x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Saudis ones to beat at showjumping world cup qualifier in Al Ain

Two riders from Arab League will make the trip among 150 riders to the Netherlands showpiece.

Saudi Arabia rider Khaled Al Eid with his horse Presley Boy leads the race.
Saudi Arabia rider Khaled Al Eid with his horse Presley Boy leads the race.

The fourth and final competition of the UAE leg of the regional qualifiers for the Showjumping World Cup begins today at the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf club.

As with the events in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, top riders from across the world will be in competition.

In Al Ain, as many as 150 Olympic riders from 28 countries will take part in an event for which the total prize money will amount to Dh632,000, as well as the chance to qualify for the World Cup in Netherlands in April.

The three-day event will also see Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan, Sheikha Latifa, Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum, Sheikh Ali Al Qasimi, Ahmad Al Junaibi, Mohammad Al Kimaiti and Abdullah Humaid from the UAE as well as the Saudi Arabian duo of Khaled Al Eid and Abdullah Al Sharbatli.

Two riders from the Arab League will eventually qualify for the World Cup based on points collected through the events in the UAE, as well as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Morocco.

Al Eid leads the standings although because he will skip the World Cup to prepare for the Olympics, another place will open up for World Cup qualification.

Al Eid won the Abu Dhabi event and Al Sharbatli the opener in Dubai. The duo will again be the ones to beat.

"Saudi Arabian riders have a very good chance because they are both very good," said Adel Khamis, another leading Emirati rider, who will be competing. "They buy good horses. In this sport you need good horses and they cost a lot."

Khamis finished eighth in the grand prix in Sharjah but believes he can do well in Al Ain. "In this one, my horse is ready and rested and I hope we can do well. I've prepared really well for this one."