Arif beats Saudi trio for the spoils

The UAE rider beat a strong contingent for the big-money class on the first day of the Dubai Showjumping Championship atop Melodie de Lean.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Al Maktoum rides Dubai's Pride during the class two competition in the Dubai Show Jumping Championship.
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The UAE rider, Arif Ahmed, brought home the goods yesterday, claiming the big-money class on the first day of the Dubai Showjumping Championship. A strong Saudi Arabian contingent was not enough to topple Ahmed and his horse, Melodie de Lean, off the top spot, and the pair finished in the fastest time of 35.81 to claim Dh20,000 in prize money in the Dh80,000 Dubai Equestrian Club Two Phases. The first 20 places all registered clear rounds with the Saudi riders - Nasser Shebab al Bagemi on Early Days, Fahed al Jeiad with his horse Ttobah and Kamal Bahamdan on Pinochetta - taking up second, third and fourth positions. Jordanian, Hani Kamal Bisharat was fifth with It's Me T.

Competitors from ten countries converged at the Dubai Equestrian Centre near Bab al Shams yesterday for the first showjumping event of the year. The three-day long event, part of the Arab League, culminates on Saturday with a round of the Dubai Equestrian Club Grand Prix FEI World Cup Qualifier and offers a total prize money of Dh600,000. Edith Christmas, Emirates Equestrian Federation member and one of the show stewards, said that organisers were pleased with support for the event. "It has been really well supported," she said. "We had around 56 riders in the two main classes and have had very few cancellations so we are very pleased with how the first day has gone." The UAE showjumping Olympian, Sheikha Latifa bint Juma, is also competing at the event. The second day tomorrow will see a two-class schedule, the Dh50,000 AMS Speed Stakes at 10am, followed by the Dh 120,000 Dubai Cup at 2pm. Entry for spectators is free.