Emotional Beerbaum drives Mila to Doha Grand Prix victory
Ludger Beerbaum, multiple German show jumping champion and four-time Olympic gold medalist, demonstrated his extensive experience by emerging triumphant from the Doha Grand Prix CSI5* 1.60m, the flagship event of the Longines Global Champions Tour which opens the season.
Under the lights of the crowded Al Shaqab arena on Saturday, the 58-year-old veteran riding ten-year-old mare Mila clocked victory in 38.18 seconds. Only eight combinations managed to qualify for the jump-off and as the last combination to enter, Beerbaum pulled out all the stops to beat Swede Henrik von Eckermann and his horse King Edward.
With an extra stride to the combination, it looked like he wouldn’t come close to von Eckermann’s winning time, but Beerbaum started to accelerate and lift off the jumps to secure the top spot.
Eckermann was thus kept out of victory at the very last moment. He could count on the legendary King Edward to climb in 38.74 seconds to second place. Dutchman Jur Vrieling and his mount Long John Silver took some risks in the jump-off and it gave a time of 40.02 seconds which earned them third place.
Beerbaum now has his golden ticket to the play-offs in Prague. His win at the Doha GP also earned him the €123,750 prize. Extremely pleased with his thrilling show, the 58-year-old said he was delighted as he hadn’t expected to finish on the top step of the podium. “I’m also very happy because the horse (Mila) is not very experienced. Today, the way he jumped the combinations, I’m really, really happy.
Beerbaum explained that he was also lucky by his side. “You have to be a little lucky on the jump. And the way we went about it makes me kind of emotional and proud,” he said.
He pointed out that although he had many victories under his belt, this one was special for many reasons. “Honestly, I didn’t expect to finish on the top step of the podium. The occasion, this spectacle and my fears make this one of my most emotional victories. Believe me, when I woke up this morning I didn’t expect to win.
“My last big show was in Prague last year, then I broke my little finger, a few weeks later I fell off my horse and broke my ribs and didn’t ride for three weeks. Last week I felt we weren’t ready for 5 star level. I hadn’t prepared my horses either. But Mila is a quality horse, she jumped flawlessly and amazingly. My target now for the season will be Prague,” he signed.
Briton Scott Brash, who won the CSI5* (1.55m) time trial by jumping with Hello Mr President in a blistering time of 65.03 seconds, leaving the competition far behind. He claimed the price of €23,800. Frenchman Kevin Staut was held out of victory by Brash and finished second with Visconti du Telman (by Toulon) with a time of 65.83 seconds. Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs with Leone Jei won bronze. He crossed the finish line in 66.61 seconds with the 10-year-old KWPN horse.
LGCT Doha Event Director and Commercial Manager of Al Shaqab, Omar al-Mannai praised everyone’s efforts to make the splendid show in Doha a great success. “We had two amazing weekends (CHI Al Shaqab and LGCT). The crowds were also very interactive with the action. Everything was wonderful and lived up to expectations,” al-Mannai said.
Meanwhile, Stockholm Hearts Powered by H&M We Love Horses pulled off their first team performance, winning the GCL opening event on a clean sheet with power duo Peder Fredricson and Malin Baryard-Johnsson. At the start of their league campaign, the Swedish duo of Hansson Wl and H&M Indiana kept their cool as they left all the fences in place to continue the GCL Doha streak still won by a team on 0 fouls.
The Hamburg Giants, who made no changes to their first-round team, secured second place on the podium with Jur Vrieling on Long John Silver and Bart Bles with Comme-Laude W jumping the only other double clear round in the weekend.
In third place was the Madrid In Motion combination of Jack Whitaker and Equine America gray stallion Valmy de la Lande and team anchor Maikel van der Vleuten who were the fastest team on 4 faults.
In the Longines Hathab (1.30/1.45m) Against the Clock contest, Mohamed Khalifa Albaker riding Verona won in 59.66 seconds. In both phases (1.15/1.25 m), Mohamed Rashid al-Amri excelled over Cornett Des Forrets to win the jump-off in 23.14 s.
Longines Global Champions Tour Doha Grand Prix with jump-off (1.60m) CSI5*
1. Ludger Beerbaum (GER); Horse: Mila; Time: 73.05s; Jump time: 38.18 seconds; Prize money: €123,750
2. Henrik von Eckermann (SWE); King Edward; 72.46s and 38.74s; 75000€
3. Jur Vrieling (NED); Long John Silver; 77.30s and 40.02s; 56250 €
CSI5* – 1.55 m Table A, FEI Art. 238.2.1 – time trial
1. Scott Brash (GBR); Horse: Hello Mr. President; Time: 65.03s; Grant: €23,800
2. Kevin Staut (FRA); Visconti of Telman; 65.83 sec; 19040 €
3. Martin Fuchs (SUI); Leone Jei; 66.61s; 14280 €
GCL: Jump against the clock (1.55 m) CSI5*
1. Scott Brash (GBR); (Horse: Hello Mr. President); Defaults: 0; Time: 65.03 seconds; Price: €23,800
2. Kevin Staut (FRA); Visconti of Telman; 0; 65.83 seconds; €19,040
3. Martin Fuchs (SUI); Leoni Jei; 0; 66.61 seconds; €14,280
GCL Team Competition
Time Trial (1.55m)
1. Hearts of Stockholm; Prize Money €19,055
Malin Baryard-Johnsson (Horse: H&M Indians) 72.51 seconds; 70.03secs Peder Fredericson (Hansson WL); 69.39 seconds; Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Legend of Love) 66.43sec. Total team: fouls: 0; Time: 139.42 seconds
2. Hamburg Giants; €15,879
Jur Vrieling (Long John Silver); 76.14 seconds; 74.71 seconds; Bart Bles (As-Laude F); 74.91 seconds; 72.25 seconds
Total team: 146.96 seconds
3. Madrid on the move; €13,339
Jack Whitaker (Valmy De La Lan Equine America); 76.34 seconds; 71.31secs Maikel Van Der Vleuten (Beauville Z) 70.01secs; Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (Bentley De Sury); 76.28sec. Team total: 141.32 seconds
Longines Hathab (1.15/1.25m) Table A, Art. 2126.96.36.199 – in two phases
1. Mohamed Rashid al-Amri; Horse: Cornet Des Forrets; Time: 23.14s; Prize money: QR6250
2. Hamad Nasser al-Qadi; Callisto; 23.20 sec; QR5000
3. Hussain Said Haidan; Viahipi D’Auzay; 23.32 sec; QR3750
Longines Hathab (1.30/1.45 m) Table A, Art.238.2.1 – Time Trial
1. Mohamed Khalifa Albaker; Verona; Time: 59.66 seconds; Prize money: QR11250
2. Cyrine Cherif; Brennus Villelongue; 60.52 sec; QR9000
3. Mohamed Khalifa Albaker; Demilion; 66.99 seconds; QR6750