By Duane Fonseca -
Germany’s Nicola Pohl showed nerves of steel during a rather tense finish to the CSI2* Sharjah Grand Prix presented by Longines, the feature event of the 2024 Sharjah Group VII YH Final at Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club. Jumping fences set at a height of 145cm, Pohl and Arlo De Blondel went about their business with absolute efficiency to win with a time of 35.25seconds which was 0.9s quicker than the 36.35s posted by Saudi Arabian rider Khaled Al Mobty aboard Spacecake.
The efficiency of the Germans was further highlighted after Sophie Hinners, a multiple winner on the UAE this season, claimed the final spot on the podium aboard Special Life, the pair clocking the third best time of 36.38s, which was just 0.03s slower than the time recorded by Al Mobty. In what was a very keenly contested competition, Ireland’s Trevor Breen, finished fourth, adrift by a mere 0.15s whilst riding Luidam’s Warrior.
The quartet were among a group of six riderhorse pairs that negotiated the jump-off flawlessly. Humaid Abdullah Al Muhairi, part of the UAE team that won the Nations Cup recently, and his mount Leestone Mylord Trumps (37.05s) and Syria’s Osama Al Zabibi, partnering Bec Hugo (37.06s), finished fifth and sixth respectively. Hinners (Monte Cristo 18) missed out narrowly in the showpiece event, but was part of a fourway split for the prize in the Al Shira’aa 7YO Young Horses Final (135cm) alongside three other UAE riders: Omar Abdul Aziz Al Marzooqi (Remarkable II), Abdallah Hamad Al Kirbi (Dion Z) and Mohammed Ahmed Al Owais (Diamond Blue). Hinners enjoyed a double on the final day when winning the Centro Two Phases Competition (135cm) with Lelielounka STW the pair just too good in the jump-off for the rest of their rivals when winning with a time of 30.09s, which was over two seconds faster than the 32.25s registered by the second placed UAE pair of Ahmed Abdul Rahman Ameen and Gipsie De Coquerie.
Poland’s Amelia Moscicka finished third aboard Corleo with a time of 33.15s. On the final day of competition, there was glory elsewhere for the UAE as Al Muhairi won the Al Shira’aa 6YO Young Horses Final partnering Argentina De Kreisker Z, the pair dominant in the 125cm obstacle event with a far superior time of 42.63s among those that flew without fault over the fences. Al Muhairi’s second placed UAE compatriot Al Marzooqi and Billy Martini were timed at 46.44s, with Ireland’s David Simpson and Z7 Continuum taking third with 48.63s on the clock. Among the young riders, UAE’s Saif Awaida Al Kirbi landed the honours in the Majesticq Royal Care Young Riders Group VII Finals Qualifier (130cm) aboard Dincky Toy Z with a time of 32.63s. He was followed UAE teammate by Abdalla Hamad Al Kirbi, who was just .11s behind with 32.74s aboard Edelweiss De Groom. Syria’s Sham Al Assad took third with Urtimack Des Abbayes (30.29s).
UAE 1-2-3 ON PODIUM
An all-Emirati podium turned out to be the highlight of the second day with Mohammed Al Remeithi and Caramba winning the Sharjah Sports Council One Round Against the Clock (140cm) event with a time of 59.15s. Abdulla Humaid Al Muhairi and his mount Leestone Mylord Trumps were only just behind with a time of 59.34s, while third place was secured by Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi and Coenig with 61.21s on the clock. Running on the second day was the Majesticq Royal Care Accumulator (135cm) which was won by Uzbekistan’s Bekzod Kurbanov and Santos Hippica with a time of 49.89s and a maximum score of 65. David Will of Germany and Hidalgo VH Neerhof Z were second with 53.79s on the clock. Third place was filled by Elizaveta Minina and Onassis V/H Napoleonhof following a time of 54.67s.