London 2012 Olympic Team Bronze and World Equestrian Games Silver medallist Abdullah Al Sharbatly continued his fantastic run of success this year by winning at the first ever Longines Global Champions Tour of Shanghai which took place last weekend (6-8 June).
Sharbatly came agonisingly close to taking the Longines Global Champions Tour of Shanghai Grand Prix on Saturday evening with gelding Tobalio, but four faults at the final fence in the jump-off sadly forfeited his chances and he ended up finishing in fourth place behind Pieter Devos (BEL), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and Michel Hecart (FR).
However, he made up for his misfortune the following morning by winning the last speed class of the event on 13-year-old gelding Unique. Sharbatly rode a formidable round and was over 1.5 seconds faster than his nearest rival, Ireland’s Shane Breen.
Speaking afterwards Sharbatly said: “I was unlucky in the Grand Prix and could have won it if it wasn't for having the last fence down so I was a little disappointed, especially as my horse had jumped really well. But I am really happy that I eventually won one of the classes.
“It was a tricky course and so to win you had to take all the options on the inside and turn tight everywhere. The poles were very light and so it was easy to have a fence down. It was a challenging course.”
Kamal Bahamdan took his 13-year-old mare, Noblesse des Tess, over to Shanghai but his luck was out this time, unable to pick up a place in the three classes he took part in.
Sharbatly and Bahamdan were part of history this weekend as it was the first time that Longines Global Champions Tour had been taken to Shanghai and the first time that international sport horses have been able to compete in mainland China.