Olivier Philippaerts clinched the feature class on the opening day of the Commercial Bank CHI Al Shaqab Presented by Longines. At the Longines Arena at Al Shaqab on Thursday, the Belgian rider galloped to victory in the saddle of the 15-year-old H&M Legend of Love.
The pair produced a scorching 60.61-second round under the floodlights at the magnificent arena. Britan’s former World No. 1 Scott Brash finished in second place with Hello Vincent after clocking 60.85 seconds, while Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt and Coby 8 took home third place after a clear round in 61.07 seconds.
The 27-year-old Philippaerts was delighted with his victory but at the same time was relieved to compete at the highest level despite the prevailing pandemic. “If you look at the start list, you know that you have to ride fast if you want have a chance to win. I didn't let that distract me and wanted to ride my own round,” he said.
“It's super that we can start again at the highest level here in Al Shaqab. So I didn't want to come to the championship here unprepared. In January, I rode in Oliva, Spain, to get my horses ready for the outdoor season and I seem to have succeeded pretty well. My horses already have some competitions in their legs and are in the rhythm. That certainly made a difference today,” Philippaerts added.
Earlier, Frenchman Julien Epaillard won the opening class of the CSI5* competition. Epaillard topped the 39-combination field in the 1.45m class astride Safari d'Auge in 32.19 seconds. Epaillard, who has been riding stallion Safari d'Auge at international competitions since February 2013, put on an impressive round.
In second place was Henrik Von Eckermann with Carlotta 276, as the pair left the wood untouched in 33.06 seconds. World No. 1 Peder Fredricson of Sweden and Hansson came third after a clear round in 33.34 seconds.
Meanwhile, Omar al-Mannai, Event Director, Commercial Bank CHI Al Shaqab Presented by Longines and Organising Committee member, was pleased with safe start of the prestigious championship.
CHI Al Shaqab is being held for the eighth time, with 85 riders from 27 countries and 138 horses from overseas participating in the Olympic disciplines of showjumping, dressage, and para dressage.
Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers have able to successfully host the annual event. In line with the Ministry of Public Health’s Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, the venue capacity is restricted to 10 percent.
“Everyone is working hard towards making the championship and a safe and successful on, especially it is being held under exceptional circumstances. With 10 percent of crowd allowed, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the event,” al-Mannai said.
Showjumping CSI5* 1.55m/ against the clock Table A, FEI Art. 238.2.1
1. Rider: Olivier Philippaerts (BEL); Horse: H&M Legend of Love; Faults: 0; Time: 60.61 secs; Prize: Euros 23,725
2. Scott Brash (GBR); Hello Vincent; 0; 60.85secs; €18,980
3. Philipp Weishaupt (GER); Coby; 0; 61.07secs; €14,235
4. Pieter Devos (BEL); Jade v Bisschop; 0; 61.58secs; €9.490.
CSI5* 1.45m/Special Two-Phase Table A, FEI Art. 274.2.5
1. Julien Epaillard (FRA); Safari d'Auge; 0; 32.19secs; €6.350
2. Henrik von Eckermann (SWE); Carlotta; 0; 33.06secs; €5.080
3. Peder Fredricson (SWE); Hansson WL; 0; 33.34secs; €3.810.
4. Penelope Leprevost (FRA); Verite Une Prince; 0; 33.40secs; €2.540.
FEI Team Test - Grade I - CPEDI3*
1. Ana Isabel Mota Veiga (POR); Convicto; 70.714%; 65.714%; 66.071%; Total Score: 67.500%; €330
2. Magdalena Cycak (POL); Sybilla; 67.857%; 62.857%; 66.429%; 65.714%; €250
FEI Team Test - Grade II - CPEDI3*
1. Pepo Puch (AUT); Sailor's Blue; 76.515%; 74.394%; 77.424%; Total Score: 76.111%; Prize: €330
2. Annemarieke Nobel (NED); Doo Schufro; 65.758%; 67.727%; 72.121%; 68.535%; €250
FEI Team Test - Grade III - CPEDI3*
1. Rixt van der Horst (NED); Findsley N.O.P.; 76.176%; 76.471%; 72.353%; 75.000%; €330
2. Maud de Reu (NED); Webron N.O.P.; 74.559%; 71.618%; 75.882%; 74.020%; €250.
FEI Team Test - Grade IV - CPEDI3*
1. Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA); Don Henrico; 75.500%; 77.875%; 76.000%; 76.458%; €300
2. Lotte Krijnsen (NED); Rosenstolz; 74.625%; 70.750%; 72.250%; 72.542%; €250
3. Tessa Baaijens-Van-De Vrie (NED); Happy Grace; 68.375%; 70.375%; 68.500%; 69.083%; €200.
FEI Team Test - Grade V - CPEDI3*
1. Valentina Strobl (AUT); Bequia Simba; 72.907%; 69.419%; 71.977%; 71.434%; €330.
2. Amelia White (AUS); Genius; 68.023%; 67.442%; 68.256%; 67.907%; €250.
3. Tamsin Addison (IRL); Donna Siesta; 67.674%; 66.279%; 68.023%; 67.326%; €200.