Grand Prix Gets Under Way
by Peter Abisheganaden
CSI***** KL Grand Prix show got under way this morning with warm-up
rounds for the South East Asian riders at 11 am. The riders got
to school over 6 fences including one double in the competition
At 1 pm the fences were raised to 1.40 - 1.50 m and we got out first
chances to see the international horses jumping in a training round.
As I write this from the press box at the arena, the international
riders are schooling their horses over the course.
World No. 1, Markus Fuchs gives Granie a quiet school over the fences.
They roll the top pole of no. 2, a big yellow oxer, but other than
that the favourites for this Sunday's Rm. 2 million Grand Prix look
Qabil Ambak has Camelias jumping well. They look very comfortable
going around the course. Camelias may not have the elaborate hind-end
flick that she showed a few years ago, but the power is still there
and Camelias gives the fences a lot of air.
Saudi rider Kahled Al Eid schools Ninety-Nine over the course, then
keeps going to do the double again. The horse looks strong and though
not so experienced at Grand Prix level, has a good chance in the
All riders have complimented Oliver Hoberg's footing. It is totally
flat and on first look quite hard as it does not shift very much,
but there is a lot of rebound and the horses are all jumping extra
well off it.
I have my first look at Syed Omar's Maloubet. The big chestnut is
a solid fellow. Maloubet moves well and you can see he has good
flatwork invested in him. Omar jumps him around quietly and clear.
He must be happy with this training round, especially considering
the horse arrived on Saturday with a high temperature. Omar worked
him yesterday, then check the vital signs at afterwards to make
sure that he had really recovered before making the decision to
continue with the show.
The British are in the ring. John Whitaker works Lord Z in the arena
in draw reins but does not jump the course. Geoff Billington and
Carlsson look very professional, jumping cleanly and well.
The large German contingent all work professionally, using the time
in the arena to school over the fences and work properly between
them. They are just as interested in how the horses travel between
the fences as they are in how they jump them. Toni Hassmann has
two horses, Der Lohmann and Meurer's Le Patron. Helena Weinberg's
Silwa Little Gun looks the better horse than Afra B2. Former World
Champion Franke Sloothaak may have slipped down the rankings to
66, but he still looks a class above on Sheila and Sundance K. Lars
Neiberg has brought two relative unknowns Katie Riddle and Giorgio
to KL but looks very good jumping.
Word Cup Champion Marcus Ehning gives Noble Savage H a longish warm-up
before he starts over the fences. The horse looks incredibly well
schooled and flows beautifully over the training course. All the
same he jumps the Transtheme/Equestrian.Com.My created Hibiscus
fence before going on to the double again.
Qabil comes into the ring again, this time with Opium Metado. They
jump and they clear everything, just making an additional turn to
the double and then going over a few fences after the last. Qabil
will be pleased and it will be a tough choice to make between Camelias
and Opium Metado. Nice choice to have.
Last rider to jump is Jean-Marc Nicholas and 3QE's Humphrey. Amazingly
the horse never looks like stopping and looks world class again.
Well done Jean-Marc!
The French are a surprisingly happy lot. Eduaord Couperie has been
many times to Malaysia to coach Quzier and Qabil Ambak in the mid-90's.
He tells me that his ride, Flash Varennes is a very good horse but
a little inexperienced. While he may go clear in the big one, he
thinks its a little too inexperienced to go really fast in a jump-off
at this level.
Hubert Bourdy has brought a very good mare in Eve de Etisses. They
must be one of the favourites, along with Markus Fuchs and Ludo
Philippaerts for Sunday's Grand Prix.
Kuala Lumpur, October 2, 2003