H.E. Chairman of Qatar Olympic Committee and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Shaqab Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al-Thani crowned the winners of the Longines Global Champions Grand Prix Doha held in Longines outdoor arena at Al Shaqab on Saturday.
Germany's Philipp Weishaupt, astride nine-year-old mare, Just Be Gentle, secured an impressive victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix, while his countryman Christian Kukuk, finished second and Frenchman Simon Destre came in third place.
Event Director Omar Al Mannai, spoke of the competitive nature of the Longines Global Champions Tour, particularly at the season opener in Doha: "Always the Longines Global Champions Tour expectation is really high you never know who can win. We are very glad to host this event for the past 16 years. It has been a tough Grand Prix, but the three winners did a great job, and it has once again been an exciting competition," he said.
"This is a very, very special moment. Winning a Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix is special but even more so with this young mare. We always put our best horses in the league, and we won that which was already incredible so to put this one in the Grand Prix I was never expecting to jump clear let alone win. These unexpected wins are the nicest ones, so I am over the moon right now," said Weishaupt.
Christian Kukuk said: "It is quite an emotional second place today. I am definitely more smiling than crying today about coming second. I was last to go, and I had to give everything. I am so happy for our team." Simon Destre praised the next-level show: "This is always one of my favourite shows of the season. Thank you to everyone for making this possible as all the facilities here, especially for the horses are fantastic." 39 riders started in the LGCT Grand Prix of Doha, and in a true display of the level of both horses and riders on the tour, over 12 combinations took to the arena in round 2. In what looked like a rocky start to the round 1, clear rounds started to flow. A dramatic, fast, and exhilarating jump-off resulted in 7 double clear rounds over the challenging, but jumpable Uliano Vezzani built track.
Source and cover image credit: Qatar News Agency
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