Marcus Ehning and Stargold win the CSI5* grand prix at CHI Al Shaqab

  • Germany’s Marcus Ehning and Stargold produced a scintillating triple clear to grow to be the primary back-to-back winners of the CSI5* 1.60m grand prix at Business Financial institution CHI Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar (25 February), offered by Longines. 

    From penultimate draw, Marcus set the quickest away from the final-round jump-off on 41.74sec. In-form Simon Delestre was final to go, and chased the goal on his engaging black 10-year-old Dexter Fontenis Z, however was 0.29 adrift. Japan’s 24-year-old Mike Kawai accomplished the rostrum with the one different triple clear, driving Saxo De La Cour.

    Stargold had already received a 1.50m class on the primary day of the present, so Marcus knew the stallion was on kind.

    “He was in such good condition and felt so recent, so I already had feeling,” mentioned Marcus. “Germany is chilly, and he enjoys the warmth right here. However we received the grand prix collectively final yr so I assumed it wasn’t attainable to do it once more. I can’t actually consider I’ve received it twice in a row on the identical horse.

    “I assumed the 2 programs have been truthful. I do know my horse so properly, and I do know that Uliano [Vezzani] can not shock him with a distance – lengthy or quick – and if I rode properly I might handle his course, in order that gave me a variety of confidence. He’s a stallion with a variety of character and I attempt to let him keep that manner. I don’t thoughts when he likes some little bucks, it’s his persona.”

    Uliano Vezzani’s first-round monitor triggered loads of hassle, however there have been 14 clears from the preliminary 38. Eire’s Breen brothers each retired within the first spherical, with the forthcoming GCT in the identical venue subsequent week, however British hopes have been stored alive by Jodie Corridor-McAteer and Salt’N Peppa, who went by means of to the second spherical in a quartet of quickest four-faulters, however fell out of the reckoning with two down.

    Runner-up: ‘I assumed the primary spherical was too massive!’

    Simon Delestre was bidding to listen to the Marseillaise play for the third time this week after scoring a double with Amelusina R 51.

    “I noticed how briskly Marcus went, however I knew there was one place I might take a danger,” mentioned the Frenchman. “However Dexter is just a 10-year-old, and it’s his first powerful grand prix outdoors. I knew there was a line I might take 9 strides however I took 10 and I needed to decelerate. I did my finest however Marcus was quicker.

    “It is a present I wish to come to yearly; it’s improbable for the horses, top-of-the-line arenas on this planet,” he added. “Whenever you come from indoor arenas and also you see this grand prix, you assume, ‘woah, it’s powerful’, however these horses are so good, that by the second spherical, you’re prepared for it. However within the first spherical with Uliano’s programs I at all times really feel, ‘that is too massive!’.”

    Simon Delestre and Dexter Fontenis Z, runners-up in CHI Al Shaqab grand prix

    Simon Delestre and Dexter Fontenis Z, runners-up in CHI Al Shaqab grand prix

    Japan’s under-25 rider Mike Kawai made historical past as the primary from the Asian continent to make the CSI5* grand prix podium at CHI Al Shaqab. First to go within the remaining spherical, he laid down the gauntlet together with his triple clear. Though three different riders beat his time of 44.98, their over-tight strains value them faults, and he held on to his lead till the penultimate rider, Marcus, clocked his profitable spherical.

    “I’m stunning myself to be right here with these superb riders – to be third in a grand prix, it’s a dream,” Mike mentioned. “Everybody needs to win after all, however for me it’s a giant step to changing into rider. I at all times have feeling in Arab international locations, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and I’m so blissful to compete right here.

    “I wish to be the perfect rider on this planet, however that’s a great distance away. I’ve solely simply began however I at all times attempt laborious to be higher and higher, and should you maintain combating, then slowly you’ll get there.”

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