The sixth edition of the FBMA International Show Jumping Cup kicked off on Thursday, as the Al Forsan International Sports Resort gets set to host three days of intense competition and talent.
Welcoming 166 riders from 28 counties, the trophy winning commenced as the winners of the first three categories were announced in Abu Dhabi.
In attendance was HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairwoman of Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, President of the Abu Dhabi and the Al Ain ladies clubs.
She said: “It has been a delight being here today, witnessing the opening of the sixth edition of this incredible Show Jumping Cup.
“We have been fortunate enough to not only observe both local and international talent, but welcome the community of the UAE to the family-friendly Equestrian Village.”
The action got under way with day one seeing a total of five categories compete. All events are ‘Concours de Saut International’ (CSI), in line with a ranking system for international show jumping competitions.
The day began with a CSI Children’s class (CSICh-A) for riders aged 12-14, which saw eight riders compete. The first category was won by local talent Abdullah Hamad Ali Al Kirbi with a time of 59.40. Second and third places went to Syria’s Layth Ghurayeb and Emirati Saif Abdulla Mohammed Al Shamsi, who registered times of 61.08 and 63.95 respectively.
The second round – CSIJ-A class – with a total of 37 riders, saw first and second prize go to UAE nationals Omar Abdul Aziz Al Marzooqi and Sultan Majed Al Awani, who completed two faultless rides each.
Jumping fences at 1.25m, Al Marzooqi clocked 47.14 in his first round followed by 27.22 in his second, while Al Awani registered 49.61 in his first round and 27.75 in the second.
The podium was completed by Jordan’s Mohammad Amjad Al Mommani, who timed his first round at 47.70 and his second at 28.15.
The afternoon’s competition began with the third category – the Ladies National Show. Featuring 62 riders, the top spot was won by Noof Hamdan Al Maheri from Al Hamra Equestrian Centre, followed by Syrian rider Lilac Kojak from Al Ali Stables, and in third spot was Emirati Shaika Fuad Al Midfa, representing Sharjah Women Sports Club.
The free event also saw families gather at the ever-popular Equestrian Village, which provides visitors with a fun equestrian-themed activity zone, featuring games and competitions for children of all ages.
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Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is looking for a good run from Estihdaaf as he bids to win the UAE 2,000 Guineas for a record seventh time at Meydan on Thursday.
Estihdaaf shaped well on his second start in the space of a fortnight last month when staying-on well to get within half a length of the winner Manguzi.
As this contest is over a mile compared to nine and a half furlongs last time, Estihdaaf is set to race more prominently.
“Estihdaaf finished strongly in the Al Bastakiya Trial and looks to have improved for that run,” he told www.godolphin.com.
“I would like to see him race handy in the UAE 2000 Guineas.
“He is in good form at the moment, although this will be a tough contest for him.”
Simon Crisford, formerly Godolphin’s racing manager, is represented by Sporting Chance, who was third in the Meydan Classic Trial a week ago.
North America, impressive winner of round one of the Maktoum Challenge last month, faces just the five rivals in the second round in which Godolphin are without a runner.
Godolphin’s Dream Castle posted the second win of his unbeaten campaign at Meydan, having been gelded after failing to get closer than third in four attempts last year.
The five-year-old son of Frankel, a 7-4 favourite under Christophe Soumillon, put stablemates Leshlaa and Racing History in the shade – by three lengths and a nose respectively, with Charlie Appleby’s Blair House a place further back in the same colours.
Saeed Bin Suroor said: “The horse is going really well – I like the way he is finishing his races.
“He showed a good turn of foot, and was even more relaxed tonight (than last time) – so it’s looking good for the future.
“I’m also happy with the second and third. That is good form.”
Bin Suroor, Soumillon and Esthidaaf found one prove half a length too good for them in the Al Bastakiya Trial, won on the dirt by 5-1 shot Manguzi for UAE trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi.
Ex-Argentinian champion Saltarin Dubai led all the way in the EGA Jebel Ali Trophy to score for the second time in 12 attempts over this course, by one and a quarter lengths, for Satish Seemar.
Back on the turf, D’bai struck on his first start of the second successive year, providing Charlie Appleby and Godolphin with their fourth winner in the last five runnings of the Al Fahidi Fort.
After the five-year-old’s one-and-three-quarter-length win under James Doyle – from stablemate Mythical Magic, with two more Godolphin charges third and fifth – Appleby made no secret of the fact he sees it as ‘job done’ already for a gelding who thrives when fresh.
“His first run is generally his better run,” he said.
“We’ve dabbled with six furlongs, but seven is his ultimate trip – and those races are limited.
“So we didn’t want to use that first run up on one we didn’t need. We were confident coming in today that he was fit and ready.”
Appleby and Doyle wasted little time in following up, with Spotify hitting the right note in the following EGA Al Taweelah Trophy, which brought the card to a close.
Provided by Press Association Sport