Czech rider Opatrny wins Emirates Airline Dubai Grand Prix

Published January 31st, 2016 - 02:45 GMT

Ales Opatrny became the first rider from the Czech Republic to win the Emirates Airline Dubai Grand Prix FEI World Cup Qualifier as he guided Acovaro to upstage a strong field of 28 competitors on the closing day of competition at the Dubai Equestrian Club.

In doing so, Opatrny was posting his first win in over 130 rides since May last year when he won a CSI 3Star event in Celje, Slovakia.

Acovaro, a 10-year-old German-bred gelding, was achieving perhaps a greater feat, with a first victory since 2013. Acovaro is not known for his speed but proved worthy of the test today.

Together, Opatrny and Acovaro combined to complete the course in a winning time of 43.86 seconds.

Ferenc Szentirmai of Ukraine was slightly behind in second in 44.20s aboard Quick Diamond. Third place went to France’s Frederic David with a time of 46.60s on Baloussini.

In winning, Opatrny picked up a prize purse of Dh80,850 from a Grand Prix total purse valued at Dh245,000.

“I have been riding this horse for two and a half years. He jumps well, but he is not the fastest of horses in the jump off. Today I am happy that he was the fastest,” the delighted Czech rider said,

Szentirmai opened the competition with a third in the Emirates Airline Two Phase on Thursday before his runner up performance in the Dubai Grand Prix.

Frederic David was also a frequent visitor to the presentation podium as he secured two runner-up performances on Thursday in the Emirates Airline Two Phase and the Dubai Equestrian Club Welcome Stakes.

Rounding out the top six placements were Abdullah Al Sharbatli, a three-time winner of the event in fourth, Marion Hughes in fifth and Francesco Turturiello of Italy in sixth place.

The final day of the Dubai Show Jumping Championship opened with the Dh120,000 Longines Accumulator, a class which won by 27-year-old David Will of Germany.

Will, who began riding at the age of nine, had an exceptional weekend as he won the Emirates Airline Two Phase on Thursday and was runner up in the Gulf News Dubai Cup Qualifier on Friday.

Riding the 10-year-old Monodie H in each of the classes, Will finished in a time of 52.43 in the field of 30 contenders.

Ireland’s Marion Hughes completed the course in 52.93s aboard Laith to take second. Hughes an accomplished international performer was also third in the opening day’s Dubai Equestrian Club’s Welcome Stakes.

The UAE’s Abdullah Al Marri, who is based at the Emirates Equestrian Centre, secured third with AMS Catch Me in 53.58s.

The Longines Accumulator is an event that allows competitors to choose the jumps they will attempt. Each of the fences cleared is worth a given amount of points based on difficulty. The winner is decided by the highest point total and fastest time.

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