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Howley rides Zodiak du Buisson Z to stunning win

Publication Date:
CHI Al Shaqab

Richard Howley and his nine year-old grey gelding Zodiak du Buisson Z stole the opening day showjumping honours of the prestigious CHI Al Shaqab at the outdoor arena of Al Shaqab yesterday. The Irishman and his horse were in the class of their own as they clinched yesterday’s feature class – CSI5* 1.50m – by almost a second. Howley and Zodiak du Buisson Z completed a flawless round in 62.73 seconds to emerge as surprise winners with riders and horses from around the world showcasing their skills over a challenging course. Among them, Irish riders particularly stood out, claiming top spots in the competition.

A beaming Howley later said: “I am delighted and absolutely over the moon. My horse is in great shape, he is really growing into this level so easily and week after week he is impressing me more. To beat two fantastic horses and Simon and Mark today, it gives me great belief for the future that my horse can win at the Grand Prix level. Couldn’t be happier with my horse. Of course, this gives me huge confidence for rest of the weekend.” Howley’s precise riding and the horse’s agility helped them secure the win ahead of fancied Frenchman Simon Delestre, riding black gelding Dexter Fontenis Z, going clear in 63.55 seconds, just fractions of a second behind the winner. Ireland’s Mark McAuley finished third on chestnut mare GRS Lady Amaro, completing the course without fault in a time of 63.71 seconds.

Austrian Max Kuhner secured fourth place with bay gelding EIC Julius Caesar while German Christian Ahlmann rounded out the top five riding Otterongo Alpha Z, a 10-year-old chestnut stallion. Earlier in the evening, Abdullah Alsharbatly of Saudi Arabia swept the Jumping CSI 5* – 1.45m/Special Two Phase class on grey gelding Dancing Wolf with a top faultless time of 30.25secs and well ahead of Spaniard Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, who cleared the routine in 31.86secs.France’s Olivier Perreau riding Bresil de Carnaval Santa Rosa took the third podium spot clocking 32.38secs. In Jumping CSI 3* – 1.45 m/Faults & Time class, it was Jordan’s Ibrahim Hani Bisharat who delighted the audience as he excelled on bay mare Happyness with a flawless ride finishing in 62.80secs and fractionally ahead of Italian Emanuele Gaudiano on stallion Crack Balou (62.91secs).

Saudi Arabia’s Kamal Abdullah Bahamdan riding bay mare Kwikly claimed the third podium place clocking a good 63.61secs. Qatar’s Abdulla Khalid al-Julandani showed his prowess astride bay gelding Armageddon Z to top the Jumping CSI 1* – 1.20 m/Special Two-Phase event finishing flawlessly in 34.86secs. The runners-up spot was claimed by another Qatari rider Saad Ahmed al-Saad, who rode brown mare Irschi for a clear routine in 35.09secs. Bahraini Sami Ghazwan on black mare Azur Rumel finished third in 35.13secs. Day two action will resume at 9am with both showjumping and dressage events at the indoor and outdoor arenas of Al Shaqab.

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