UAE Gets Dream Finish With Sheikh Ali Al Qassimi’s Emirates Airline Dubai Grand Prix Win

        Dubai, UAE, January 28, 2017 – The UAE’s Sheikh Ali Abdulla Al Qassimi landed the showpiece Emirates Airline Dubai Grand Prix FEI World Cup Qualifier at Dubai Show Jumping Championship on Saturday afternoon, staving off competition from a field of 32, including 24 international rider-horse combinations from 16 countries. 

The Dubai Grand Prix is competed across two rounds, with the top 25 per cent of riders from the first advancing to the second, for a battle against time and penalties.

Sheikh Ali Al Qassimi clocked a winning 47.68sec aboard Cacharel to take home AED 80,000 and said he was pleased to have given the home country a significant victory especially since he was riding a young mare. 

“It took me a few minutes to realize I had won this,” he said. “It is a big show for me and a world cup qualification with a new mare, and we have just been preparing regularly for a few months, and following our normal routine and I am very thankful for this win.”

Second place went to Anita Sande of Norway who was very close behind Ali Qassimi. She finished the course in 47.70sec with her horse Cash 2. David Frederic of France aboard Equador Van’T Roosakker took third position, and was over three seconds behind the leaders.

The final day of the Dubai Show Jumping Championship opened with the AED 98,0000  Longines Accumulator a class won by local star Abdullah Al Marri of the UAE on board Narcissist Fbh with a maximum score of 65, in a winning time of 53.91. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia secured second through the rider and horse combination of Khaled Abdulaziz Al Eid and Aasthir, in a time of 54.37, while five-time Olympian Ramzy Hamad Al Duhami also of Saudi Arabia came in third aboard his horse Ted.

Speaking later, the winner Al Marri said victory at home made it extra special “We are really happy that it is on home soil, in front of our own fans and we hope we can keep impressing them in years to come. Meydan and the Dubai Equestrian Club have also been amazing supporters of the Dubai Show Jumping team, and it is really great to win at Emirates Equestrian Centre, where we have this fantastic three star show.”

Al Marri who has already qualified for the World Equestrian games 2018 (WEG 2018) is a key hope for the Dubai team, says team coach Alice Debany “We are preparing Abdullah and his horse Sama Dubai for the World Equestrian Games. Our main focus is to make sure Sama Dubai develops properly, and the team ends up peaking at the right time, because the WEG is another vehicle to qualify for the Olympics which is very important to us.”

The Longines Accumulator is a special class, with each of a maximum ten jumps being assigned points. At the end, riders have the opportunity to choose either jump number 10 or the joker. Number ten earning them ten points, while the joker would earn twenty. Another twist in the plot is if any of the fences are knocked down, the rider gets no points for the jump, except the joker, where the rider loses twenty points in the event of a knock down

Rounding off events at the three-day show the Emirates Equestrian Centre’s Manager, Hamad Al Shamsi said: “The biggest highlight at the 2017 renewal of the Dubai Show Jumping Championship has been the newly laid surface in the arena which has had outstanding feedback from the riders. Some have said it is the best in the UAE and better than a number of international surfaces, even those in 5*events. 

“The riders have also asked for addition of classes in future events. We are also happy with the addition of the new six bar class as a test to both horse and rider, and it was good to see the food truck village well received by our visitors. ”


UAE's Sheikh Ali Qassimi wins the Dubai Grand Prix at the Dubai Show Jumping Championship aboard Cacharel (Photo credit: Martin Dokoupil)

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Abdullah Al Marri of UAE crosses over the Joker to win the Longines Accumulator on Narcissist Fbh at the Dubai Show jumping Championship ((Photo credit: Martin Dokoupil)

Please click here for a hi-res image

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