ENDURANCE RIDING in the UAE was underway last weekend with a sensational victory by Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum in the Expo 2021 Endurance Cup’s Open event at Dubai International Endurance City. Riding Alhambra Miscreant, trained by Mohammed Al Subose for M7 Endurance Stables, Sheikh Rashid clinched success by a narrow three second margin.
Sheikh Rashid clocked a time of four hours 17 minutes and nine seconds over the course of the 120km ride that was broken down into four stages. Second and third places were snapped up by riders representing Green Endurance Stables and horses trained by Ismail Mohammed Al Jeziri.
Mansour Saeed Mohammed Al Faresi clocked the second best time of 4:17:12 on the back of Tatarinu, while a further seven seconds adrift was his teammate Saeed Sultan Al Maamri, who rode Magic Glenn Tamar. Sheikh Rashid started the day on his 10yo gelding in 14th place after the first stage over 40km, where Ahmad Saleh Mohammed Al Shehhi set the fastest time aboard his Al Bawadi Stables-owned horse Arizona De Sau.
Sheikh Rashid was a minute and nine seconds behind, but despite trailing he further reduced his riding speed over the second phase spanning 35km. That decision saw him drop two spots to 16th and he was now two minutes and 15 seconds behind Al Shehhi, who continued to dominate the leaderboard.
A further tweaking to the speed was introduced by Sheikh Rashid in the third phase over 25km in a bid to conserve energy for the final push in the last stage and that saw the M7 Endurance Stables’ rider make a positive impact on his rankings. He climbed up five spots and was now 11th behind new leader Saeed Khalifa Sulaiman, who rode Junior Polvorillo for Jumeirah Stables and had taken over from Al Shehhi.
With just 20km left to race, Sheikh Rashid pulled out all stops in his quest to land the top prize and got an optimal performance from Alhambra Miscreant, who was pushed at an average speed of 32.01kph, up from the 25.68kph he was asked to do over the penultimate stage.
Alhambra Miscreant had plenty in the tank and obliged willingly to ensure Sheikh Rashid got home with three seconds to spare from Al Faresi, who had, himself, done well to get to the runner-up spot after finding himself 36th at the end of the first phase.
Al Faresi would yank himself up to 20th and then ninth before taking second. His teammate Al Maamri too rode exceptionally well, going from 24th to 21st before a strong ride during the final stage saw him leap from 15th to third. Saif Ahmed Mohammed Al Mazrouei took fourth for MRM Stables aboard Magic Glenn Torque, also trained by Al Jeziri, with a time of 4:17:25, while fifth went to Ali Abdulrahman Al Zarooni who completed the ride aboard Al Bawadi Stables’ Zippidy Dodah Te in a time of 4:18:56.
Zabeel Stables landed the top prize in the Expo 2021 Endurance Cup Private Stables ride courtesy of Abdullah Ghanim Al Marri who edged Zabeel Stables 2’s Maitha Mohammed Al Qubaisi by fractions of a second after the pair clocked an identical time of 4:22:53.
Al Marri rode Bobang Al Andalus to victory over the 120km ride with Al Qubaisi going the distance on Tonki Dee Boo Basil. Both horses were trained by Rashid bin Shafya. Finishing third with a time of 4:27:42 was SS Stables’ Suhail Ali Rashid Al Ghailani on Jasas, the pair edging SS 2 Stables’ pair of Salem Hamad Saeed Al Kitbi and Gouda AR by fractions of a second after posting similar times. SM Private Stables’ Zayed Ahmad Khalifa Al Marri was fifth on Absolut Du Fonpeyrol with a time of 4:28:31.