She could hardly believe what she had just achieved, but Miriam Schneider left the Emirates Equestrian Centre last Saturday with the top prize of the Dubai Show Jumping Championship firmly lodged in her arms. Riding Cartagena 17, Germany’s lady rider Schneider turned in a career best performance to win the feature event of the three day competition, the CSI 5*-W Emirates Airline Dubai Grand Prix. The Dubai Grand Prix is contested over two rounds, with only the top 25% scoring riders making the cut for the final round where they face a battle against the clock and penalties.
Schneider was one of only 11 riders from a field of 42, which included 34 international rider and horse combinations from 21 countries, to advance to the second round. And she was absolutely spellbound by her own achievement which saw her win Dh213,002 of the total prize purse of Dh645,454, with a time of 46.10s. Schneider said: “This is my biggest victory. I have never won a five star, four star or three star Grand Prix before, so I am a bit surprised but also very happy. “I am not a very professional jump-off rider. Most of the time I am slow or something goes wrong, so going into this jump-off I knew I had to be clear and fast.”
Schneider’s German compatriot, Jorge Naeve aboard Be Aperle Va, finished second as he stopped the clock at 48.27s, while Frenchman Frederic David placed third aboard Equador Van’t Roosakker with a time of 48.69s. There was joy for the local contingent too on the final day after Khalid Ali Junaibi won the newly added Dh134,654 CSI 2* Dubai Equestrian Club Grand Prix. Riding Energy Al Bariya, he won the class through a jump-off, which he and his horse completed in 40.35s. Georgia Tame of Great Britain placed second aboard Z7 Cordanos V, while Lebanese rider Naji Rachid was third on Endvot. Junaibi said: “It is amazing to win this 2* Grand Prix in Dubai. It was a fast class and a tough one.
The first round was hard and to finish with five riders in the jumpoff made it more exciting as well. I am very pleased with my horse and my win. “The five star event means there are some internationally ranked players coming to our shows and our league, taking the standard of competition much higher and making it more exciting. “Meydan has done a great job with bringing this event here and the surface here is top class. The advantage of the five star event is that it encourages young budding riders but also helps our UAE team, who need to be challenged constantly, especially after their win in the Nations Cup in Barcelona. Holding four star and five star events here really improves our riders and helps them to improve their level and match riders from Europe.”
Ireland’s Shane Breen won the Dh128,821 Longines Accumulator Class, with fellow Irishman David Simpson finding himself second and Saudi Arabia’s four time Olympian Ramzy Al Duhaimi filling the final spot. Breen said: “I am very proud to win for Team Z7 and for all the team it is a great achievement. This is a five star event, and well worth that status; the footing, the facilities for both the riders and the horses are excellent. My plan was to complete the first few jumps in quick time and then be a little more careful for the ones after because the fences get higher and higher in the accumulator.” On day two, Friday, Olympic bronze medallist Abdullah Alsharbatly of Saudi Arabia won the CSI 5*-W Azizi Golden Cup aboard Crazy Quick, with second and third place going to compatriot Al Duhaimi, who won with High Quality J and Ted respectively.
Alsharbatly said: “You needed a lot of power, you needed to ride perfect, you needed to be a top rider and you needed a tough horse, otherwise you would have no chance.” Emirates’ Abdul Rahman Ahmed Ameen won two classes: the CSI 2* Emirates Equestrian Centre Speed Stakes on Friday, which followed up on his success in the CSI 2* Emirates Equestrian Centre Two Phase Class a day earlier. Speaking after claiming the Speed Stakes, Ameen said: “For a second day in a row I have won and I am really happy about this. I tried my best and at the end of the day I could achieve this.”