Qatar’s Bassem rev­els in yet an­other vic­tory at home

Af­ter a shared vic­tory on Thurs­day, Bassem clinches CSI5* speed class at the Global Cham­pi­ons Tour yes­ter­day

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By Sa­han Bi­dappa

While many would crum­ble un­der home pres­sure, Bassem Has­san Mo­hamed seems to rel­ish per­form­ing in front of the do­mes­tic au­di­ence. Af­ter win­ning the open­ing class on Thurs­day, the Qatar rider struck again by clinch­ing the CSI5* speed class at the Global Cham­pi­ons Tour yes­ter­day.

Un­der lights at the spec­tac­u­lar Al Shaqab arena, watched by packed hol­i­day crowd, Bassem was astride his 12-year-old Geld­ing Argelith Squid and the pair gal­loped around the 1.50m course in splen­did fash­ion to eke out an­other win.

Argelith Squid once again was in sync with Bassem and the rider was all praise for the horse for giv­ing him his sec­ond suc­ces­sive win. “Af­ter three-four fences I re­ally felt I could win. My horse did an amaz­ing job to­day. For sure I am thrilled, but to be hon­est I am hap­pier how I fin­ished that course and how I planned and how he made it eas­ier for me,” Bassem said.

While on Thurs­day Bassem had to share his first place with Julien Epail­lard af­ter both fin­ished on same time, yes­ter­day the Qatari rider beat his French ri­val. One of the fastest rid­ers on the cir­cuit, Epail­lard on board Sa­fari d Auge flaw­lessly set a lead­ing time of 64.22 sec­onds. But Bassem and Argelith Squid shaved off 0.11 sec­onds off Epail­lard’s time by tak­ing the in­side line to fence 10, that would have made course de­signer Uliano Vez­zani proud.

France’s Roger Yves Bost and Tesway de la Ba­tia, like many oth­ers, cut a stride out be­tween fence 4 and 5 and was on track to chal­lenge Bassem’s time. Un­for­tu­nately, the pair couldn’t ex­e­cute the plan and fin­ished with 8

faults and 66.85 sec­onds.

The third place went to Bel­gium’s Nicola Philip­paerts and J’Adore van het Schaeck, who com­pleted their round in 66.29 sec­onds.

Bassem, who be­came the first Qatar rider to win a home Grand Prix last year, will be look­ing for an en­core to­day. It’s a high class field that will be in ac­tion to­day

at the €375,000 mar­quee event, in­clud­ing 2018 cham­pion Ben Maher. But Bassem in cur­rent form will fancy his chances as he rides with Gun­der, who had part­nered him in his vic­tory last sea­son.

“To­day’s win feels good but I am al­ready look­ing for­ward to the last day and hope it goes well,” Bassem said. “I will ride with

Gun­der for the Grand Prix, the same horse I had last year. I am look­ing for­ward to it. I have had a good sea­son. I was few times in the podium this year and also won a few classes with Argelith Squid,” the 31-year-old added.

Bassem said the lo­cal sup­port at Al Shaqab drives him to give his best. “To be hon­est, I am happy when I see more peo­ple.

There is a good sup­port for us and I want to thank ev­ery­one who are sup­port­ing us,” he said.

Mean­while, to­day’s Grand Prix will be see in­tense bat­tle for cham­pi­onship run­ner-up po­si­tion. With Maher to be crowned as the new cham­pion, seven rid­ers are in con­tention to fin­ish sec­ond. Al­berto Zorzi is cur­rently sec­ond with 237 points, but the Ital­ian has just a four-point lead over last year’s over­all cham­pion Har­rie Smol­ders of the Nether­lands. But what makes it in­ter­est­ing is the fact that just 28 points sep­a­rate Zorzi and eighth-placed Chris­tian Ahlmann of Ger­many. And with 40 points for a win at Al Shaqab, the bat­tle for sec­ond place can swing many ways.

Mean­while, yes­ter­day’s fea­ture class was won by Ahlmann with 11-year-old grey Stal­lion Caribis Z. The pair came home in 45.06 sec­onds to set the fastest time as Ahlmann picked up €47,850 in prize money from a to­tal pot of €145.000 in the CSI 5* 1.55m class. Smol­ders fin­ished sec­ond with Emer­ald, while Shane Sweet­nam of Ire­land came third with Main Road.

RE­SULTS CSI 5* Against-the-clock with jump-off 1.50/1.55m (€145.000)

1. Chris­tian Ahlmann (GER) Caribis Z. Time: 45.06 secs. Prize money: €47,850

2. Har­rie Smol­ders (NED) Emer­ald. 45.61 secs. €29,000

3. Shane Sweet­nam (IRL) Main Road. 45.80 secs. €21,750

CSI5* Against the clock (1.50m) Ta­ble A, FEI Art. 238.2.1 (€50,000)

1. Bassem Mo­hamed (QAT) Argelith Squid. Time: 64.11 secs. Prize money: €16,500 EUR

2. Julien Epail­lard (FRA) Sa­fari d Auge. 64.22 secs. €10,000

3. Nicola Philip­paerts (BEL) J’Adore van het Schaeck. 66.29 secs. €7,500

TO­DAY’S SCHED­ULE

GLOBAL CHAM­PI­ONS TOUR 2:30pm: CSI 5* GCL of Doha Round 2 - 1.55/1.60m (€95.000 to in­di­vid­ual class win­ners); 5:45pm: CSI 5* Longines Global Cham­pi­ons Tour Grand Prix of Doha - 1.60m (€375.000)

HATHAB SE­RIES

9am: Against the clock NO

Jump Off 1.15/1.25m; 11:50am: Against the clock with Jump Off 1.30/1.45m

PIC­TURES: Lotfi Garsi

Qatar’s Bassem Has­san Mo­hamed cel­e­brates his win on Argelith Squid in the CSI5* Against the clock (1.50m) Ta­ble A, FEI Art. 238.2.1, at Al Shaqab Arena yes­ter­day.

Ger­many’s Chris­tian Ahlmann, astride Caribis Z, poses with Qatar Rac­ing and Eques­trian Club gen­eral man­ager Nasser Sherida al-Kaabi af­ter win­ning the CSI 5* Against-the-clock with jump-off 1.50/1.55m event at Al Shaqab Arena yes­ter­day.

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