IN WHAT was an absolute show of dominance, a marauding Al Wathba Stables conquered all top three spots in the feature event of the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Festival that concluded at Emirates International Endurance Village on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi last week. Waad Nadim Bou Moghlbay led in a 1-2-3 for the stables owned by HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Lebanese lady rider completed the ride CEN 120km four phase ride aboard 7yo gelding Cashmir Essalem in a time of 4 hours 13 minutes and 31 seconds. The pairing had maintained an average riding speed of 28.4kph during the course of the event.
In second place, aboard Jig Malambo was Syria’s Massa Tonbakji, winner of the CEN 100km Ladies ride that was one of three events that were part of the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Festival. The Ladies ride was run on 9 January, and Tonbakji had won by a second from Khadija Ahmed Youssef, whom she again beat by a second, the latter taking third on the podium.
Tonbakji’s finish time in the feature ride was a second behind that of Moghlbay. She was clocked at 4:13:32, while Youssef took third place on the back of HH Luna in 4:13:33. All three riders rode across the finish virtually together. It was a keenly contested event from the start and a matter of seconds kept those at the top apart with Moghlbay a second behind Tonbakji, who owned the lead over the first two phases. Tonbakji clocked 1:22:33 after the first phase that spanned 40km with Moghlbay a second behind. She continued to lead at the end of the second phase over 35km with Youssef stepping into second and Moghlbay slipping to third.
Youssef was 15s behind the pace with Moghlbay a further four seconds in arrears. Allowed to increase her pace marginally, Moghlbay managed to move into the top spot with UAE’s Fatma Jassem Al Marri, riding Dubawi Stables’ Umour D Aurabelle, climbing up into second just six seconds behind. Tonbakji and Youssef occupied the next two spots on the leaderboard. The final loop was fought out over 20km and Moghlbay managed to hold on as her teammates Tonbakji and Youssef battled to occupy the second and third spots with Fatma slipping to a sixth place finish behind her Emirati compatriots Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri and Hamdan Ahmed Al Marri, who took fourth and fifth respectively. Both Abdulla and Hamdan rode for F3 Stables. Abdulla rode Volkane Feuillee to the finish in 4:21:43, while Hamdan was a further second behind on Fagor.
Emiratis were denied in the feature ride but a day earlier on 17 January local riders snatched four of the top five spots in the Private Owners’ ride. That CEN 100km affair was the second event run under the banner of the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Festival and was won by Mohammed Suhail Al Ketbi aboard Mas Endurance Stables’ Azzam. The pair completed the ride in 3:31:10 going about their business at an average speed of 28.4kph. In second place nearly two minutes behind was Yemeni rider Sultan Aref Mohsen, who rode Chupacabras owned by Mohammed Saeed Al Neyadi to the finish in 3:33:09. Third place on the podium was filled by Emirati rider Ahmad Saleh Al Shehhi, who completed the ride in 3:36:59 aboard Tonki Dee Boo Barista, owned by Al Kamda Endurance Stables. Issa Said Al Owaisi and Saeed Salem Al Muhairi were fourth and fifth respectively. Al Owaisi, riding the Saeed Jaber Al Harbi-owned Vagabon De Polski, finished with a time of 3:37:15, while Al Muhairi was home in 3:39:11 aboard SS Stables’ Al Tantawy.