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Al Khayari comes up trumps in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed, Al Marri wins Yamamah ride

22/03/2018
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BACKED BY a strong team whose patron rode along in support, Saeed Hamoud Saeed Al Khayari found the going that much easier as he claimed a comfortable success in the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Ride last week. Riding for the His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum-owned M7 Endurance Stables, with the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, driving along in support, Al Khayari dominated proceedings halfway onwards to win aboard 7yo chestnut gelding Dahi with a time of 4 hours 20 minutes and 28 seconds.

Seeh Al Salam Stables’ pair of Ahmed Ali Saif Al Nassiri aboard Vista Du Barthas placed second with a time of 4:23.20, while third place was taken up F3 Stables rider Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri, who had won the Al Yamamah Endurance Cup for Mares, which was also part of the Dubai Crown Prince Festival, a few days earlier at the same venue. Al Marri is one of the top riders on the national endurance circuit, but on Saturday, despite a strong push he and his mount Inshalla Slagger were third after completing the ride in 4:23.20. The feature ride of the Dubai Crown Prince Festival was CEI 2-star certified and had been divided into four phases: 40, 35, 27 and 18kms, totalling 120km.

Al Khayari made his intentions clear from the start and finished the first 40km phase with the 15th best overall time. The deficit in terms of time was a mere minute and 18 seconds from his Emirati countryman Khalid Mohammed Al Mazam, who was eliminated in the second loop because of the irregular gait of his horse Dahour. The lead changed hands as a result, but Al Khayari had already done well to move up into second. He was now just 8secs behind new leader and M7 teammate Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, aboard Sarouq. Sheikh Rashid was eliminated at the end of the third phase after his ride too was deemed as one with an irregular gait.

That development handed the lead to Al Khayari, who was riding decisively and then increased his average riding speed marginally to claim a comfortable victory as he finished 2 min 14 secs clear of second placed Seeh Al Salam Stables rider Al Nassiri, who moved up from 11th to fifth over the first two phases. Third-placed Al Marri was a further 39secs behind, with another pair of Emirati riders behind him rounding up a top five finish in a race which saw 415 riders start. In fourth and fifth were Salem Hamad Saeed Al Kitbi and Salim Said Al Owais, riding for M7 and F3 Stables respectively.

Al Marri may have been denied success in the feature ride of the festival, but would have looked back at the series fondly having triumphed in the Al Yamamah Endurance Cup for Mares last Wednesday. Riding Jubane Tiger Lily for F3 Stables, Al Marri completed the CEN 120km ride in a time of 4:29.43, to finish 16secs ahead of his teammate Mohammed Matar Rashed Al Mazrooei, who rode Samsara TE home in a time of 4:29.59. In third place with a time of 4:33.31 were MRM Stables pair of Saif Ahmed Mohammed Al Mazrouei aboard Orange Glove. Al Marri had to work hard for victory which was secured only in the fourth and final loop over 18kms.

He had placed 19th at the end of the first loop over 40kms and was 2min 10secs behind leader Mohammed Juma Ali Al Muhairi aboard Hyforce Le Flare. However, he climbed up consistently and moved into 13th at the end of the second loop spanning 35kms. He managed to reduce the deficit by 3secs, but still had a lot to do with Rashed Hamoud Al Junaibi looking strong aboard Eo Raghd. Al Junaibi led after the 27km third phase as well, but his lead been cut short, with second placed Sheikh Rashid only just behind. Al Marri was fourth going and trailed the leader by 35secs into the final phase.

But he knew he had only 18kms in which to make an impact and he really turned on the heat and increased the speed aboard Jubane Tiger Lily, who was now asked to run nearly 15kph faster. With the horse responding, Al Marri managed to comfortably erase the deficit and set a lead of his own, eventually winning by 16secs from teammate Mohammed Matar, who was seventh going into the final loop. MRM Stables’ Al Mazrouei did really well to get into the three after finding himself 31st after the first phase. He moved to 18th and then 11th before finishing third. Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi, riding Jumeirah Stables’ Sioudad El Maklouf, was fourth with a time of 4:35.35, while second and third phase leader Al Junaibi eventually placed fifth with a time of 4:39.39.

Mohammed Issa Al Adab, Director General of the Dubai Equestrian Club, said: “The rides were very, very competitive and full credit to the Emirati riders for performing so well in the midst of such tremendous competition from international riders. “The festival owes a lot to the support of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. Their influence has caused the sport of endurance riding to grow tremendously over the years and looking at the interest we get from riders around the world wanting to compete, we know that the UAE is definitely one of the top destinations for the sport around the world.”

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