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KL Grand Prix Gets Under Way
by Peter Abisheganaden

The CSI***** KL Grand Prix show got under way this morning with warm-up rounds for the South East Asian riders at 11 am. The riders got to school over 6 fences including one double in the competition arena.
At 1 pm the fences were raised to 1.40 - 1.50 m and we got out first chances to see the international horses jumping in a training round.
As I write this from the press box at the arena, the international riders are schooling their horses over the course.
World No. 1, Markus Fuchs gives Granie a quiet school over the fences. They roll the top pole of no. 2, a big yellow oxer, but other than that the favourites for this Sunday's Rm. 2 million Grand Prix look very good.
Qabil Ambak has Camelias jumping well. They look very comfortable going around the course. Camelias may not have the elaborate hind-end flick that she showed a few years ago, but the power is still there and Camelias gives the fences a lot of air.
Saudi rider Kahled Al Eid schools Ninety-Nine over the course, then keeps going to do the double again. The horse looks strong and though not so experienced at Grand Prix level, has a good chance in the arena.
All riders have complimented Oliver Hoberg's footing. It is totally flat and on first look quite hard as it does not shift very much, but there is a lot of rebound and the horses are all jumping extra well off it.
I have my first look at Syed Omar's Maloubet. The big chestnut is a solid fellow. Maloubet moves well and you can see he has good flatwork invested in him. Omar jumps him around quietly and clear. He must be happy with this training round, especially considering the horse arrived on Saturday with a high temperature. Omar worked him yesterday, then check the vital signs at afterwards to make sure that he had really recovered before making the decision to continue with the show.
The British are in the ring. John Whitaker works Lord Z in the arena in draw reins but does not jump the course. Geoff Billington and Carlsson look very professional, jumping cleanly and well.
The large German contingent all work professionally, using the time in the arena to school over the fences and work properly between them. They are just as interested in how the horses travel between the fences as they are in how they jump them. Toni Hassmann has two horses, Der Lohmann and Meurer's Le Patron. Helena Weinberg's Silwa Little Gun looks the better horse than Afra B2. Former World Champion Franke Sloothaak may have slipped down the rankings to 66, but he still looks a class above on Sheila and Sundance K. Lars Neiberg has brought two relative unknowns Katie Riddle and Giorgio to KL but looks very good jumping.
Word Cup Champion Marcus Ehning gives Noble Savage H a longish warm-up before he starts over the fences. The horse looks incredibly well schooled and flows beautifully over the training course. All the same he jumps the Transtheme/Equestrian.Com.My created Hibiscus fence before going on to the double again.
Qabil comes into the ring again, this time with Opium Metado. They jump and they clear everything, just making an additional turn to the double and then going over a few fences after the last. Qabil will be pleased and it will be a tough choice to make between Camelias and Opium Metado. Nice choice to have.
Last rider to jump is Jean-Marc Nicholas and 3QE's Humphrey. Amazingly the horse never looks like stopping and looks world class again. Well done Jean-Marc!
The French are a surprisingly happy lot. Eduaord Couperie has been many times to Malaysia to coach Quzier and Qabil Ambak in the mid-90's. He tells me that his ride, Flash Varennes is a very good horse but a little inexperienced. While he may go clear in the big one, he thinks its a little too inexperienced to go really fast in a jump-off at this level.
Hubert Bourdy has brought a very good mare in Eve de Etisses. They must be one of the favourites, along with Markus Fuchs and Ludo Philippaerts for Sunday's Grand Prix.

Kuala Lumpur, October 2, 2003


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