GREAT BRITAIN jumping veteran Michael Whitaker rolled back the years to win the CSI 3* Sharjah Grand Prix presented by Longines at the recently concluded Sharjah International Show Jumping Championships. The event, which attracted more than 200 riders from 40 countries, was held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and in collaboration with the UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation (UAEERF). The competition was attended by Sheikh Abdullah bin Majid Al Qassimi, the chairman of Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club.
Whitaker, who can count a Team Silver at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and a Team Gold at the 1985 European Championships among his more prominent achievements, partnered Flinstering in the feature event at Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club, the pair running through the course flawlessly and delivering comfortably over the two rounds. Whitaker and Flinstering leapt through the circuit where the obstacles carried a height of 150cm in a time of 38.52 seconds to win Round 2 and thereby the feature event which carried a prize purse of €51,100 (Dh208,204). Whitaker took home a cheque for €12,775 (Dh52,050), while second placed German rider Holger Wulschner, who clocked 40.17s on Casirus, took home €10,220 (Dh41,640).
In third place with a time of 42.28s was Egypt’s Mohammed Osama El Borai on Quntero, the rider taking home €7,665 (Dh31,230). Whitaker, who finished runner up in the 2005 World Cup Final in Las Vegas, posted the third best time in Round 1 behind topper David Will of Germany riding Darius De Kezeg Z, with Mohammed Ashraf Abdallah of Egypt on Hour with the next best time.
Ireland’s Jack Ryan won the CSI 3* Sharjah Tourism One Round and Jump Off event (height 145cm) with Diesel, the pair clocking the fastest time of 38.56s in the jump off to win comfortably from second placed Will, who rode Caramba 92 over the course in a time of 40.19s. In third place with a time of 40.44s was Egyptian rider Mouda Zeyada on Morocco. Emirati rider Mohammed Ghanem Al Hajri won the CSI3* Longines Grand Prix qualifier (Special Two Phases) event aboard Doklahoma VDL after clocking 34.39s. Will was a very close second on Darius De Kezeg Z in 34.52s, with Denmark’s lady rider Tina Lund taking third in 34.57s on Cloi. Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al Sharbatly won the CSI2* Cavalor Challenge One Round Against the Clock on Artuur JH Z with a time of 59.79s, with compatriot Waled Al Ghamdi following him on to the podium next after clocking 62.94s on Cenieta.
In third place with a time of 64.48s was Germany’s Jorg Naeve on HH Fleur. Al Sharbatly enjoyed a second success at the event when winning the CSI 3* Sharjah Islamic Bank Cup with Beau Limit. Taking second and third on the podium respectively were UAE’s Khalid Ali Al Junaibi on Ravage De Mars and Germany’s Wulschner on Diamant De Plaisir. The CSI 3* Sharjah Chamber of Commerce One Round Against the Clock event was won by the UAE’s Salim Ahmed Al Suwaidi on Diamond Way, the pair stopping the clock at 63.74s. Placing second was another Emirati rider, Mohammed Ahmed Al Owais, who rode Tsunami De Hus in 64.54s, while finishing third in 64.84s was Syria’s Yasser Al Sharif on Easy. Emirati riders were successful in the CSI 3* Sharjah Equine Hospital Accumulator with Joker class and the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce Two Phases event as well with Eisa Omran Al Owais on Avelon and Abdulla Ahmed Al Shurafa on Electron winning the respective events. The Al Shiraa’a Young Riders Nations Cup was won by the UAE team comprising Saeed Mohammed Al Maazmi, Moufi Owaida Al Karbi, Ali Hamad Al Kirbi and Humaid Abdullah Al Muhairi. The UAE outscored the rest of its opponents winning 1,950 points, with second placed Jordan a distant second with 700 and Saudi Arabia taking third with 225.