Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 February 2020

Christian Ahlmann leads top-class field at FEI World Cup Arab League Al Shira’aa Grand Prix

Abdullah Al Marri heads the local challenge along with teammates Hamad Al Kirbi and Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi

Christian Ahlmann rides Cooper I Z at the international horse show CSI Basel at St. Jakobshalle in Basel. EPA
Christian Ahlmann rides Cooper I Z at the international horse show CSI Basel at St. Jakobshalle in Basel. EPA

Christian Ahlmann, the world No 10 from Germany, headlines the list of international riders in the Longines FEI World Cup Arab League Al Shira’aa Grand Prix at Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi from Wednesday.

Ahlmann arrives in Abu Dhabi after competing in the 11th leg of the Western European Show Jumping World Cup circuit in Leipzig, Germany, on Sunday.

Leading the challenge for a slice of the €250,000 (Dh1m) prize fund in the four-day event in Abu Dhabi are Ireland’s multiple Olympian Shane Breen and compatriot Mikey Pender, winner of the 2019 Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby, and Britain’s highly decorated Olympian Michael Whitaker.

Abdullah Al Marri, the defending champion of the Grand Prix, heads the local challenge along with teammates Hamad Al Kirbi and Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi.

“The Al Shira’aa Horse Show is on its fourth year and we are amazed at the event’s rapid growth both in terms of its stature and to draw some of the best riders in the world,” Omran Al Owais, president of the Al Shira’aa Stables, said at the launch ceremony on Monday.

“Here we have a competition for every level including the elite riders and horses across the four days. The highlights of the show of course are the Al Shira’aa Abu Dhabi Derby and the concluding Grand Prix.”

Hesham Al Hosani, equestrian manager of Al Forsan, said: “We have always aimed to be an internationally renowned facility, capable of hosting world-class events.

“We think that the Al Shira’aa International Horse Show is the perfect vehicle with which to demonstrate this.

“The Al Shira’aa Series event is a true reflection of the ever increasing high standards of show jumping events in the UAE and we at Al Forsan are looking forward to hosting many more events of this calibre in the future.”

Martina Boor, the event director, said the weekend’s competition is the highpoint of the Al Shira’aa conducted Horse Show series on January 1-4 and 9-11.

“We have had three weekends of top flight competition, providing every type of class ranging from Junior and Young Riders, to Young Horses, the newly launched Al Shira’aa Amateur Tour, all the way up to international four-star,” she added.

“Now the attention turns to the four-star week, with many thrills on offer including the second running of the Al Shira’aa Abu Dhabi Derby, a class featuring its first winner and runner up, Hamad Al Kirbi and William Funnell, as well as this year’s Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby winner, Mikey Pender.”

Updated: January 21, 2020 07:48 AM

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