Champion horse rider Basel Al Dossari, riding astride his recently-acquired horse Almafie, is celebrating Grand Prix glory once again.
He took the category’s coveted trophy at the National Day Showjumping competition which took place in Al Raffah under the patronage of Shaikh Isa bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, president of Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef).
Almafie, sponsored by Talal Fawzi Kanoo and trained by Khalid Alkhatri, also took second place in the joker race, adding another notch to his rider’s belt.
“This is my fourth year in a row, winning this cup,” the 43-year-old rider said on his equestrian quadruple conquest. “The National Day Cup is quite close to my heart and every year I feel an extra bit of pressure to perform in this competition ... not just as a rider but especially as a Bahraini!
“I’m very happy with my performance. I will celebrate this victory now and begin immediately preparing for the next competition.”
Almafie, who gained his name from the Italian coastal town of Almafi, from where he migrated late this year, did not waste any time settling into his hooves, as he brought home silverware in his first competitive appearance in the kingdom.
Grand Prix is the highest level of show-jumping. Run under International Federation for Equestrian Sports rules, on this course the horse had to jump 12 obstacles with heights up to 1.4m over two rounds.
Al Dosseri triumphed in the event after clocking 58.97 seconds, leaving second place to Mayoof Al Rumaihi who finished in 66.29 seconds. Al Rumaihi made two attempts in this race on two different horses, and his second attempt saw him occupying third place, posting a time of 59.37 seconds, but with four faults.
Al Dossari credited his off-track team with the horse’s stunning clear rounds and fastest performance in the challenge.
“We only got him during the summer, but my sponsor has been excellent with getting him trained and putting him through the summer camp, which is what really made a difference in the competition,” the rider added.
Al Dossari enjoys this competition in particular because it is a stern test of both horse and rider. It was the main event of the championship and the second round of the showjumping season.
As elegant and as simple as it looks, show-jumping requires extreme amounts of athleticism and precision. The winner is the horse and rider combination that incurs the least number of penalties, completes the course in the fastest time or gains the highest number of points.
Al Dossari, of the Bahrain Defence Force, had a schoolboy passion for horses and jumped into the sport at the age of 13. Since then he has competed locally and regionally as well as taking part in shows in Germany, France, UK, Holland and Spain, as well as the World Cup Military Tour in Brazil.
Meanwhile, the championship showcased various competitions, and Nada Taleb topped the podium in the third competition which was for open for amateurs.
The event included 110cm obstacles and the eventual winner crossed the finish line in 35.51 seconds, outclassing 29 competitors. Jassim Mohammed came second in 35.86 seconds and Mohammed Ali Radhi finished third in 41.19 seconds.
Al Rumaihi continued his impressive form and this time he secured a well-earned victory in the fourth event which was a time trial, featuring 120cm obstacles. He posted a time of 52.53 seconds, followed by Fahad Jamal (55.95s) and Ahmed Al Alawi (60.10s) in second and third respectively.
Also, veteran Sami Ghazwan claimed first place in the joker race which included 130 obstacles. Al Dosseri came second and Haitham Al Bastaki was third. All the top three places collected 44 points, but Ghazwan bettered their records after clocking 45.98 seconds.