(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
By Global Champions Tour
This evening’s €90,500 CSI5* class was won by Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet and Conrad de Hus, who put in a deceptively quick round to leave a large and competitive field in their dust. Second place went to Daniel Deusser (GER) and Cornet D’Amour who had looked unbeatable, and 3rd to an ever-smiling Luciana Diniz (POR) and Fit For Fun.
The first round, built by Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, was a sweeping, attacking course that took advantage of Al Shaqab’s massive arena. Many of the star riders had their Grand Prix horses in the competition which served as a generous introduction to Saturday’s battleground. Of the 40 starters, an incredible 20 went through to the jump-off which shows the world-class calibre of the riders present at this, the final event of the season.
Championship leader Ludger Beerbaum (GER), who announced earlier today that he would not compete Chiara as expected in the Grand Prix but instead Zinedine, rode a careful round with his young stallion to collect one time fault. His rivals for the title, Scott Brash (GBR) with Hello Sanctos and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) with Casall ASK, both jumped clear though they elected not to jump-off to save their horses for the Grand Prix on Saturday.
First to go, Denis Lynch (IRE) set the pace in the jump-off with All Star 5 in a time of 41.16s. Reigning German Champion Daniel Deusser and Cornet D’Amour then wiped nearly two seconds from Lynch’s time to take the lead in 38.34s. Gregory Wathelet and Conrad de Hus, who became internet sensations in Paris this summer when Conrad’s bridle fell off mid-round, took over the lead with a great round in 37.67s from the middle of the draw. Diniz did her best to catch the time, but slotted into 3rd.
The feature class of the show, the €450,000 Longines Global Champions Tour of Doha Grand Prix, 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.