CONSISTENCY IS key in endurance riding and Sofie van Aggelen produced a shining example of the same as she edged teammate Michaela Supekova in the last phase to claim top honours in the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Cup at the Emirates International Endurance Village at Al Wathba. In the process, the pair signed out with what was an exceptional 1-2 for Bin Ham Endurance Stables in the four phase CEN 100km ride on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. Riding 8yo gelding Fidelio von Sudbaden OX at an average speed of 27.23kph, Van Aggelen took victory with a time of 3 hours 40 minutes and 21 seconds, which was a second better than Supekova, who sat aboard Mytia Du Cavallon.
Khadija Ahmed of the Comoros Islands was over six minutes adrift in third place aboard Enjaz Private Stables’ Mistico X R having been clocked at 3:46.25. In conducive weather, the pace was always going to be quick and Argentine rider Catalina Bastons of Al Ghandi Private Stables took full advantage of the cold early morning conditions aboard Solyst Ibn Almarkab and seized the lead at the end of the first phase spanning 40kms. Riding at an average speed of 28.3kph, she went to the top of the leaderboard, with Cecilia Sebben of Uruguay on Al Ain Endurance Stables’ Poco Feo setting the next best time followed by Emirati rider Sara Mohammed Al Jaber who was third placed on the back of Al Jaber Stables’ Jon De Le Patrol. Van Aggelen placed 17th at the end of the first phase, with teammate Supekova further behind at 24th.
Bastons was eliminated over the course of the 25km second phase after her mount was deemed to have an irregular gait which opened the door for Sebben to take over top spot and make place for Maialen Calvo Ibanez of Spain to move into second on the back of SS Private Stables’ Lafi. UAE’s Layla Al Marzooqi filled in at third riding Ratonera LP for Al Kamda Endurance Stables, with Supekova outclimbing Van Aggelen in the rankings as the pair moved into seventh and tenth places respectively. Supekova moved to the top of the constantly evolving leaderboard during the course of the third phase over 19km as Sebben lowered her pace to keep her ride’s vitals within desired parameters. Not to be left behind, Van Aggelen moved into third behind Sebben, 1m24s behind the pace set by her teammate and 30s behind Sebben.
Both Supekova and Van Aggelen had stocked themselves well going into the last phase and turned the final 16km loop into a kind of sprint. And as Supekova increased her phase riding speed from 24.66kph to 32.04kph, Van Aggelen decided to be a tad quicker on Fidelio von Sudbaden OX going up to 33.58kph from a previous 24.44kph. It only just helped as the finish loomed with Dutchwoman Van Aggelen nicking victory by the smallest of margins. Third placed Khadija Mohammed also climbed up throughout the course of the ride moving up from 13th to sixth to fourth respectively after the first three phases. UAE rider Maitha Al Qubaisi secured fourth place on the back of Zabeel Stables’ Tujar with a time of 3:48.11, while Argentine Camila Rodriguez, also riding for Bin Ham Private Stables, was fifth on the back of Jameela Du Cavallon with a time of 3:48.32.