EMIRATI RIDER Saeed Ahmad Al Shamsi is starting to carve a name for himself on the UAE endurance circuit after picking up a second major title in the UAE when winning the 119km Hatta Endurance Cup at Dubai International Endurance City last Thursday. Al Shamsi put his name out when riding to glory in the CEI YJ120 *2km Kings Forest Ride in England in July 2017.
And although it took him a little over four years to win his first major title thereafter in the form of the Jumeirah Endurance Cup in December, that 2021 triumph really seems to have kicked the door down for him. Representing SS Stables and riding Poli, trained by Sultan Ali Al Subousi, Al Shamsi made a massive impact in a race that saw the top five rider/horse pairs within 28 seconds of each other.
The winners went about their business at an average speed of 26.64kph to win with a time of four hours and 28 minutes (4:28:00), which was three seconds less than the 4:28:03 taken by Al Jawareh Stables’ Rashed Mohammed Al Mehairi on Sandine Wicked.
While third placed Suhail Ali Al Ghailani and his ride partner Lafi, also owned and trained by SS Stables and Al Subousi respectively, finished with a time of 4:28:15, fourth and fifth placed pairs of Buthaina Khalid Al Redha on Julian Te and Salem Hamad Al Kitbi on Absolut Du Fonpeyrol were home in an identical 4:28:26.
The Hatta Endurance Cup turned out to be one of the most fiercely contested events of the calendar so far with riders and their teams jostling for the top positions until the very end. Al Shamsi started the day in fourth behind Al Kamda Endurance Stables’ Daiana Chopita, who rode SM FA Juanita.
The Argentine female rider set the pace over the first loop spanning 40km with Al Shamsi trailing by :32. Al Shamsi’s SS Stables teammate Saeed Al Khayari was :23 behind in second, but comfortably took over during the course of the second loop over 32km on RO Ulyses.
Al Shamsi dropped three places to seventh during the second loop, and after Al Khayari held fort over the third loop encompassing 27km and turned out to be the one to beat going into the final phase over 20km, the former was right in the mix. He had climbed back up the rung and would make his bid for glory from fifth.
Upping the ante over the final stage, Al Shamsi and Poli didn’t waste any time and turned the heat on the leaders as they increased their pace from 23.1kph to 28.4kph. Al Khayari on the other hand, to keep himself and his partner from being eliminated, was cautious and rode slower, which opened the door for his teammate to take over and win by three seconds from Al Mehairi.