EMIRATI RIDERS gave another solid account of themselves and further underlined their status as one of the top endurance riding nations. The Emiratis plundered at will, winning all three rides in the open category at the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival which was held as part of the Toscana Endurance Lifestyle in late July. And that performance under the Tuscan sun at the Ippodromo San Rossore in Italy will have made them one of the red hot contingents heading into the endurance event at next month’s FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina. Saeed Hamoud Al Khayari, Suhail Ali Rashed Al Ghailani and Ali Abdulrahman Al Zarooni all turned up winners for the UAE, which also came close to dominating the podiums in each of the rides. Al Khayari and Al Ghailani headed all Emirati podiums in the CEI 2* 120km and CEI 2* Young & Junior 120km events, while Al Zarooni claimed top place in the CEI 1* 81km event. Riding M7 Stables’ Sahess Lotois at an average speed of 26.74kph, Al Khayari won his event, which had been divided into four phases, with a time of 4 hours 29 minutes and 14 seconds. Al Khayari paced his ride cleverly and at the end turned up a good 21:53s ahead of second placed countryman Salim Said Al Owais, who rode home F3 Stables’ Castlebar Tazzani in a time of 4:51:07. In third place a further second adrift in 4:51:08 was Salem Hamad Al Kitbi aboard Aradenar. Al Khayari started well but had to be content with the 11th best time at the end of the first phase, but he worked his way up to third over the next loop and then moved up one place into second. Going into the final loop, Al Khayari was 00:23s adrift of leader Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri, who seemed comfortable aboard Quran El Ulm, but was eliminated due to metabolic reasons.
Al Marri would have been utterly disappointed at having to cede defeat and would have rued his tactics after completing the four phases in 4:27:52. The CEI 2* Young & Junior Ride saw Al Ghailani work his way up from fourth at the end of the first phase. He was second at the halfway stage of the race and seized the lead at the end of the third, holding on comfortably over the final loop to finish a second clear of his Emirati compatriot and fellow M7 Stable rider Saeed Salem Al Muhairi. Riding AS Arapey, Al Ghailani won with a time of 5:00:50, while Al Muhairi clocked 5:00:51. Shaheen Yayhya Al Mazrouei of F3 Stables was third aboard Ulmeau Du Vrihou, the pair stopping the clock at 5:04:13. Spain’s Javier Gragera Rodriguez prevented a third all Emirati podium when he placed third in the CEI 1* 81km event that was won by Al Bararri Stables’ rider Al Zarooni in a time of 3:35:47. Riding Belluno De Sommant, Al Zarooni placed nearly 5:00s ahead of countryman Mohammed Ahmed Al Abbar, who was home in 3:40:23 aboard Gelny. Rodrigues, meanwhile, was a distant third as he completed the three phase event in a time of 4:09:36 aboard Faoudiola De Bozouls. The 120km Young & Junior ride restricted to European riders was won by Spain’s Raquel Costa Codina in a time of 5:17:27 aboard Tunez Cost. The event was keenly contested with Codina clocking a mere 00:03s less than Slovakia’s Michaela Supekova, who rode Girola De Quercus. Finishing third a further 00:03s adrift aboard Scherazade Larzac was Lilou Tomas Arnaud of France.