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Al Mazrouei fights fiercely to ensure Marmoon Cup is Saif in his custody


It turned out to be a thrilling three way battle as a trio of riders from the Emirates fought each other tooth and nail before the final standings of the Al Marmoon Endurance Cup could be decided at Dubai International Endurance City. But at the end there was only one winner and neither of his countrymen could stop Saif Ahmed Al Mazrouei from clinching victory in the CEN 120km competition that had been broken down into four loops of 40, 35, 27 and 18kms. Riding 13yo chestnut gelding Nopoli Del Ma at an average speed of 27.02kph, Al Mazrouei, riding for MRM Stables, claimed a battling success ahead of Saeed Hamoud Al Khayari, who trailed the winner by nearly a minute at the finish.

While Al Mazrouei clocked 4 hours 26 minutes and 27 seconds over the 120km, M7 Stables Al Khayari took an additional 54 seconds to cover the distance aboard the 12yo Al Bazz, who was ridden at an average speed of 26.93kph. F3 Stables rider Ghanim Said Salim Al Owaisi went about his business aboard Tim Ami at an average speed of 26.86kph, which yielded a total ride time of 4:28.03 that was a minute and 36 seconds adrift of the winning time posted by Al Mazrouei. But it turned out to be a great day for local riders as Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri, also riding for F3 Stables, managed to sneak into fourth edging Moroccan lady rider Maha Khalid in the fourth and final loop.

Maha was the only non-Emirati inside the top-10. A mere 25% completed the ride which witnessed 129 start, with Al Mazrouei sitting at the summit of the 32 finishers. But the 18yo Emirati had to work hard for his victory after a slow start saw him post the 20th quickest time at the end of the 40km first loop, where Mohammed Abdulla Ali Saeed was the fastest time aboard Galileo. Al Mazrouei, though, moved up the rung consistently thereafter but after the second loop despite moving into 16th he found himself further away from new leader Salem Hamad Al Kitbi, trailing by 5:50 compared to 2:39 previously.

A faster ride compared to his rivals saw him move up 14 places behind Al Khayari in second. He lagged his compatriot by 2:21 going into the final loop, and so quickened his pace even further over the final 18km phase, wiping out the deficit and posting his own 55-second surplus which won him the top prize. Al Khayari may have been disappointed after showing consistency throughout to move from 7th to 3rd and then into the lead before surrendering the advantage in the final loop. On the other hand, third-placed Al Owaisi rode splendidly over the first two loops galloping gallantly from 30th to 10th and into the place he would occupy at the finish.

He failed to mount a successful charge towards the business end of the ride, and merely remained hot on the heels of his countrymen keeping his fingers crossed until the end. While fourth-placed Al Marri also rose throughout the ride as he finished with a total time of 4:31.16, Maha, riding for Al Ajial Stables, would have been disappointed to drop to fifth when she could have easily had one of the podium spots. The Moroccan registered a time of 4:32.00.

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07 Aug 2018
Issue Number: Issue 647
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