Kristaps Neretnieks and Moon Ray
Image credit: Al Shira'aa Horse Show Media/@hcruden
The second week of the Al Shiraa’a International Horse Show hosted by the Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi came to an end yesterday with the showpiece event - the Al Shira’aa CSI3* Grand Prix presented by Longines. Spectators saw a 49 strong field of elite showjumpers take on the course designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral aiming to win a share of the €51,000 (AED 208,000) prize fund which was shared between the top 13 riders. Cabral is a FEI Level 4 course designer, and challenged the field with 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts.
After a hugely entertaining opening round, the top six riders entered the jump-off.
First rider in was Jack Ryan from Ireland on Essenar High Hopes. Completing a smooth round he came away with an unfortunate eight faults in a time of 37.86. Jack Whitaker followed, on Elucar V.E. Always a fighter against the clock Jack gave the first clear in a time of 38.50. Next up, was our man from Jordan, Ahmed Mansour on Estoril de Vardag. Estoril is a super quick horse, but with two fences down and finishing in a time of 41.62 Mansour went into third. Next in was Kristaps Neretnieks. After a very strong fourth place finish in the Puissance the night before, what could he produce? A super quick and clear round took him and his horse Moon Ray to the top of the leaderboard in a time of 34.79.
With two riders left to go, the standard had well and truly b