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Said and his marvellous mare
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 15 - 11 - 2016

Against all odds, and a wild card entry, the Egyptian claimed the gold medal in the Longines FEI World Cup of Verona, an unprecedented first place in the World Cup for Egypt. It was the fourth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup-Series in the Western European League hosted in Verona.
According to the world of showjumping website, the event was a thriller, with a surprise winner. The competition was ridden over fences at 1.60cm height, and a course of 13 obstacles and 16 efforts in it with the time allowed being 78 seconds.
The Egyptian's victory was achieved with his feisty mare Hope van Scherpen Donder. Of the 37 riders, five out of the first 10 rode early clear rounds. This sparked some discussion among the riders. The beginning of the course caused problems among a few of them, as did the triple combination set as a fence number 10.
In the end there were 13 riders ready for the jump off. However, it turned out to be all about Abdel-Said and his nine-year-old mare. Said showed unbelievable fighting spirit, setting the time to beat at an incredible 37.96 seconds after a lightening fast jump-off. Those that followed all tried, but without succeeding. The riders who tried to catch the time set by the Egyptian rider saw poles falling in the attempt. It was Simon Delestre on Chesall Zimequest that came the closest as the last to go in the jump-off but the pair had to settle for second place with their time of 39.62 seconds.
“I am delighted with my horse and I am happy with the result. I would like to thank the FEI and John Roche for giving me the wild card and the opportunity to ride here today. I would also like to thank Uliano. I think he is my favourite course designer because this year he built two Grand Prix competitions that I rode and I won both,” Said told reporters in the post-event press conference.
The 27-year-old started his equestrian career at the Sporting Club of Alexandria, then left for Europe at the age of 11 and today runs a successful business in Belgium where he has been living and training but still playing for Egypt.
“I started from nothing and now we have a beautiful yard close to Antwerp. We are still growing slowly but surely,” the jubilant winner said.


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