAE youngster, Sultan Majed Al Awani of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club was also in the money when he claimed victory on Cassiana in the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Academy Presents International Jumping with Jump Off. The pair finished the jump off with a clear round in a time of 39.74sec. Poland’s Amelia Moscicka and Cinnamon were second in a time of 43.36sec, with Osama Al Zabibi and Paprica third after a 36.54sec four fault round. Local rider Eisa Omran Al Owais was successful in the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sport Academy Presents International Jumping with Jump Off on the grey gelding Avelon with a clear against the clock in 40.33sec. Omar Ayman from Palestine was second on Stella in 42.85sec while Haya Ali Saeed Al Shamsi was third on Carla in a time of 63.93sec.
International rider, Breen’s third success in the show came aboard Z Seven Canya Dance when the pair landed the Cavalor Presents International Jumping with Jump Off. Their jump off time of 30.19sec could not be beaten by fellow Irishman, David Simpson on Z Seven Diamond who was second with a time of 32.33sec. The UAE’s Salim Ahmed Al Suwaidi and Diamond Way were third in a time of 33.05sec.