Latvian rider Kristaps Neretkieks produced a flawless performance to clinch CSI5*-W title in FEI World Cup competition at the Ruler of Sharjah Cup International Show Jumping Championship on Sunday.
The four-day event, a highlight of the Sharjah Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club season calendar, was held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council, gave away the prizes in the presence of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Majid Al Qasimi, President of the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, Issa Hilal Al Hizami, Secretary-General of the Sharjah Sports Council, Sultan Khalifa Al Yahya’ie, Director General of the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, and International Equestrian Federation (FEI) officials.
The Ruler of Sharjah Cup International Show Jumping Championship carried a prize purse of Euros 1,50000.
Riding the 12-year-old Valour, Neretnieks cleared all the hurdles without making any faults.
He was the sole rider from the starting field of 37 that kept a clean score sheet in the second round.
Jack Ryan, riding the 10-year-old BBS McGregor, finished as runner-up after picking up only a time fault in the second round, while Evelina Tovek on Winnetou de la Hamente Z finished in third place with two time faults in round two.
Though the fastest of the class with his time of 44.85 seconds, Henrik von Eckermann on the 11-year-old mare Glamour Girl (VDL Zirocco Blue x Caletto I) had to settle for fourth place when a pole fell, resulting in four faults.
Von Eckermann failed to capitalise on Saturday’s dominant ride.
William Funnell, astride Equine America, a ten-year-old stallion Billy Picador, took fifth place with one down in 46.09 seconds.
Earlier, Donald Whitaker on Feodina (Zacharov x Corland) won the CSI5*-W 1.50m Sharjah Sport Council Cup with a double clear round in 34.46 seconds.
Bart Bles on Kriskras DV (Cooper vd Heffinck x Kashmir van Schuttershof) took the runner-up position, while the third place went to Wilm Vermeir on Joyride.
Janika Sprunger on Carlotta (Cornet Obolensky x Arpeggio) took the fourth place, and the fifth spot went to Jur Vrieling on Griffin van de Heffinck (Castelino van de Helle x Contact van de Heffinck).
The Ruler of Sharjah Cup, presented by Longines, also served as an FEI Jumping World Cup qualifier for the Arab League.
However, the biggest news of the day was the qualification of the UAE’s Abdullah Hamid Al Muhairi for the FEI World Cup Finals 2022, scheduled to be held in Leipzig, Germany from April 6-10, 2022.
The seasoned Emirati rider managed to qualify for the event for the fourth time in a row.
Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al Sharbatly, Syria’s Amre Hamcho, Egypt’s Mouda Zeyada, and Abdelrahman Shousha also sealed their spots for the FEI Jumping World Cup Final.
Sheikh Abdullah hailed the unwavering support of Sharjah Ruler Dr. Sheikh Sultan and credited the success to his wise leadership.
“The UAE’s growth in show jumping and equestrian sports has gained the world’s attention and trust. The international competitions conducted by the UAE equestrian clubs attract top riders from around the globe.
The growth of the sport in the country has also resulted in an increasing number of Emirati riders who are making their mark on the world stage,” added Sheikh Abdullah.
The competition played a major role in qualifying three riders from the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf and two from North Africa (among the Group VII of the International Equestrian Federation) for the Germany showpiece.
Yahya’ie said: “It is always a pleasure to host an event of this stature, and I was particularly pleased with the high standard of competition and the performance of the Arab riders who were competing alongside some of the best jumpers from around the world.”
The championship was organised by the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club in cooperation with the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation and under the supervision of the FEI.
At least 300 riders representing 35 countries from around the world participated in the various classes of the competitions, including CSI5*, CSI3*, CSIYH1*, CSIOY, CSIOJ, and CSIOCh.
Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharjah Sports Council, Sharjah Equine Hospital, Cavalor, and Majesticq Royal Care were the sponsors of different competitions that took place during the four days of the Sharjah Ruler Cup International Show Jumping Championship.