Abu Dhabi, UAE, 7th January 2019: The first class of the inaugural CSI 1* Al Shira’aa International Horse Show® was claimed by UAE-based Syrian rider, Hicham Gharib who was the fastest of 39 clear rounds at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort today (Sunday).
The class, which was held over a 110cm course, attracted a bumper field of 63 starters and kicks off a week of showjumping competition at Al Forsan.
Riders were tested over one round against the clock, with the fastest clear round taking first place. Gharib’s time of 43.05sec was just over three seconds faster than runner up, Mohamed Hamad Ali AlKirbi from the UAE and his horse, Finch.
The lead had changed hands a number of times during the class and it was eventual third place, Mohammed Hassan Alhadi from Saudi Arabia and his mount, Jolie Van Essene D15 who were in first place going into the break.
But Gharib and his 11-year old gelding proved much too fast for rest, going into the lead with 25 more riders to go and never looking in any danger.
“I was very confident going into the class,” said Gharib. “I knew my horse was good at this type of competition so I am very happy.”
Gharib was also due to ride his second horse, Elton, in the evening’s late class.
The CSI1* Al Shira’aa Horse Show® will conclude tomorrow (Monday) while the CSI4* Al Shira’aa International Horse Show® gets underway on Wednesday and features some of the top horse and rider combinations in the world,
The four-star event will also showcase a Derby class, on Friday January 11, the first time a class of this type has been held in the region. Great Britain’s William Funnell, the winner of the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby in England last summer, is set to compete. Also among the rider line-up is Sweden’s world number eight and reigning Longines Al Shira’aa Grand Prix champion, Henrik Von Eckermann as well as Portuguese rider, Luciana Diniz, Germany’s Philip Weishaupt and Saudi Arabia’s Ramzy Al Duhami.