DOHA: Qatar’s show jumping star Bassem Hassan Mohammed yesterday produced a flawless routine with Argelith Squid to share honours with Frenchman Julien Epaillard in the opening event of the LGCT final round at Al Shaqab Arena.
Bassem, who enthralled home fans last year with his spectacular Grand Prix win at the same venue, yesterday clocked a time of 24.85 seconds, a time shared by Epaillard who was astride Safari d Auge.
The star Qatari rider, 31, was thrilled to share the stage with Epaillard.
“It’s very nice to start the weekend with the win,” Bassem said yesterday with a smile.
“I know Julien is fast and I saw him before I went in. I tried my best and ended up with the win. It feels good to start in this fashion,” he added.
Both riders won €6,625 each.
GK Casper, who had Bertram Allen in the saddle, sealed the third spot in the 145cm competition. GK Casper clocked a time of 25.16 seconds in the two-phased competition as Allen got richer by €3,750.
Norway’s Geir Gulliksen (VDL Groep Quatro, 25.45 seconds, €2,500) and Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten (Arera C, 25.70 seconds, €1,500) completed the top-five out of 51 entries.
With riders eager to grab honours in the opening contest of the three-day spectacle, Gerco Schroder of the Netherlands got the first ride with Glock’s Cognac Champblanc who produced a clear round.
British star Ben Maher (Madame X) secured the sixth best time.
Dutch rider Marc Houtzager, astride Sterrehof’s Baccarat, secured the early lead with a top time of 30.33 seconds but he got beaten by Maher and two other riders.
Last year, Bassem astride Gunder, produced a spectacular ride in the nine-strong jump off to win the final LGCT Grand Prix of the season - a full two seconds ahead of Janika Sprunger (SUI) on Bacardi VDL and Peder Fredricson (SWE) on H&M Christian K.
Action at Al Shaqab today will commence at 9:00am with young home riders competing in the first contest of round three of the Hathab Series (Against the clock No Jump Off 1.00/1.15m). The second competition (1.20/1.30m) will start at 2:00pm.
The two CSI5* competitions on day two of LGCT final round start at 4:30pm and at 6:30pm respectively.