The Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club (SERC) and the Emirates Equestrian Federation have joined forces to organise the 2019 Sharjah Ruler Cup International Show Jumping Championship at the prestigious SERC. The event is being held under the directives of HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, member of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Ruler of Sharjah, and enjoys the patronage of HH Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qassimi, the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah. More than 160 riders from 42 countries, including some of the top jumpers from the UAE, are expected to participate in the event being held under the supervision of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and enjoys a title sponsor in leading luxury watch manufacturer Longines.
Local riders will be joined by contingents arriving from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Canada, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Iran, Lebanon, Portugal, Romania, Tunisia, United States, Czech Republic, Bolivia, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, Libya, Morocco and Norway. Like in previous years, the 2019 Sharjah Ruler Cup International Show Jumping Championship will be held in two parts with the CSI 3* event from 24 to 26 January serving as a prelude to the spectacular CSI 5* event that runs from 29 January to 1 February.
A total of Dh750,000 (€174,000) in prize money is up for grabs during the first week of the event and will be spread out over 20 competitions in the various classes, ie CSI 3*, CSIYH 1*, CSIOY, CSIOJ and CSIOCh. Both the indoor and outdoor arenas will be used to host the competitions with 11 categories slated for the outdoors and nine to be held within the indoor premises. The feature among the first weekend of action is the CSI 3* Sharjah Grand Prix presented by Longines, which will be held at the outdoor arena and carries a prize purse of a massive €50,200. The Sharjah Grand Prix will see riders and horses compete over two timed rounds.
Sharjah will also host the first of three annual FEI Group VII Series finals starting this year, with action to be seen in the Children, Juniors and Young Riders categories. Subsequent finals will be held in 2020 and 2021. Mr Sultan Khalifa Al Yahya’ie, the director general of SERC, is expecting another spectacular event. “It will be different this year and much stronger than last year. This event is the biggest of its kind in the region and it is both indoor and outdoor with some of the best riders from the region and overseas arriving to compete,” Al Yahya’ie said. “This year we are also hosting the Group VII Series finals here and that should be an exciting series of competitions as well.
Additionally there will be a meeting for the Group VII nations of the FEI that will run on the sidelines of the event. So we have a good schedule of events lined up.” Dr Ghanem Mohammed Al Hajri, the secretary general of the Emirates Equestrian Federation, added: “We are very pleased to be here and represent the EEF, which is responsible for overseeing equestrian events taking place across the UAE and this is part of a long schedule of show jumping events in the country. “The infrastructure and facilities here are second to none and that’s why we attract many top riders from around the world. The fact that we will have 42 different nationalities represented here says a lot about the competition.”
Joining the roster of sponsors along with Longines are Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority, Al Shira’aa, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sharjah Sports, Sharjah Equine Hospital, Cavalor and Al Sakb Equestrian. Speaking on behalf of title sponsor Longines, regional brand manager Mr Patrick Aoun said: “Longines’ support for SERC is not new. “We’ve been in partnership for at least 15 years and one of the reasons for that is the club management always delivers. This is indeed an international event because there are more than 40 countries participating and that is a really large number. “Sharjah are well equipped to host an event of this scale because they have an indoor and outdoor facility that is top class.
When it comes to the elements needed to succeed, everything is in place. “It gives us the chance to maximise our reach in terms of visibility and the message we want to convey which is we are there for the sport.” A large number of spectators are expected to visit SERC during the course of the competition and Al Yahya’ie believes the entire family will be entertained. “We want to invite all families and equine lovers to come and enjoy the great atmosphere during the days of the competition because it is bound to have something for everybody. The best riders will be on show and we must arrive in numbers to support our UAE teams,” Al Yahya’ie said.