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Fasten your seat belts for blistering finale in Qatar

Fasten your seat belts for blistering finale in Qatar

Countdown on for final leg at magnificent Al Shaqab

Mr Tops was joined at the press conference by Mr Qahtani, Fahad Al Hajri Al Shaqab Communications and Marketing Manager and Omar Al Mannai, Longines Global Champions Tour Event Director in Doha

Published: Friday, October 4th 2013

Fasten your seat belts for blistering finale in Qatar

After 11 legs the Longines Global Champions Tour is heading for one of the most knife edge finals in the history of the championship series.
The magnificent Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre in Doha will be a fittingly dramatic stage for the climax of the 2013 season. And the race for the championship crown is still wide open.
All season the world’s leading international rider and horse combinations have fought for supremacy from Madrid to Monaco and London to Lausanne. They have jumped by day and by night, beside the sea and in capital city centres. In small sand arenas and vast grass show grounds.
The ultimate winner of the 2013 season will have proved that he or she is a true all-rounder and deserving of the championship title and the biggest slice of the final €1 million prize purse.
Over the coming weeks we will be profiling the top ride rs in contention for the Longines Global Champions Tour title and what they need to do to win.
ben maher wins in vienna
Today in Vienna some of the fastest rider's came together to fight it out for the last big title of this exciting weekend in Vienna, Austria. The true speed demons of the Longines Global Champions Tour were out in force this sunny afternoon.
Harrie Smolders, Gerco Schroder, Ben Maher, Richard Spooner, Hans-Dieter Dreher, Lauren Hough, Luca Maria Moneta and Daniel Deusser were amongst those keen to cinch the Vienna Masters titie. Ben was certainly eager for a win aboard Jane Clark's lovely gelding Urico. Fresh from a long-break from competition following a small injury this winter in Florida, Urico has been awaiting his chance to shine next to Cella and Tripple X III and today he earned that chance.
"It was a great class today. All the best riders in the world, Marcus Ehning, Michael Whitaker, put up a great fight today. Urico was feeling fresh today because he hasn't jumped all weekend. I am really happy to finally win a class again on him" said Vienna Masters winner, Ben Maher.
It was a strong class and heavily built, with height set at a solid 1.50/1.55. Eleven riders jumped a clear first round, ensuring a chance at the Vienna Masters title. Edwina Tops-Alexander and Erenice Horta were the first combination to jump clear but it was Michael Whitaker and his lovely new mare Elie van de Kolmen who quickly took over the lead for Great Britain. Stopping the clock at 45.06 seconds, Michael set a strong time to beat.
Germany's true technician Marcus Ehning delivered a textbook round aboard his younger grey stallion Cornado NRW, who at only 10 years old is looking undaunted at the prospect of filling the shoes of the legendary Plot Blue. Finishing with a time of 44.12 seconds.
But alas, Ben Maher and Urico were last to go and the British combination took full advantage of the ideal position to take every available risk on course. Despite not actually looking faster then Marcus Ehning or Michael Whitaker, Ben shaved off almost a whole two seconds from Marcus' time, landing after the final fence with 42.45 seconds.
It was a fantastic win for the new combination, who came together this past winter in Florida, as Ben took over the ride from the USA's Mario Deslauriers. Having won some strong classes in Florida, the combination have not been able to walk back into the ring until now, but it was sure worth the wait.
A wonderful conclusion to a entertaining weekend in Vienna, we now look to Doha, Qatar as riders prepare for the ultimate showdown, the tour of tours, the 2013 Longines Global Champions Tour Championship title.

Countdown on for final leg at magnificent Al Shaqab

Today the countdown truly began for the final leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 which will be staged at the magnificent Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre in Doha, Qatar.
Longines Global Champions Tour President Jan Tops and Fahad Saad Al Qahtani, Director of Al Shaqab, spoke of the mounting excitement about the climax to the 2013 season taking place in the world class facility.
At a press conference in the state-of-the-art surroundings of Al Shaqab to launch the much-anticipated event, Jan Tops praised the faclities at the prestigious venue as a fitting finale to one of the most exciting seasons since the Tour began 8 years ago.
Qatar is one of the most dynamic countries in the world today and will be fielding its leading national riders to take on the Top 30 in the world at the event from November 21 to 23. A worldwide audience on TV and online is expected to tune into the thrilling show jumping final leg where the overall champion will be crowned.
Jan Tops at the press conference at Al Shaqab in Qatar
Jan Tops at the Al Shaqab press conference (Photo: Mohamed Tinakicht/Al Shaqab)
Mr Tops was joined at the press conference by Mr Qahtani, Fahad Al Hajri Al Shaqab Communications and Marketing Manager and Omar Al Mannai, Longines Global Champions Tour Event Director in Doha.
Mr Tops said: “We are extremely proud to have the final of this year’s championship at the prestigious Al Shaqab equestrian centre for the first time in the Tour’s history. This superb venue will be showcased to a worldwide audience as part of the global media coverage of our final event of the season.
“We will be bringing the very best riders and horses in the world to compete in this extraordinary arena, where everyone will experience the world class facilities of Al Shaqab.”
Al Shaqab Director Fahad Saad Al Qahtani
Al Shaqab was founded by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in 1992 and the extraordinary equestrian venue became a member of the Qatar Foundation in 2004. Two years later Al Shaqab set out on a visionary expansion to become a global centre of excellence for equestrianism.
Stay tuned to the Longines Global Champions Tour website over the coming weeks for a more in-depth look at the Al Shaqab venue and the dramatic ranking story behind the battle for the championship of 2013.

Al Shaqab Director Fahad Saad Al Qahtani (Photo: Mohamed Tinakicht/Al Shaqab)


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