Chilean rider Catalina Llorens prevented a clean sweep of the podiums by Emiratis during the Sheikha Fatma bint Mubarak bin Zayed Al Nahyan Festival at Emirates International Endurance Village last week as she cleverly exploited chinks to win the Ladies Endurance Cup even as the Private Owners Cup was clinched by the UAE’s Ahmed Saleh Al Shehhi.
Llorens took advantage of a slip up from Emirati rider Afnan Ibrahim Ahmed to narrowly clinch the 100km ride aboard Jumeirah Stables’ Attallah Jakeem in three hours 21 minutes and 32 seconds. The pair registered an average speed of 29.77kph. The Private Owners Cup, which was also contested over 100km, saw Ahmad Saleh Al Shehhi conquering his rivals in 3:24:40 at an average speed of 29.32kph on Catch Me Hipolyte owned by Al Kamda Endurance Stables.
The Ladies Cup saw Llorens starting the ride in 20th behind Mira Jasim Al Ansaari, who rode Al Bawadi Stables’ Chelsea De Luc. Al Ansaari held her own over the second loop too with Llorens climbing up eight places to reach 12th. Afnan Ibrahim took over the leadership of the race during the third loop with Llorens up to fourth.
The Chilean had :24 to make up and with plenty left in the tank, she was able to turn on the heat fully aboard the 13yo. And with Attallah Jakeem obliging, the pair easily climbed up the rung to the top and win ahead of Al Ansaari, who finished :19 behind with a time of 3:21:51.
Finishing third were Layla Abdul Aziz Al Redha and her Al Wathba Stables-owned partner EO Raghd, who clocked 3:22:05. The Private Owners Cup saw Al Shehhi make his bid from close to the summit. He started the race in second narrowly behind Ebrahim Ali Sabeel on the Ahmed Mohammed Al Suwaidi-owned Ras Seductor, and held the lead jointly at the end of the second stage alongside his Emirati compatriot.
Sabeel retook pole at the end of the third loop, but held a slender :6 lead after Al Shehhi tactically adjusted his speed. However, upping the pace over the final loop witnessed him overcoming that deficit and going on to win by :20, with Sabeel clocking 3:25:00. Finishing third with 3:26:39 on the clock was Abdulla Ali Al Jahoori on L C Amur owned by Mohammed Saeed Al Neyadi.