Season 2016


  • Valkenswaard
  • 4-7 August 2016

Abdullah Al Sharbatly and Tobalio take the win in opening CSI5* Valkenswaard class

Release date: 05/08/2016

Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso

The first of the CSI5* competitions kicked off this afternoon with a world class field taking to the picture perfect grass arena in Valkenswaard. With 7 of the world’s top 10 competing this weekend, including World Number 1 Christian Ahlmann (GER), it’s already turning into a fascinating event as thoughts already turn to Rio and the 2016 Olympic Games, 23 riders of which are here in at the Tops International Arena. 

The first CSI5* class of the weekend was a 1.45m speed class, set in the expansive grass arena and with the backdrop of the impressive stadium all eyes turned to watch those as the action unfolded for the first time this weekend. The class was won by Abdullah Al Sharbatly (KSA) and his experienced gelding Tobalio, who claimed the top spot during the Friday class. 

Abdullah set out to win the class from the offset, clearing the first part of the course perfectly before pushing his gelding Tobalio to a gallop for the final section against the clock. The experienced gelding delivery, showcasing agility and pace as he shaved off valuable seconds, stopping the clock in 25.95s overall. Hot on his heels but unable to beat their time was former World Number 1 McLain Ward with his bay 14 year old gelding HH Carlos Z; they too galloped throughout the latter part of the two phase competition but could only cross the line in 26.70s, earning them second place overall. Just a second behind was local rider Michel Hendrix (NED) with Eder van den Blauwaert, stopping  the clock in 27.97s. 

Other riders looking on strong form were Jerome Guery (BEL) and Alicante who were placed 4th, Laura Kraut (USA) with Confu in 5th, Jos Verlooy (BEL) with his stallion Caracas taking 6th and Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) with Embassy II rounding out the top seven. The class also saw top class pairings such as Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) and Casall ASK, John Whitaker (GBR) with Argento, Laura Renwick (GBR) and Bintang II, and Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) with Caretina de Joter and Bertram Allen (IRL) with Molly Malone V. 

The next class takes place at 16:30 local time and will be broadcast via GCT TV, tune in to watch the action then!