The Rolex One to Watch for April 2012 is awarded to Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT). Currently based in Qatar, Al Thani trains with Jan Tops during the summer months at the Dutchman’s stable – Stal Tops – in Valkenswaard (NED). The 29-year-old jumped from 348th to 197th during March – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 151 places.
Showcasing the recent rise in quality of The Gulf Cooperation Council region’s Jumping riders, Al Thani has produced numerous outstanding performances on all nine horses that he competes with. Al Thani has taken part in some of the world’s most prestigious Jumping competitions, including the FEI World Cup™ Jumping – Arab League, the Global Champions Tour, and the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky (USA).
Qatar is one of the fastest growing Arab nations in the sport of Jumping, which their national team demonstrated at the end of 2011 by finishing third at the Pan Arab Games in Doha (QAT). Al Thani showed his worth at the Games by claiming an impressive individual second-place finish riding Sieshof’s Abraksas. The Pan Arab Games came soon after the CSI3*-W Riyadh (KSA), where Al Thani secured a second-place finish with 11-year-old gelding, Cascano, in December 2011.
March 2012 was encouragingly eventful for the young Qatari rider, who rocketed up the Rolex Rankings after securing a fourth-place finish at the CSI3* Dortmund (GER), riding 14-year-old gelding, L.B. Casanova, and a third place at the CSI4* Braunschweig (GER), with 12-year-old gelding, Cantaro 32.
The Rolex One to Watch is an initiative which identifies the rider who has made the biggest jump within or into the Top 250 of the Rolex Rankings the previous month.