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World Championship titles for Al Muhairi and the Emirates

25/09/2017
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There was double joy for the UAE at the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Riders and Juniors at Valeggio sul Mincio in Verona, Italy, last weekend. After Saeed Salem Al Muhairi and Ghanim Said Salim Al Owaisi claimed the top two podium spots and Saeed Mohammed Khalifa Al Mehairi placed sixth, the team trophy was headed just one way. Spain’s Maite Pradera Ledo finished third overall to put Spain in position to claim the team silver. Apart from the UAE, the Spaniards were the only other team to have three riders finish among the top ten.

Al Muhairi was the most consistent rider among the 55 who finished from the total field of 93 that started. Riding Rabdan, the young Emirati went about his business at an average speed of 24.21kph to win with a total time of 4 hours 58 minutes and 41 seconds. Al Owaisi, who was second aboard Shadeedah, rode at an average speed of 23.84kph to clock 5:03:13, while Spain’s Pradera Ledo crossed the finish on Qualif Du Poncelet after 5:08:01. The ride had been broken down into four loops of 38, 33, 27 and 22km and Al Muhairi slipped just once along the way when he dropped to third at the end of the second loop after finding himself at the top at the end of the first phase.

He recovered immediately and wrestled the lead back and held on to it until the end. The 14yo student from Dubai credited M7 Endurance Team trainer Mohammed Subose for his perfect advice and his 8yo ride Rabdan whose performance, he said, was key to the pair’s success. Al Muhairi said: “The race was very tough and this event has never seen competition like this with the best young endurance riders from around the world riding the world’s best trained horses.

“The final loop of the race was the most difficult but the horse performed well as I rode as per the instructions given by trainer Mohammed Subose, who was spot on.” Al Owaisi, also riding for the M7 Endurance Team, moved forward consistently, from seventh after the opening loop to fourth over the next two loops before finally placing second. On the other hand, Ledo dropped down the table a spot to fifth at the end of the second loop and then to 11th at the end of the third before climbing all the way back up to claim the final podium spot. Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, CEO of Meydan Group, lauded the UAE team’s effort and said the foundations for international successes like these are laid back home in the Emirates, which has a demanding endurance season spanning six months.

“This is not an easy task and it takes a lot of hard work, starting with strong competition in the UAE and then the European season, especially the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival,” Al Tayer said. HE Saqr Al Raisi, the UAE ambassador to Italy, who was present at the event, added: “Our leadership has taught us to strive for the No. 1 position, so our youngsters are focused on doing just that. They are responsible and we are proud of them.”

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