New Zealand Holds
Off Ireland To Win
In Abu Dhabi

17 February 2018

McIntosh seals win for superb New Zealand

New Zealand grabbed a last-minute victory in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 qualifier at Abu Dhabi in a jump off with Ireland, after both countries tied with only 12 cumulative faults following eight rounds of riding.


Samantha McIntosh turned in the winning ride aboard Check In 2 in 40.16 seconds, her third textbook clear ride of the day.


Shane Breen, representing Ireland in the jump off, needed to keep his faster mount Laith jumping clean, but as the fences came down, he finished with a time of 51.79 seconds and 17 faults.

Competition heats up ahead of Barcelona finals

It was a brilliant sunny day in Abu Dhabi as 32 riders representing eight different nations gathered to compete in the Middle East leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018. Syria, Saudi Arabia, and host country the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were vying for only two spots at the finals in Barcelona, Spain, later this year, heightening the excitement for the those teams and the fans who came out to cheer for them.


While the midday heat in the ring was fierce, the horses and riders only had to contend with it for the few minutes they were actually competing, as the practice arena and stabling at the luxurious Al Forsan International Sports Resort hosting the event is entirely air conditioned.


Both rounds of the competition took place on the same course, designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral of Portugal.


The allowed time of 75 seconds wasn’t a factor for most of the riders, but a sticky triple combination and 3.9-metre water feature caught more than a few jumpers and racked up the four-point faults.


After Round 1, in which the eight teams each sent forth four riders, the results were far from guaranteed. Only New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, and Italy carried four faults forward into Round 2.


The second round proved to be a test for many competitors, and though 11 jumpers managed clear rides in the previous round, only McIntosh of New Zealand and Ireland’s David Simpson on Keoki mustered a second clear.


Lucky for those two, the Abu Dhabi Middle East qualifying leg offered an individual prize of €50,000 to be shared by anyone who pulled double clears, so McIntosh was able to savour an extra sweet triumph.

“Only New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, and Italy carried four faults forward into Round 2”

Home crowd celebrates as UAE advances

Italy, in third place behind New Zealand and Ireland, had a great showing, putting pressure on the top two teams and accruing only 20 faults across eight rides, after the worst scores in each round were tossed. Close behind them were Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, all with 24 faults.


Egypt and Syria rounded ended the competition with 36 and 42 faults, respectively, allowing Saudi Arabia and the UAE to punch tickets to Barcelona.


Shk. Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qassimi’s final clear ride aboard Celtion in the last Round 2 group clinched a berth for the Emirates and had the crowd impressed with his ability to rally after a tough first round.


Stay tuned to FEI TV to see which other countries will advance to what is shaping up to be a thrilling season of jumping competition and who will take the ultimate prize in Spain this autumn.


Words by Patricia Salem

Images by Martin Dokupil/FEI