he global stars of show jumping began the countdown to the final Grand Prix of the 2012 season as German rider Johannes Ehning seized the first win in Abu Dhabi. Ehning rode a fast clear on Cayenne finishing in 26.01 over the 12-fence course – only a fraction of a second ahead of Denis Lynch on Night Train who finished in 26.07.
The floodlit Al Forsan arena was the stage for the first outing of the weekend for Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Edwina Tops-Alexander, the only two riders left in contention for the 2012 championship crown.
With the atmosphere building towards Saturday’s GCT Gucci Grand Prix, both riders used the opening class to limber up on their star horses. Rolf picked up a single time fault on Casall La Silla and Edwina ended up with one time fault and a pole down on Cevo Itot du Chateau.
Christian Ahlmann and Marco Kutscher, both German riders in the GCT top 10 ranking, retired.
Harrie Smolders and Roger-Yves Bost delivered speedy clear rounds. Harrie Smolders, Pius Schwizer, Maikel van der Vleuten, Nick Skelton and Michael Whitaker looked strong on their first outings of the weekend.