EMIRATI RIDER Layla Abdul Aziz Al Redha and Syria’s Massa Adnan Tonbakji took vastly different routes on the way to success in two different events at Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba last week. And while Al Redha fought hard to make gradual progress en route to her success in the Sheikha Fatma bint Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Ladies Cup, Tonbakji took pole from start to finish in the Sheikh Mohammed bin Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Ride for Private Owners. That is not to say that Tonbakji had it easy. She just made things fall into place in a year the stars have truly aligned for her. Al Redha has had an equally successful run of late, and went into the ride on the back of her victory in the CEN 160km HH The President of the UAE Endurance Cup on 8 February.
Riding EO Raghd for Al Wathba Stables, Al Redha completed the CEN 100km ride in a time of 3 hours 23 minutes and 41 seconds, while Tonbakji claimed victory on the back of Enjaz Private Stables’ Djin Des Vabres, the pair clocking a flat 3:26:00 in the four loop ride that was held over a similar distance. Finishing behind Al Redha in the Ladies race was her Emirati compatriot Afnan Ibrahim Moosa, who rode Baraka Elegido for Al Maghaweer Stables in a time of 3:24:11, while Lebanon’s Waad Nadim Bou Moghlbay took third on the back of Al Wathba Stables’ Moai 0618 with a time of 3:27:30. Al Redha was placed seventh at the end of the first phase led by Italian Veronica Simula who rode Al Jazeera Stables’ Pomerin.
She moved to fifth at the end of the second phase as the lead changed hands with the UAE’s Sharina Ahmed Al Falasi and Fatma Jassem Al Marri now in joint custody of the summit. Al Redha was comfortably placed and at the end of the third phase she had climbed up to second behind Al Marri, who had held on by herself as Al Falasi dropped to third. Al Redha was well within striking distance going into the final phase and increasing her pace sharply helped tremendously as she stormed to the finish 30s ahead of countrywoman Afnan Ibrahim Moosa, who worked her way into the runner-up spot going from ninth after the first loop to fourth at the end of the second and third loops. Lebanese rider Moghlbay did well to finish third after starting at 23rd.
In the Private Stables ride, Tonbakji proved peerless as she dominated from start to finish, but it wasn’t as easy as it may have seemed with Enjaz Stables’ Rashed Hamoud Al Junaibi finishing fractions of a second behind in second on the back of Ras Seductor. Al Junaibi was clocked at 3:26:01 with his Emirati compatriot Khalaf Ahmed Saeed Al Ghaith, riding Zabeel Stables’ Vagabon De Polski, taking third with a time of 3:27:26.