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Al Junaibi scores another massive hit at HH The President Of The UAE Cup

15/02/2018
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FEBRUARY JUST became sweeter for Rashed Hamoud Humaid Al Junaibi after the Al Wathba Stables’ rider landed his second major title in as many weeks when he rode 8 Minute to a brilliant success in the HH the President of the United Arab Emirates Endurance Cup at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Abu Dhabi. Last week’s success in the FEI CEI 3-star 160km endurance ride, one of the more prestigious and competitive events on the Emirates endurance calendar, followed up on Al Junaibi’s success in the CEI 2-star Emirates Championships a week earlier at the same venue.

The ride was held under the directives of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the direct supervision of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs. In Abu Dhabi last week, Al Junaibi won in front of both HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Dubai Crown Prince, and his Al Wathba Stables’ patron, HH Sheikh Mansoor.

“Congratulations to all the young riders, particularly Rashed really well to win this race for our stables. The organisers of the race have done a fine job in putting it all together,” Sheikh Mansoor was quoted as saying. Al Junaibi said he was optimistic about his chances aboard 8 Minute. “It was a tough ride with a lot of competitive riders participating in it, but I am happy to have won it. It makes it all the more special to have won in front of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum because they raised the morale of the riders through their presence,” he said.

Al Junaibi and 8 Minute were in fine form throughout, completing the gruelling 160km ride that had been divided into six loops in 6 hours 12 minutes and 30 seconds. The Al Wathba Stables’ pair finished a minute and six seconds clear of second placed F3 Stables’ pair of Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri and his mount Faraan, who were done with riding in 6:13:36. In third place and a further 23 seconds adrift were Layla Mohammed Obaid Al Marzooqi and AP Birmano, representing Al Wathba Stables. Al Junaibi started well and kept pace with the leaders right from the end of the first loop which spanned 40km.

He was placed ninth and trailed leader Humaid Matar Rashed Al Mazrooei by just 33 seconds and though he dropped a spot at the end of the 33km second loop, he did not lose much time and now found himself a minute and 30 seconds behind new leader Mohammed Hamad Suhail Al Ketbi. The lead continued to change hands and at the end of the third phase over 24km, Al Junaibi managed to reduce the deficit to 30 seconds from new leader and fellow Al Wathba Stables’ rider Abdul Rahman Saeed Al Ghailani. Riding for Al Reef Ajban Stables, Federica Rossi Marongiu, the lady rider from Argentina, challenged the domination of the Emirati riders inside the top five in the third phase as she moved up to third on the leaderboard. However, the 23km fourth phase saw her drop five places as Al Ghailani held on to the top, keeping himself ahead of the chasing pack, which had Al Marzooqi as its leader by a mere six seconds.

Al Junaibi was 16 seconds behind Al Ghailani at the end of the fourth phase, but increased his speed in the fifth to move to the top, with the man he took over from in second despite having the same ride time of 5:35:38. Al Ghailani was forced to reduce his riding speed aboard AP Lampalagua drastically from 24.66kph to 16.74kph in the final 20km loop and it resulted in him dropping down ten spots to a 12th place finish. On the other hand, Al Junaibi found 8 Minute’s reserve tank had plenty still left in it and asked his mount to quicken up. With the 12yo Purebred Arabian mare obeying instructions, Al Junaibi was able to fly over the last phase at a speed that was nearly 8kph quicker.

And he finished well clear of second placed Al Marri, who did well aboard Faraan to finish the race just a minute and six seconds adrift. Al Marzooqi was a minute and 29 seconds behind the overall pace aboard AP Birmano as Saeed Mohammed Khalifa Al Mehairi, riding MRM Stables’ Shaddad, and Munthar Ahmed Al Baloushi, aboard Nad Al Sheba 2 Stables’ Alhambra Latiffe, completed an Emirati top five. A total of 120 riders completed the race from a starting field of 270. Lara Sawaya, the executive director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, said: “The presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed, HH Sheikh Hamdan and HH Sheikh Mansoor gave the contestants a massive boost to do their best to win the title.”

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