Hans-Dieter Dreher wins opening competition in Doha aboard Callisto….

ph. Stefano Grasso/LGCT
ph. Stefano Grasso/LGCT
ph. Stefano Grasso/LGCT

Hans Dieter Dreher (GER) and Callisto claimed victory in the opening CSI5* class of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Doha event at the spectacular Al Shaqab arena. Second and 3rd went to home stars Ali Yousef Al Rumaihi (QAT) with Gunder and Khalid Mohammed AS Al Emadi (QAT) with Utascha SFN.

Uliano Vezzani’s welcoming course offered a few opportunities for a daring turn-back and that’s how the top three really made their mark. Luca Maria Moneta (ITA) and the reliable Jimy held on to the lead with a time of 31.22s from third to go in the draw until Al Emadi shaved over a second off the Italian’s time to finish in 30.11s.

Jane Richard Philips (SUI) with Pablo de Virton, Gerco Schroder (NED) with Amarillo and Simon Delestre (FRA) with Stardust Quinhon came close, but no one could catch the 2014 Asian Games Gold-medal winning Qatari team member.

The experienced Hans Dieter Dreher benefitted from his late draw and knew exactly what he had to do, riding a neat round and stopping the clock at 28.88s. Ali Yousef Al Rumaihi, who won a CSI5* class in Valkenswaard earlier in the season, came tantalisingly close with Gunder but had to settle for 2nd this time in 29.10s.

The feature class of the show, the Longines Global Champions Tour of Doha Grand Prix will take place on Saturday at 5.15pm local time. In an exclusive interview this morning, the hot-favourite Ludger Beerbaum (GER) revealed he would not jump his top horse Chiara on Saturday, instead he would compete the less experienced Zinedine in a surprising twist.

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.