In what can only be described as one of the most unique venues in the world for an international horse show, the opening leg of the Global Champions Tour was a wonderful success. The arena, like last year’s inaugural event, was fitted out over an artificial lake next to the Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe which allows a fitting backdrop to the world’s greatest horses and riders.
K Club Lady jumped superbly and finished fourth in Friday's main event only one and a half seconds behind the winner, Canada's Eric Lamaze with his Olympic winner, Hickstead. In Saturday’s Global Grand Prix, my biggest test to date with K Club Lady she again acquitted herself extremely well and was unlucky when knocking the third last jump.
I then pushed on for a quick time and in the process got a little flat to the last jump and had it, to finish on eight faults. Remembering I only got her five weeks ago I'm delighted at the progress we've made and how quickly our partnership is coming together.
The Grand Prix was won by French rider Tiomothée Anciaume with the amazing stallion Lamm de Fetan. It was nice to see them land a big one as they have been knocking on the door for some time. I first saw the horse originally four years ago as a 7 year old in Arezzo, Italy. Even then he looked like a pure machine and its nice to have seen him come through from a novice to one of the top three horses in the world at present, in my opinion. I have already used some of his semen on my mares and am so excited to see the progeny.
The show organisers, Oxersport, put on a gala dinner on Saturday night. It was done with great style and pure elegance. They presented an award to Lamm de Fetan's owner Grégory Mars and also a lifetime achievement award to HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his contribution to horse sport.
On a big screen they showed the Godolphin operation in Dubai and had interviews with Sheikh Mohammed where he gave an in depth insight into his great love of horses and the passion for all equine sports. It was wonderful to see his son HH the Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum who was present on the night to accept the award on his father's behalf.
Overall no stone was left unturned in the running of this event and once again it’s plain to see the benefits that this concept of the Global Champions Tour, which was the brainchild of Jan Tops, injects to our sport.
I’ve just boarded a flight to Dublin, and with all the uncertainty regarding the ash cloud and flights being cancelled, I never thought I'd say it, but I was never so happy to see the front door of Ryanair's Boeing 737!!
Next week I take K Club Lady to Hamburg for the second leg of the Global Champions Tour.
Check back next week for more news.