ritten by Erin Gilmore
Kamal Bahamdan of Saudi Arabia netted a significant win among top company on Sunday at Weisbaden, Germany in the CSI4* DKB-Riders Tour Grand Prix.
Aboard his longtime partner Noblesse des Tess, Bahamdan outpaced the likes of Christian Ahlmann, Holger Wulschner and Luciana Diniz to complete two clear rounds, with the fastest second round time of the class in 45.93 seconds. Bahamdan has ridden his own Noblesse des Tess, a 14-year-old Selle Francis mare by Cumano, for several star-studded seasons. The pair most notably finished 4th individually and earned team bronze for Saudi Arabia at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
But since July of last year, Noblesse des Tess has been away from the show ring on an extended break. Initially out with a minor injury, Bahamdan decided to give his mare a lengthy rest, and use the time to give himself a rest from competing as well. Their first big show back was the Longines Global Champions Tour of Shanghai on May 8th, where “Tess” proved that she was back in top form – she jumped three clear rounds to place fourth in the Grand Prix of Shanghai CSI5*, thrilling her rider.
“With Tess, you know when she’s feeling good and happy. You know when she’s back to the old Tess where she’s happy to be competing, and I felt that in Shanghai,” he said. “I have never been so happy after such a long time off as I am now.”
Bahmandan began his weekend in Weisbaden with challenging rounds aboard his newer mount, Sansibar 89. He described those rounds as “sticky”, but when it came time to jump Tess, first in the grand prix qualifier and then in the grand prix itself, the star mare came through for him again. They put in two stellar rounds in Sunday’s grand prix, the third of six stages on the 2015 DKB-Riders Tour in Germany.
“[After Shanghai] you say ok was that was just one show, she was fresh and happy, but to do it again in Weisbaden back to back, it was really comforting to me to know that she’s back again,” Bahamdan added.
With two weeks off before the next competition on his calendar – the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Cannes, Bahamdan will return to his base at Ludger Beerbaum’s stable in Germany. (There will be many smiling faces returning LB Stables this week, as in addition to Bahamdan’s win, longtime Beerbaum rider Henrik Von Eckermann won the Grand Prix of Rome CSI5* in Italy on Sunday.)
For Bahamdan, the next big goal is helping the Saudi Arabian team qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The qualifying period, which began in January of this year, goes until March 2016, and although Bahamdan pragmatically pointed out that he’s already lost five months of the season with no points, the return of his top mare gives him hope, and confidence that more good results will be forthcoming.
In Weisbaden, Germany’s own Ahlmann was the only other rider to complete two clear rounds in the DKB-Riders Tour Grand Prix; he rode his top partner Taloubet Z to second place. Wulschner, also of Germany, finished in third with BSC Cavity, and Portugal’s Diniz was 4th with Fit For Fun 13.
Janne-Friedreike Meyer maintains the overall lead in the DKB Riders Tour, but with this latest result, Bahamdan has earned the 4th place series ranking behind Christian Glienewinkel and David Will. The DKB-Riders Tour continues in Muenster on August 30th.
Full results of the Weisbaden DKB Riders Tour Grand Prix can be found here.