Abdullah Al Sharbatly and Woulon L Save Best for Last in CSI5* Speed Class Win

Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso

The penultimate CSI5* class in the 2017 Shanghai Longines Global Champions Tour proved to be a case of saving the best action for last as Abdullah Al Sharbatly (KSA) and Woulon L took a dramatic win from under the nose of Dutch star Leopold van Asten (NED). Finishing just two hundreds of a second apart, fans were treated to a blistering display of show jumping, with the wonderful Woulon L jumping his socks off to win the high octane class.

Uliano Vezzani set a fast-paced track, with long distances and his signature gallop to the last. David Will (GER) and Mic Mac du Tillard looked to be on fiery form once more, until the chestnut mare dropped her legs in the oxer after David caught a bad stride to the fence. Managing the hot mare beautifully, the German elected to retire, with the pair undoubtably back in action for another day. Marcus Ehning (GER) and his sensitive grey Calanda picked up ten faults, after the mare spooked in the ring. Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Maher (GBR) also caught his fair share of drama after It’s Real Love v. Smis Z stopped, rearing spectacularly before continuing their round to finish with 9 faults overall. Lauren Hough (USA) and Waterford also elected to retire, with the 30 strong field diminishing as the class played out.

Leopold van Asten (NED) and VDL Groep Miss Untouchable looked to be the ones to beat, as the pair put in a flawless round to raise the bar and stop the clock in 61.91s. Laura Kraut (USA) and Confu put in a valiant effort, but feel just shy of Leopold’s time, crossing the line in 62.55s. Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Annie looked strong, but the top British rider couldn’t top the timesheets, eventually slipping to fourth overall despite their effortlessly classy clear. Young German star Philip Houston, just 19 years old, rode a superb course on Kannella, and Kimberly Prince (USA) showcased skill and precision with RMF Fatum, to finish the class in 6th.

But it was a case of top sport heading right down to the wire as final rider to go, Abdullah Al Sharbatly (KSA), entered the ring. The pair set off at a gallop, eating up the distances between the first few fences but keeping all the control and scope to ensure no poles rolled. Ahead from the off, horse and rider danced around the arena, with fans cheering their every clear and gasping as they leapt bravely at the intimidating oxers. Taking a stride out to the last Woulon L flew to the finish, crossing the line just two hundredths of a second ahead of Leopold van Asten (NED). The crowd roared as the stunning grey galloped around the arena, with spectators leaping off their seats in appreciation of the courageous horse.

Edited press release courtesy of: Global Champions Tour

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