AL WATHBA Stables made a good impression in their own backyard with Layla Abdul Aziz Al Redha leading home a 1-2 for the hosts in the CEN 160km HH The President of the United Arab Emirates Endurance Cup on Saturday. Riding 11yo gelding Jig Malambo, Al Redha completed the six phase ride in a time of 6 hours 3 minutes and 21 seconds, with her Al Wathba teammate Massa Adnan Tonbakji finishing runner-up, just one second behind, on the back of Abu Cko Persik. The pair, riding for the stables belonging to HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, denying F3 Stables, who have been in great form, victory in the process with Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri of F3 rounding off the podium spots aboard Volkane Feuillee with a time of 6:06:24.
Emirati lady rider Al Redha last won a minor event in the form of a CEI 1* 80km ride in February 2019, but she was sharp at Al Wathba on Saturday morning where a field of 319 rider horse pairs set out. At the end, 172 pairs were deemed to have completed the race after passing the veterinary examinations.
F3 Stables’ patron HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, who won last week’s CEI 2* 120km The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup at Al Ula in Saudi Arabia, caught the action live at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba. The CEN 160km HH The President of the United Arab Emirates Endurance Cup has been the domain of Emirati riders with Al Redha continuing the fine form of the host nation by winning the 21st edition like the 20 riders before her. She started strong with the sixth best time after the first loop over 40km where her Emirati compatriot Fatma Jassem Al Marri set the pace aboard F3 Stables’ Umour D’Aurabelle. Fatma kept the lead at the end of the 28km second loop also, with Al Redha rooted to sixth.
Both riders dropped a place during the course of the 28km third loop with Al Redha moving to seventh and Fatma making way for Al Aasfa Endurance Stables’ Saeed Ahmad Al Khattal to take over on the back of JZ Layla. Al Khattal held on over the 24km fourth phase that followed with Al Redha increasing her speed to move up to second on the leaderboard. The lead changed hands for a third time at the end of the fifth loop over 20km with Tonbakji taking over and Al Khattal dropping to eighth in his bid to ride within parameters that would ensure he and JZ Layla completed the ride. Going into the final 20km loop it was almost evident that either Tonbakji or Al Redha, who was a second in arrears, would win, with the latter’s ability to go slightly quicker in the end making all the difference.
Al Redha and Tonbakji ended up riding across the line together with Abdulla Al Marri 3m3s behind on the back of Volkane Feuillee taking third. He did well to finish on the podium after starting with eighth then dropping back to 22nd and moving up to 18th before a sharp rise saw him move to seventh and then to sixth going into the final phase. His F3 Stables teammate Catalina Bastons of Argentina aboard Clarita Su was fourth with a time of 6:07:02, while cantering in at fifth on the back of Mistico XR was Ebrahim Ali Sabeel. The pair representing Enjaz Private Stables completed the ride with a time of 6:08:32. The winners received their prizes from the hands of HE Major General Dr Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, president of the UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation, Musallam Al Ameri, director of Emirates International Endurance Village, Ahmed Al Suwaidi, executive director of the UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation, and Mohammed Al Hadrami, events director in the Emirates International Endurance Village. The winners of the first ten places were awarded cars with Dh100,000 awarded additionally to each of the riders successfully completing the race.