(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
By Global Champions Tour
As the heat of the day faded and the the sun set on the stunning Al Shaqab stadium, a member of the renowned Qatar Foundation, tonight’s €151,000 CSI5* 1.55m class was won by a thrilled Daniel Deusser (GER) and Pironella, who galloped to an elegant victory ahead of Ireland’s Denis Lynch in 2nd with his bouncy All Star 5 and Germany’s Marco Kutscher with the consistent Liberty Son.
The first round course set by Italy’s Uliano Vezzani made use of the uniquely generous proportions of the spectacular main arena, with it’s sweeping lines and flowing distances. The final half of the course, however, contained some awkward turns and distances, particularly the final, short treble combination which caught out many big names.
Defending Longines GCT Champion Scott Brash (GBR) was the first rider to jump clear in the first round though many experienced combinations collected four faults, including USA No1 Kent Farrington (USA) and Uceko, 2014 World Championship Team Silver medallist Simon Delestre (FRA) and Ryan des Hayettes.
Between the first and second round, there was a display of some of the finest Arab horse bloodlines in the world bred here at Al Shaqab, which stands as an enduring tribute to the Arabian horse and the tradition of equestrian excellence that has co-evolved with this breed in Qatar. Al Shaqab promotes the cultural legacy and appreciation of the Arabian breed in the next generation, and this evening local children enjoyed the world-class sport which took place.
Of the 40 starters, 16 went through to the final jump-off. The World No1 once again set the standard as first to go in the jump-off, producing a very classy round with Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s exciting up-and-coming mare Hello M’Lady in a time of 38.73s to eventually take 4th. Brash has been widely tipped by fellow riders to retain his Championship title tomorrow if he can put in a top five finish in the dramatic final Grand Prix of the season.
Drawn late, Marco Kutscher and Denis Lynch did what was needed to each grab the lead for a time, clocking in at 38.43s and 37.97s, respectively. Second last to go, Daniel Deusser knew exactly what was required, taking the tightest lines and sharpest turns with his fleet-footed mount to stop the clock at 37.24s.
With their star Grand Prix horses resting this evening, Championship leader Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and his closest rival Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) did not compete today. Tension is mounting as the last test of the season fast approaches and all eyes will be on the top three, Beerbaum, Brash and Bengtsson, to see who will be named 2014 Champion tomorrow evening.
The Longines Global Champions Tour of Doha Grand Prix highlights will be broadcast on Eurosport on Saturday 15th November, with live coverage shown from Saturday 3.15pm CET on beIN Sports, Al Kass, Horse&Country TV, GCT TV, Equidia Life and ClassHorseTV.