A show of teamwork saw MRM Stables’ rider Saif Ahmed Mohammed Al Mazrouei clinch a stunning success in the feature event of the HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Festival at Bouthib in Abu Dhabi last weekend. The CEI 3* 240km ride is one of the ultra marathon events within the distance riding sport of endurance and although the ride is spread out evenly over three days, it remains a stern test for rider and horse pairings. Al Mazrouei and his partner Siam Du Barthas passed out with flying colours on Saturday as their ride dominated the third and final day to win the prestigious trophy for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s endurance operation.
The pair passed through the final gates outright victors after three days and nine stages of intense riding, winning the event by clocking 12 hours 50 minutes and 18 seconds. Al Mazrouei and Siam Du Barthas were so much in control of the race that in the final loop, they managed to stretch their lead from second placed pair of Abdulla Mohammed Hasan Al Hammadi and LCE Corleone from :1:58s to :13:36s. Riding for Al Reef Ajban 2 Stables, Al Hammadi and his partner completed the ride in 13:03:54. In third place with a time of 13:19:38 was Al Reef Stables’ Mohammed Hamoud Al Ghailani aboard Manaleto, while fourth place was claimed by Yousif Mohammed Hasan Al Hammadi, who completed the ride on Al Reef Ajban 2 Stables’ Teaupaze in 13:33:56.
Indian rider Hanumana Punja Ram claimed fifth place aboard Wrsan Stables’ L4R Terminator with a time of 14:13:00. The event was held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and organised by the Emirates Heritage Club in association with the Emirates Equestrian Federation. It was attended by HH Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, HE Saeed Bu Lahej Al Rumaithi, executive director of Business & Activities of Emirates Heritage Club, and Dr Obaid Ali Rashid Al Mansouri, deputy director general of the Sultan bin Zayed Centre. Al Mazrouei started well and remained close to the summit starting in ninth position, just over :4:28s off the pace set by Abdulla Al Hammadi, who led during the first three loops of the first day.
Abdulla slipped into second on day two but remained just a minute adrift off the top spot now occupied by Al Reef Ajban 2 teammate Yousif Al Hammadi aboard Teaupaze. Yousif led over the fourth and fifth stages but Al Mazrouei continued his rise up the leaderboard. From ninth, he had managed to end the first day at fifth. On day two he dropped two places to seventh but then moved up steadily over the next three loops to close the day at second, a minute and 39s off the pace set by Nad Al Sheba 2 Stables’ rider Munthar Ahmed Al Baloushi aboard Steyl Orlando. Al Baloushi’s race ended early after he was eliminated during the first loop on the last day’s riding. It allowed Al Mazrouei to seize top spot for MRM Stables and he happily stayed there, stretching his lead all along until the finish.
Three other events were held as part of the festival: a CEN 100km event for Private Owners, a CEN 100km ride for Ladies and a CEI YJ 2* event for Juniors & Young Riders. The Junior & Young Riders event was won by the M7 Stables’ pairing of Saif Juma Mohammed Beljafla and Wirima El Azrak with a time of 6:13:13. F3 Stables’ Rashid Humaid Al Ghandi on Vagabon De Polski was second with a time of 6:17:22, while Mansoor Khamis Mohammed Al Shedi took third with Dubawi Stables’ Tamara Desert Moon with a time of 6:17:53. Irish rider Amy Louise McAuley of F3 Stables won the Ladies ride aboard Attallah Jakeem with a time of 4:54:45, with Al Aasfa 3 Endurance Stables’ Emirati rider Alia Abdulla Saeed bin Ghalaita taking second aboard Gazal XVIII 1 with a time of 4:55:44.
In third place on the M7 Endurance Stables-owned Power was Eulalia Gonzalez Guardia of Spain, the pair clocking 4:56:57. Ahmad Saleh Mohammed Al Shehhi of the UAE won the Private Owners’ ride for Al Kamda Endurance Stables aboard HM Love Ray with a time of 4:53:55, with Marijke Visser Valerie of the Netherlands clocking the second best time of 4:54:05 aboard Ajman Equestrian Club’s Marrakech Oriental. In third place was another Al Kamda Endurance Stables rider, Layla Mohammed Obaid Al Marzooqi who rode Jabulani Endurance across the finish with a time of 4:54:08.