Credit : Libby Law
Saturday 30 September - 11h15 | Edited Press release
The team from the United Arab Emirates pulled off a sensational win last night in Barcelona when they took the Challenge Cup without dropping a single rail and in the process relegated the New European Champions, Ireland, to second place. Another disappointing British preformance saw them finish in fifth place.
It was history in the making when the United Arab Emirates crushed their considerably more experienced opponents to win the Challenge Cup at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final under the lights of the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP) tonight. They finished second-last of the 15 participating nations in yesterday’s first qualifier when collecting a total of 34 faults so looked way out of contention going into this competition reserved for the seven teams that didn’t make the cut into tomorrow night’s series title-decider. But tonight they never touched a pole, and even more impressively they came out on top without having to call up their fourth team member. It was something of a walkover, with their three time faults leaving them six faults clear of the recently-crowned European champions from Ireland, while Team Brazil slotted into third with an 11-fault finishing score.They even had the worst of the draw, with 33-year-old Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri first to take on Santiago Varela’s 13-fence course which demanded both accuracy and speed. With his mare, Sama Dubai FBH, he made it look easy however when picking up just two time faults, and then Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi and Cha Cha Cha posted an extraordinary clear only to be followed by a single time fault for Mohammed Ghanem Al Hajri and Pour le Poussage. There was a look of near-disbelief on many UAE supporter’s faces when they realised that, even without the help of anchorman Sheikh Majid Al Qassimi and Celtion, they already had it all wrapped up.Delighted UAE Chef d’Equipe, Karl Schneider, reckoned it was their poor start that spurred his side to success tonight."Sheikh Majid is normally our best rider, but yesterday he was first to go and he didn’t have a good time, maybe his horse didn’t travel well, but anyway I think that shocked all the other boys and that’s why they didn’t ride well. So we changed the team order for today and put him in last, and I was only joking when I said that maybe he might not have to jump tonight!""The other three boys are in my stable in Bonn, Germany, the same place as Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), and they were all the summer with me. So we made a good plan about Abdullah’s shows and he came with Alice to join us, and the boys got a bit of experience of being together and finally it worked really well!" continued Karl Schneider, the team trainer.A share of a €50,000 bonus was on offer to four riders who jumped clear in yesterday’s first qualifier - Italy’s Alberto Zorzi and Emilio Bicocchi, Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Ireland’s Denis Lynch - if they could keep a clean sheet again tonight, but none of them managed to do so.Team managers have the option of using replacement riders in tonight’s Challenge Cup and tomorrow night’s Final.The teams from New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates were competing in the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final for the first time this week.The time-allowed of 78 seconds proved influential and there were only two zero scores posted tonight - by the UAE’s Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi (Cha Cha Cha) and Ireland’s Shane Breen (Laith).
Friday 29 September - 13h21
Sunday 01 October - 11h51
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