EMIRATI RIDERS Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri and Saeed Salem Atiq Al Muhairi finished among the winners at last weekend’s 120km Expo 2020 Endurance Cup races at Dubai International Endurance City. Al Marri partnered Shatane De Saliann to win the Open event for F3 Stables, while Al Muhairi rode the SS Stables-owned Al Tantawy to success in the Private Owners category. Both races were held over a 120km distance and broken down into four phases. Al Marri and his 14yo mare Shatane De Saliann went about their business at an average speed of 27.34kph to clock the best time of 4 hours 23 minutes and 22 seconds, which was a minute and 12s quicker than the 4:26:34 posted by MRM Stables’ rider Saif Ahmed Al Mazrouei aboard Magic Glenn Torque.
In third place, a further 18s behind, was M7 Endurance Stables’ Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum aboard Melfit, the pair clocking 4:26:52. Starting in the wee hours of the morning, Al Marri warmed up in the Open category event by posting the fifth best time behind leader and F3 Stables’ teammate Fatma Jassem, who led aboard Rubis Du Chatel with a time of 1:27:31 over the 40km loop. Al Marri was 18s behind and lowered his speed over the second loop spanning 35km, which saw him drop six places down the leaderboard to 11th. Egypt’s Noura Abdulla took over the summit at the end of the second loop with Al Maghaweer Stables’ Lormar Rumble as Fatma Jassem dropped to second 17s behind and Al Marri 1:40s in arrears.
The third phase normally is run at a slower pace to save that extra bit needed for the final phase that ends up being a relative sprint and Al Marri dropped his pace to 24.61kph. It was still quicker compared to the rest of his rivals and he managed to move up eight places into third, 1:15s behind new leader Sheikh Rashid, who was placed sixth after the first and second loops. Al Marri was within striking distance, but needed to fly over the course of the 18km final loop and with Shatane De Saliann obliging, the pair breezed past their rivals courtesy of a riding speed of 33.80kph to clock 4:23:22, which won them the honours. Finishing second were Al Mazrouei and Magic Glenn Torque, who did well to go from 15th to 16th and to eighth before his runner-up finish.
Sheikh Rashid dropped two spots to take third on the podium, 30s behind the winner. In the Private Stables’ ride, Al Muhairi rode cautiously and consistently to win after placing sixth at the end of the first three phases aboard Al Tantawy. The pair completed the 120km ride in a time of 4:31:17 to win by fractions of a second from SS Stables’ teammate Suhail Ali Rashed Al Ghailani, who was deemed to have completed the ride with the same time aboard Hannad. In third place, with a time of 4:32:27 was SM Stables’ pair of Salim Said Al Owais and Wizaard.