Ludger Beerbaum & Chiara
One of the biggest pay outs of this weekend’s competition went to Germany’s living-legend Ludger Beerbaum at the exclusive Al Shaqab location in Doha, Qatar. Taking home € 214,500 in prize money after jumping one of only three triple clear rounds on his big-bodied mare Chiara. “My horse likes the venue. This is my third show in Doha. In CHI Al Shaqab 2013 I came in fourth with Chiara and in the Global Champions Tour final I placed second. I’ve now come first so you can imagine how happy I am. My horse enjoys the ring, the facilities, the stabling, the warm up area. You don’t find better anywhere in the world. I’m delighted,” the top-ranked German rider, who is currently ranked third in the world on the Longines World Rankings, behind Britain’s Scott Brash and Ben Maher.
Second place went to Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet on Sea Coast Forlap DC. Belgium’s 2012 Olympic team member was also clear in all three rounds, but was well over three seconds behind Beerbaum in time. However, it was clearly a good day for Belgium as the young 20 year old Nicola Phillippaerts finished third on Cortez. The young Philippaerts, who just came fresh off his first World Cup win Gothenburg, Sweden, was last to go in the jump-off and earned the fastest time of the day, but on the expense of a fence down.
The Grand Prix was moderate in size, with only 27 entries, which will certainly count as one of the smallest international Grand Prix events of the season, however the start list was filled with plenty of top-ranked talent, including reigning Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat, two-time GCT season winner Edwina Tops-Alexander, Britain’s living-legend Michael Whitaker and 2013 Spruce Meadows Masters winner Pieter Devos. In the first round, riders saw seven combinations jump clean with an additional five combinations jumping clean but earning a single time fault. In the second round, it was only Ludger Beerbaum and Gregeory Wathelet who earned a double clear score. Ireland’s Denis Lynch jumped clear with his stallion All Star 5 but picked up a single time fault in each round, to finish fourth overall. Qatar’s Faleh Suwead Al Ajmi also jumped clear in both rounds but accumulated a total of three time faults between both rounds aboard the Oldenburg gelding Come Soon.
President of the Ground Jury Stephan Ellenbruch said “it’s a great competition, one you don’t have too often. Congratulations to Bob Ellis, the course designer. It’s perfect to be here with lots of people who work together to make a great show.”
CSI5* AL SHAQAB Grand Prix (Doha, Qatar)
1st Place – Ludger Beerbaum of Germany on Chiara won € 214,500
2nd Place – Gregory Wathelet of Belgium on Sea Coast Forlap DC € 130,000
3rd Place – Nicola Phillippaerts of Belgium on Cortez won € 68,250