FORTUNE FAVOURS the brave and Matar Hamad Al Kitbi unwavering consistency created his own luck which might have pushed his title rivals over the edge in the Dubai Crown Prince Private Stables ride at Dubai International Endurance City.
In the end, the Mas 7 Endurance Stables rider’s gradual but determined ascent to the top aboard Boxhill Cruza proved the undoing of his opponents in the four phase ride spanning 119km. Al Kitbi and his 10yo gelded partner registered an average speed of 28.75kph on their way to clocking the winning time of four hours eight minutes and 23 seconds (4:08.23), which was more than enough after Saeed Salem Al Muhairi, the leader going into the last loop, felt the heat of the onrushing Al Kitbi and succumbed with SS Stables partner Al Tantawy unable to complete the 20km final loop.
Al Muhairi and Al Tantawy gained the advantage after the first loop over 40km with Ahmed Sultan Al Shamsi, riding Panache Te for MAS Endurance Stables, in second. The pair traded the lead between themselves over next two loops, with Al Muhairi once again at the top of the leaderboard going into the last phase.
As the drama unfolded, Al Kitbi worked his way from tenth to seventh and to third over the first three loops. He was 2m51s behind the pace in third, with Zabeel Stables 2 rider Hamdan Ahmad Al Marri, a further 27s ahead on Chaman De La Folie.
Al Kitbi knew he had to go all out in his bid for glory and he did just that with Boxhill Cruza obliging every step of the way. The pair flew over the final phase at a speed of 31.99kph and though Al Marri also upped the pace, it wasn’t enough.
The pace might have added to the pressure on race leader Al Muhairi and his ride partner Al Tantawy, who ultimately failed to complete the ride handing a first ever career victory to both Al Kitbi and his mount Boxhill Cruza, who is trained by Abdullah Salim Al Kaabi. Meanwhile, the Al Yamamah Mares ride, which was also contested over 119km was won by Abdulla Ali Alamri with F3 Stables’ Castlebar Tazzani.
Registering an average speed of 27.36kph, the pair completed the ride in a time of 4:20.56, which was fractions of a second quicker than Al Reef Ajban Stables pair of Abdulla Mohammed Al Hammadi, who rode Stirlings Safari. Finishing third, a further 30s behind with a time of 4:21.56 were M7 Endurance Stables’ Saeed Hamoud Al Khayari and Lamar.
Alamri and his 13yo partner, trained by Khalifa Ghanim Al Marri, were 11th going into the final loop, but after raising their game and quickening over the last phase spanning 20km, they scrambled across the line just in time.