LAST WEEK’s Endurance rides in the UAE proved one thig: The future of the UAE in the sport is in solid hands. A day after FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Horses winner Fares Ahmed Al Mansoori’s triumph in the 120km Commemoration Day Cup at Dubai International Endurance City, Khalfan Juma Beljafla , who finished second in that international affair in The Netherlands in September, staked claim to the CEN 120km National Day Cup at Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.
A mere 61 from 201 starters were deemed to have finished the ride, with Beljafla riding in a comfortable winner on the back of the MRM Stables-owned Avenir La Majorie. The pair completed the four stage ride with a time of four hours seven minutes and 52 seconds, having registered an average speed of 29.05kph overall. In winning, Beljafla claimed his first success on Emirates soil this year, with his two previous wins being achieved overseas during the off season. Those wins at Padise in Estonia and Sardinia, Italy, helped fine tune skills needed to clinch what is easily one of his career’s biggest wins. Beljafla and his 11yo gelded partner started their day in 13th behind Abdulla Ali Khalfan, who rode Al Wathba Stables-owned HH Buraq. The pair then worked their way up to fourth as the lead changed hands and Rashid Hamoud Al Junaibi took over for Al Reef Ash aboard El Thaur Of Gredos. Al Junaibi retired at the end of the third loop leaving Beljafla to take over the leaderboard going into the final stage of the race. Layla Al Redha trailed Beljafla in second by 48s, but being unable to keep pace and having been forced to reduce her riding speed she was forced out of the runner-up spot by Al Reef Al Ain Stables’ rider and horse pairing of Humaid Khalil Al Hosani and SC Copernico, who had started the day in 11th and moved to third before contesting the final phase from fourth. Al Hosani and his partner did well to turn up the heat, but it wasn’t enough to stop Beljafla prevailing by 1m55s after they clocked 4:09:47. Finishing third were F3 Stables’ pair of Abdulla Ali Alamri and Vagabon De Polski, who were timed at 4:12:33. Al Maghaweer 2’s Eissa Radhawan Al Ghailani and his mount Cochise Arwest started their day in second but an early drop to sixth ruined their chances of finishing on the podium. They registered a time of 4:13:54, which was 46s quicker than the fifth finisher, Syrian female rider Masa Adnan Tonbakji, who rode Akasha Flowing Free for the home team, Al Wathba Stables.
National Day Cup (Top 5)
Pos Rider Horse Stable Time
1. Khalfan Juma Beljafla Avenir La Majorie MRM 4:07.52
2. Humaid Khalil Al Hosani SC Copernico Al Reef Al Ain 4:09.47
3. Abdulla Ali Alamri Vagabon De Polski F3 4:12.33
4. Eissa Radhawan Al Ghailani Cochise Arwest Al Maghaweer 2 4:13.54
5. Masa Adnan Tonbakji Akasha Flowing Free Al Wathba 1 4;14.40