With the biggest day of the season less than 24 hours away Christian Ahlmann gave himself one last confidence boost with a win in the €101,000 Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation Trophy 1.55m jump-off class. Saving Dominator 2000 Z for tomorrow's 2022 Longines Global Champions Tour Championship battle against Ben Maher and Pieter Devos, Ahlmann rode Sold Gold to glory in front of a roaring crowd.
This week's horsepower in Riyadh is on another level as the enthusiastic fans were treated to an impressive masterclass of top sport before HH Prince Abdullah Bin Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Saud President - Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation and Honorary President of Organising Committee LGCT Riyadh presented the awards.
Taking the win in a blistering time of 33.37 seconds was man of the moment and LGCT 2022 title contender, Christian Ahlmann aboard his impressive stallion, Solid Gold Z, who took an early lead in what was ultimately an unbeatable time.
Smiling to GCTV and talking to the grandstand spectators Christian Ahlmann explained: "This is a fantastic show, and thank you very much to everyone who come here to cheer for every single rider, it’s a lot of fun. Solid gave everything for me today. It was a big jump-off, and I was earl on which is not always easy. It was easy to make a decision – I had to ride as fast as possible, there was no tactic anymore."
Giving and exclusive insight into his mindset ahead of tomorrow's Championship Final Ahlmann then said: "Everything is possible, so we are here to do our best. The first day I was not really happy but today is really fantastic, and I hope to keep the shape for tomorrow. Dominator jumped only on the first day in the warm-up class – he should jump tomorrow, and I am really looking forward to the Grand Prix tomorrow."
Just 0.45 seconds behind Ahlmann, was Irishman Bertram Allan aboard Emppoli de Champloue with a time of 33.82 seconds, who was quickly followed by the crowd favourite, Max Kuhner aboard his Eic Cooly Jump the Q with an impressive time of 34.16seconds.
11 double clear rounds shone through, with breath-taking backdrop of cultural heritage sites, Turaif, Al Bujairi, and Boulevard City where the past and future of Saudi Arabia collide which are playing host to the final stage of the intense 2022 season, with tension that could be cut with a knife. Also proving his form ahead of tomorrow's big day Championship contender Pieter Devcos produced a smooth double clear with Claire Z to slide just inside the top 10.
Reigning world number one, Henrik von Eckermann aboard his Ilianna had an uncharacteristic rail down, ultimately finishing in 13th place. Also falling victim to the delicate course in round two, set by LGCT course designer Ulliano Vezzani, were Irishman Denis Lynch with Cristello, Maikel van der Vleuten aboard Kamara van't Heike.
Day two of what is unfolding into an nail-biting weekend of show jumping in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's culture-infused capital, set hearts racing from the fully packed luxury VIP Hospitality right through to the buzzing village.
In what only sets the highest of standards ahead of tomorrow's Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Riyadh, and the 2022 LGCT Series Final, spectators around the world are sure to be treated to a thrilling final show down in one of the most unique locations on the tour calendar.