Morocco’s Abdelkebir Ouaddar and his impressive bay stallion Quickly de Kreisker stole the show in Doha on the opening night of the championship final – leaving the rest of the field trailing in their wake.
The first day of competition saw 26 out of the Top 32 leading riders in the world in action under floodlights in the majestic state-of-the-art AL SHAQAB and it was a fascinating glimpse into who is in form ahead of Saturday night’s hugely anticipate Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Doha.
Earlier in the day, Italian Emanuele Gaudiano stole the first CSI5* class win after a blistering round saw him take the top spot with dark bay gelding Guess, ahead of Abdel Saïd and Luron S Z. Third place went to Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Super Sox, with compatriot Bertram Allen close behind.
The main feature class of the evening saw the top riders take centre stage under the impressive night lights of AL SHAQAB. An ecstatic Abdelkebir Ouaddar finished almost a full second ahead of 2nd place rider Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) and his grey gelding Cool And Easy, with Bertram Allen (IRL) and Molly Malone clinching the third place spot.
Abdelkebir went into the jump off in the 1.50m CSI5* competition fired up and his skilful round forced other riders to make mistakes as they tried and failed to beat his time of 37.97s.
He set out to win it, blasting into the vast sand arena full of determination. Third into the jump off out of 14 riders, he and Quickly de Kreisker covered the ground without losing momentum around the sweeping course and took a brave gamble with his stride to the last fence. The courageous move paid off winning him the class; it was a standard no one else could match.
Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher put in a fine performance with Cool And Easy; a horse with a relatively slower tempo. Ireland’s Bertram Allen was close behind in third place after he rode another stunning round during the first day of competition, jumping beautifully with his grey mare Molly Malone who looks to be on great form this weekend.
There were strong finishes from championship title contender Luciana Diniz on Winningmood who was placed 4th, and Pius Schwizer on Giovanni van het Scheefkasteel, who put in a solid performance for 5th place. Despite the 14 strong jump off, there were plenty of upsets all over the course in both rounds, as riders were challenged throughout.