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“Never expecting to win” Weishaupt scores top position in first Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of the season

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“Never expecting to win” Weishaupt scores top position in first Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of the season


With the first Golden Ticket to the GC Prague Playoff’s in 2023 awarded, Philipp Weishaupt secured an impressive victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Doha after stealing the show with Riesenbeck International in yesterday’s GCL.


Presented by HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President, Qatar Olympic Committee, today’s trophies were received with a rousing applause and standing ovation from all in attendance elevated the incredible atmosphere felt throughout the weekend.


39 riders started in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Doha, and in a true display of the level of both horses and riders on the Longines Global Champions Tour, over 12 combinations took to the arena in round 2.


In a fairytale ending to a week rocked with emotion, 11 years since his last LGCT Grand Prix Win, it all came together for Weishaupt on a mare that had never jumped even jumped a 2* Grand Prix in her life. “This is a very, very special moment. Winning a Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix is special but even more so with this young mare. We always put our best horses in the league so we won that which was already incredible, so, to put this one in the Grand Prix I was never expecting to jump clear let alone win. These unexpected wins are the nicest ones so I am over the moon right now.”


He went on to add: “It is a very special moment, the nicest story in this whole situation is when we have one down like what happened with Ludger's accident; it could not have happened in a better place. We felt like the whole country of Qatar was helping us, the hospital was amazing and he almost felt like he was at home.”


Omar Al Mannai, Event Director spoke of the competitive nature of the Longines Global Champions Tour, particularly at the season opener in Doha: “Always the Longines Global Champions Tour expectation is really high, you never know who can win. We are very glad to host this event for the past 16 years. It has been a tough Grand Prix but the three winners did a great job and it has once again been an exciting competition.”


In what looked like a rocky start to Round 1, clear rounds started to flow. A dramatic, fast and exhilarating jump off resulted in 7 double clear rounds over the challenging but jumpable UlianoVezzani built track.


Entering the Jump Off First was Qatar’s Rashid Towaim Ali Al Marri. With the home-crowd on their feet, the pressure was feltand an unfortunate two rails fell, leaving room for the proceeding 11 riders to take to the arena. 


Hans-Dieter Dreher aboard Elysium produced the first of the double clears, setting the bar for those to follow. Maikel Van der Vlueten had the crowd holding their breaths, but an unfortunate rail at the last fence.

Enter: Philipp Weishaupt and Just Be Gentle. Tight corners and quick lines saw the duo fly into the lead, 1.5 seconds ahead of leader Dreher.


Next saw leading lady rider Malin Bayard-Johnsson and H&M Indiana, 2022’s highest performing horse on the GCL tour, leave it all on the line, just 0.28 seconds behind Weishaput.


Smolders, Devos, Delestre and Kukuk – the final four. A potential podium in itself, it was all to play for. A fast 4 for Smolders. An uncharacteristic rail from Devos and Moms Toupie De La Roque. Delestre’s speedy clear putting him just 0.09 behind Weishaupt.


An on-fire Kukuk and Nice Van’t Zorgvliet then entered the arena as the crowd fell silent. 0.04 seconds behind. Weishauptwins.


Following the thrilling final showdown of the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Doha, Founder and President of Global Champions, Jan Tops, commented on the top level of sport seen at Al Shaqab and impressive growth of support in the region: “With the new changes having 40 horses in the class you see even more excitement. You have to really go for it to win a class like this. We started in Qatar over 10 years ago with just a few hundred people and now we have full grandstands. The growth in the sport here and on TV is huge.”


The third and final day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Doha saw spectacular competition, enthralling entertainment for the entire family and top-tier hospitality. Coupled with the architectural spectacle of Al Shaqab’s Longines Arena, spectators in attendance got behind the top riders performing across both the 3* and 5* classes. With Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in attendance, competitors really put on a show. 


The 3* 1.50m Grand Prix was taken out by Khalid Mohammed A S Al Emadi and his impressive mount Little Lord Pezi 2. Speaking of his victory, he commented on international shows making a return to Doha. “Today was the last day of a very successful two weeks, the 3* CHI show and the Global Champions show. Having these international shows on our ground is absolutely phenomenal.”


Challenged by an Ulliano Vezzani built course, and sealing the win for Qatar, he went on to say: “The height of the fences was so big, I was the first rider to have a clear round for the first round, and then opened the door for the other two riders. I was first to go in the last round, I have done my best, I went fast, and in the end I won the class. I would congratulate all of my colleagues, the Qatari’s, the people who organised this absolutely amazing show.”


As the curtain falls on the 2023 season opener, the Longines Global Champions Tour of Doha, which was a rousing success with the contribution of the entire team partnered with an army of volunteers, all eyes look ahead to leg two, the LGCT of Miami Beach, where riders and spectators alike are treated to one of the most iconic stops on tour.

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