Rabat, Morocco – October 13, 2019 – It was “Super Sunday” at the Morocco Royal Tour CSIO 4*-W with fourteen teams from five continents competing in the FEI Nations Cup CSIO 4*-W. Besides being the main class of the second leg of the tour in Rabat, the competition also served as the Olympic Qualifier for six nations from the Middle East and Africa.
Nayel Nassar (EGY) & Lucifer V
As the day went on, you could feel the tension in the air before the 1.60m challenge began on the course designed by Alan Wade (IRL). The “Parade of Nations” served as the prelude to a memorable afternoon of top sport. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt all sent their very best riders and horses in hopes of earning one of the two spots available for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Canada was the first team to send in a combination, a task that was left up to Kyle Timm (CAN) and Vagabon des Forets (Corofino 2 x Richebourg). The Canadian rode one of the smoothest rounds of the day, serving as the benchmark for all those who wanted to duplicate the feat.
As the competition continued, the triple combination alongside the grandstand (obstacle 11) was a major concern for competitors either due to the challenge of trying to find the distance to it after the rollback, or that when element was cleared too deep, the landing would be further, increasing the risk of getting b down; with several combinations falling into that “trap”.
Brazil was the first team to register a double clear by its first two pairs, counting on brilliant performances by Bernardo Alves (BRA) and El Torreo de Muze (Taran de La Pomme x Vigo d’Arsouilles STX) and Felipe Amaral (BRA) aboard Quinn 33 (Quidam de Revel x Contender). Pedro Veniss (BRA) and For Felicila (For Pleasure x Felicila) put the team in the lead with the third clean performance for the team from South America.
Abdel Said (EGY) & Venise du Reverdy
Switzerland and Egypt were right on the heels of the Brazilian at the end of round one, with a combined score of one time-penalty each.
With the Egyptians in advantage, the battle for the other remaining olympic spot promised to be intense in the second round after Qatar and Morocco were almost neck-to-neck, respectively registering 10 and 13 penalty-points each in round 1.
Jordan was further back with 20 penalty-points while the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were tied with 21.
After leading the first half of the competition, the Brazilians fell out of contention, with Egypt and Switzerland going head-to-head for the win.
The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan were definitely out of the chase for the ticket to Tokyo.
The drama between the host nation and the Qataris intensified as the team from the Middle East maintained a three-point advantage after a exchange of similar scores from the two teams’ first three pairs in round 2.
It all came down to El Ghali Boukaa (MAR) and Ugolino du Clos (L’Arc de Triomphe x Roi des Elfes) and Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) and Gunder.
The Moroccan rider put pressure on the Qatari, and the crowd erupted as he crossed the finish line with only one time penalty.
Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) & Gunder
Bassem entered the ring with the weight of Qatar on his shoulders and on the legs of Qatar Equestrian Federation’s 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood (Thunder vd Zuuthoeve x Randal Z). They could go for the clear and even afford two time-penalties and still have their country’s passports stamped to Japan. Seemed not affected by the pressure, the Qatari guided the bay gelding beautifully through the course, securing the victory with a clear performance and only one time-penalty. The final score had been added and Qatar had maintained its three-point advantage by matching the performance of the last Moroccan duo.
The fate of two nations had already been decided, however, the winner of the contest was still to be determined. The Swiss and Egyptians battle it out right to the end, with both teams carrying only a score of 1 from the previous round.
Nayel Nassar (EGY) & Lucifer V
The Egyptians came out on top, counting on a double clear by Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Lucifer V (Lord Pezi x Grandeur).
Mohamed Taher Zeyada (EGY) & Vizalaty
Mohamed Taher Zeyada and Vizalaty (Newton de Kreisker x Mr. Blue) added two time-penalties to their score, followed by Abdel Said (EGY) and Venise du Reverdy’s (Quidam de Revel x Robin II Z) score of 1 in the second round.
Sameh El Dahan (EGY) & Suma’s Zorro
Sameh El Dahan (EGY) and Suma’s Zorro (Douglas x Horos XX) score of four was discarded, bringing their total to four penalty-points (1+3).
Switzerland finished second with a combined team score of five-penalty points while Brazil and Italy shared third place by tallying a combined score of fourteen in the end.
Podium: Nayel Nassar (EGY), Sameh El Dahan (EGY), Karim Elzoghby (EGY), Abdel Said (EGY) and Mohamed Taher Zeyada (EGY).
For full results, please click here.
Photos: © Agence R&B Presse / Jessica Rodrigues