Sharjah Ruler Cup attracts top stars - GulfToday

Sharjah Ruler Cup attracts top stars

Amir Naqvi

Sharjah Ruler Cup attracts top stars

Sultan Mohammed Khalifa Al Yahyaee, Dr Ghanem Mohammed Al Hajri and other dignitaries at the press conference. Kamal Kassim / Gulf Today

Top international show jumpers from across the globe will be taking part in the His Highness Sharjah Ruler Cup International Show Jumping Championship CSI5*W which starts on Thursday at the state-of-the-art Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club (SERC).

Riders will compete for prize money totalling Dhs2,300,000 (Euros 560,000) during the three-day event, which culminates in the CSI5*W Sharjah Ruler Cup, an Arab League qualifier for the FEI World Cup which is scheduled to be held in Las Vegas from April 15-19.

The stellar cast including Christian Ahlmann, Michael Whitaker, William Funnell, Abdel Said and Shane Breen will compete alongside a host of top UAE show jumpers led by Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi.

Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, 2010 Asian Games silver medallist, Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri and Hamad Al Kirbi are part of the strong representation from the UAE.

Three qualifying spots are up for grabs at the event and Muhairi, who won the Sharjah Ruler Cup International Show Jumping Championship (CSI5*W) aboard his horse Cha Cha Cha last year, is second in the points table. He is six points behind Abdullah Sharbatly of Saudi Arabia. Another UAE rider who is in contention for the World Cup is Marri, who is third in the standings with 51 points. Muhairi has solid chances to qualify for the World Cup.

Participants from 42 countries representing Arab world and European countries are taking part.

The event will be under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and enjoys the patronage of Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.

Both the indoor and outdoor arenas will be used to host the competitions with 11 slated categories for the outdoors and nine to be held within the indoor premises.

Alongside this Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club also host the first of three annual FEI Group VII Finals starting this year, with action to be seen in the Children, Junior and Young Riders categories. Subsequent finals will be held in 2020 and 2021.

CSIYH1*, CSIYH2* will be the other highlights of the event.

Sultan Mohammed Khalifa Al Yahyaee, General Manager of the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, said: “When SERC hosted the CSI5* event two years back, we had a plan to organise it biannually.

“But bolstered by the success of the past two editions, we made it an annual feature of our season. The five-star status has allowed us to bring in the best riders and best horses from across the world to come and compete here. Also the FEI sets a high standard for hosting a five-star event, and by organising such an event, we can showcase our worldclass facilities and confirm our ability to host top events here at the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club.”

The event is sponsored by Longines, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Al Shira’aa Stables, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharjah Sports, Sharjah Equine Hospital, Cavalor and Al Sakb Equestrian.

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