Six days of fabulous and thrilling equestrian competition culminated on the eve of Woman’s Day celebrations with Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander and 2003-born mare Lintea Tequila triumph at CHI AL SHAQAB 2015 most prestigious event, the Grand Prix.
The motivation was of course high for the top place at one of the most prominent equestrian events and it was further boosted by the awarding of 500,000 Euros in prize money.
42 riders and horses entered the final Jumping showdown where the bar was placed at 1m60. After round 1, eighteen riders – among them four Qataris – advanced to the next phase, but only half of them completed the first course without hitting a fence and thus gained a serious advantage for the jump-off.
Of those nine, Philipp Weisenhupt on Chico 784, Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani on Vienna Olympic and Friday’s CSI5* last gasp winner Kevin Staut on Estoy Aqui de Muze HDC, failed to repeat their Round 1 flawless feat, so it came down to just half a dozen riders to claim the Grand Prix glorious title at a jump-off.
Edwina Tops-Alexander on Lintea Tequila entered the arena first, as the slowest on the previous round, but her time of 38:86 proved to be unbeatable. Martin Fuchs, who followed on a 9-year-old gelding Clooney 51, was far slower and finished in 48:34. Steve Guerdat on Nino des Buissonnets hit two fences halfway through and lost hope early.
Another female rider, a former Brazilian Luciana Diniz, who now defends the colours of Portugal, galloped all the way on Fit For Fun, but to her dismay she dropped down the very last bar, as exactly did high-flying Daniel Deusser on Cornet d’ Amour, who was slightly faster than Diniz (40;05 to 40:60).
All that remained to entertain a near full house crowd was the impressive Italian Emanuele Gaudiano, wearing the outfit of his employer the Ministry of Forestry, on 2003-born gelding Dutch bred Admara 2, who were faster than anyone else by more than two seconds on the second round. Gaudiano and Admara 2 sprinted all the way throughout the first part of the eight obstacle course, but hit the first of the penultimate double-fence hurdle. Edwina Tops-Alexander, the wife of the famous former Dutch champion Jan Tops, who is also her coach and mentor, emerged victorious and earned 165,000 euros, the larger part of the prize money spoils at stake.
Second-ranked Fuchs’ reward was 100,000, while third place awarded Gaudiano 52,500 euros.
1. Edwina Tops-Alexander (Australia) – Lintea Tequila 0/0/0/38:86
2. Martin Fuchs (Switzerland) – Clooney 51 0/0/0/48:34
3. Emanuele Gaudiano (Italy) – Admara 2 0/0/0/38:97
4. Daniel Deusser (Germany) – Cornet d’ Amour 0/0/0/40:05
5. Luciana Diniz (Portugal) – Fit For Fun 0/0/0/40:60
6. Steve Guerdat (Switzerland) – Nino des Buissonnets 0/0/0/42:78