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Al Hammadi and Hidalgo in absolute show of dominance in gruelling 240km ride at Bouthib

22/02/2018
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AT BOUTHIB last week all that could have gone right went right for the rider and horse pair of Abdulla Mohammed Hassan Al Hammadi and Hidalgo FS. It helped the pair produce one of the most dominating performances in endurance riding this season which saw them win the gruelling three day 240km CEI 3* Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Festival Cup in style at Emirates International Endurance Village in Abu Dhabi. The 240km contest had been divided into nine phases and spread out evenly over three days and Al Hammadi and Hidalgo FS were so much in control, that after moving to the summit at the end of the third phase on the first day, they stayed there throughout.

All efforts to dethrone them were thwarted and the Al Reef Stables’ pair extended their lead from time to time and finished the race with a total ride time of 12 hours 33 minutes and 5 seconds while riding at a speed of 19.3kph. Finishing seven minutes and 36 seconds behind in second place was Rashed Ahmed Al Bloushi aboard Shataans Illusion, belonging to Nad Al Sheba Stables 2. The pair took 12:40:41 to wrap up the distance. In third place was the UAE’s lady rider Fatma Jassem Saeed Al Marri, who was a further 13 minutes and 23 seconds adrift with a time of 12:54:04 aboard Dubawi Stables’ Neeran. Organisers had restricted riding to a maximum of a little over 80km per day and though Al Hammadi started well, he found himself in fourth after the first phase behind Emirati countrywoman Fatma, who led after the first two phases.

Fatma breezed through the first phase at an average speed of 23.78kph to top Al Hammadi who was 4:13s in arrears, but she was forced to reduce her speed by over 4kph to keep her horse’s parameters within limits. Al Hammadi too lowered Hidalgo FS’ running speed but the pair managed to pull up two spots and reduce the deficit to 1:30s after the second phase. Al Hammadi and his team were calculative and despite reducing the speed further managed to seize the initiative from Fatma. They led by just three seconds at the end of the day, but the foundation had been laid from which to build and they were able to turn things around over the course of the next two days and win comfortably in the end. While Fatma slipped over the next two days to place third, Al Bloushi fought from 13th to eighth and to fourth on the first day and remained rooted to fourth for most of the race before battling Fatma to place second.

Completing the top five were India’s Irfan Ali, who placed fourth aboard Al Nasr 2 Endurance Stables’ Flamenco Dei Laghi in 13:36:26, while Pakistan’s Khog Bacha Ali Muhammad was fifth aboard Al Reef Stables’ Manaleto with a time of 13:40:39. The quintet were among 15 riders that finished the race from a starting field of 35. A number of races across various trips were held on the sidelines of the main event and Mohammed Juma Ali Al Muhairi turned up victorious aboard Dubawi Stables’ Salim La Majorie in the Individual category, a CEI 2* 120km event that featured a starting field of 50. Riding at an average speed of 19.1kph, Al Muhairi finished the four phase ride in a total time of 6:21:03.

He was followed in 6:24:37 by Spanish lady rider Naroa Calvo Ibanez aboard M7 Endurance Stables’ Ainhoa Kesdor. Finishing third was Mohammed Saleh Al Attas riding Al Maghaweer Stables’ Que Marchador over the trip in 6:34:06. A total of 16 finished the Individual category. The CEN 100km Ladies ride was won by an Emirati as well with Buthaian Khalid Habib Al Redha winning the four-phase ride in a time of 5:07:27 aboard Al Shababi Endurance Stables’ Lormar Bismarck. It was one of the more exciting contests with Al Redha working hard to get herself into contention. After finishing with the 34th quickest time at the end of the first phase, Al Redha moved into 17th and then to seventh from where she launched herself to snatch the top spot off Argentina’s Martina Spelanzon, who proved a tad inconsistent aboard Al Aasfa 2 Endurance Stables’ Raheb and ultimately had to settle at fifth.

Al Redha was nearly two minutes behind Spelanzon going into the final loop, but she found a worthy ally in Lormar Bismarck and the pair did not mind the slender victory that came their way at the end. France’s Tiffany Nicolas who placed second was just ten seconds behind at 5:07:37 when riding Mon Precieux for Al Nasr 2 Endurance Stables. In third place was another Emirati rider, Nouf Saeed Mohammed Al Nuaimi, who completed the ride in 5:08:00 aboard Dubawi Stables’ Tamara Desert Moon. The CEN 100km ride for Private Owners was won by Facundo Leites of Uruguay, who rode out the distance in 5:06:19 aboard the Ali Nasser Al Yabhouni-owned Impostor Polvorillo.

It was the only category where the podium was devoid of an Emirati entity, with second place going to Marijke Visser Valerie of the Netherlands, who rode Castlebar Cayenne for Abdulla Salah Ameen. Valerie finished the ride with a time of 5:10:11, with Uruguay’s Ana Cecilia Garcia Perez a close third, just 18 seconds behind, aboard Awarran Park Bey Shadow owned by Faisal Saeed Al Dhaheri.

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