RIDERS FROM F3 Stables did their patron HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum proud at last week’s Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Festival organised annually in his honour at Dubai International Endurance City. The week long festival comprised four top rides, three of which were won by riders associated with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s F3 Stables.
The feature event among the four rides was the 120km Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup which was won by Abdulla Ali Al Amri on the Ali Ghanim Al Marri-trained Amira. It was held on the final day of the festival on Saturday. The competition began Tuesday with the Dubai Crown Prince Ladies Ride which was won by Moroccan rider Maha Khalid for F3 Stables.
Khalid finished the 120k ride with a time of 4 hours 17 minutes and 46 seconds aboard Al Jeda Mehdi, trained by Al Marri. Saeed Ahmad Al Harbi was also among the winners for F3 Stables when clinching success in the 120km Al Yamamah Cup for Mares aboard Korona, another Al Marri trainee. The pair crossed the finish in 4:17:55.
Ahmad Saleh Al Shehhi was the only non F3 Stables winner during the course of the festival and put the name of Al Kamda Endurance Stables at the top of the podium in the Dubai Crown Prince Private Stables contest which was also run over 120km. Al Shehhi rode the Mansour Ibrahim Ahmed-schooled Dubai Deadline across the finish in a time of 4:19:17.
The four phase feature event, the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup, was fiercely contested from start to finish with winner Al Amri keeping fifth over the first three loops and then striking in the final phase with a massive increase in riding speed on the back of the 14yo mare Amira, who obliged during the course of the afternoon.
M7 Stables’ rider Ghaith Abdul Wahid Saqer and Tsika La Majorie led going into the final loop having secured top spot at the end of the second stage, but Amira clearly had plenty in the tank and turned in a spectacular performance to win by fractions of a second from Suhail Ali Al Ghailani who clocked an identical 4:04:54 aboard the M7 2 Endurance Stables-owned Pelann. F3-1 Stables’ Hamdan Ahmad Al Marri and Showan TE placed third a further :49 adrift with a time of 4:05:43.
Al Marri’s colleague Maha Khalid rode confidently to win the Ladies competition on Al Jeda Mehdi climbing up the rung steadily to deny F3 teammate Amy Louise McAuley aboard Aotrou El Quibi. Khalid and her partner clocked 4:17:46, to finish :28 ahead of Seeh Al Salam’s second placed pair Camille Coulomb and Dakam Des Sources, who were timed at 4:18:14.
Filling the final podium spot were M7 Endurance Stables’ Cecilia Garcia and Bambou De Perros with a time of 4:23:02. Ladies champion Khalid said: “It was a very difficult race and the horse proved himself as he negotiated the course with great efficiency and showed that his level was much higher than the rest of the field.
We followed a plan and it helped us finish the race without a struggle in the end. I would like to thank the team and everyone who contributed to this success.” The Private Stables ride saw Al Shehhi win with a time of 4:19:17, with Saeed Ahmad Al Harbi taking second on the back of Al Jawareh Stables’ Sunny Du Guide in 4:20:45.
Third home were Saeed Hamoud Al Khayari and RO Ulyses for SS 2 Stables with a time of 4:24:19. Representing F3 Stables in the Al Yamamah Endurance Cup for Mares, Al Harbi ensured he won on the back of Korona. Victory was achieved with one second keeping him ahead of McAuley who rode Tamia Du Durzon for F3-1 Stables.
The winning pair were timed at 4:17:55. Riding for Al Bawadi Stables, Ahmad Saleh Al Shehhi took third on the back of Arizona De Sau with a time of 4:18:23. Mohammed Issa Al Adhab, the director general of Dubai Equestrian Club, said: “There was great commitment from the stables, riders and everyone participating in the four rides of the festival.
“The organising committee did a good job with implementing all of the Covid related health and safety protocols prescribed by the government and this is a great honour to be able to successfully host a major event like this at a time when so many sports events around the world have been cancelled because of the pandemic.”
Dr Ghanem Al Hajri, secretarygeneral of the UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation, added: “Everyone was eagerly waiting for the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Festival and the participants and their teams showed great enthusiasm in trying to win and vie for the titles on offer. “This event has a special place in the hearts of everyone involved in the sport of endurance riding and that can been seen in the amount of interest generated in terms of participation numbers.
It’s an exceptional event and despite the circumstances surrounding everyone we were glad we were able to successfully and safely host the event. “We would like to congratulate all of the winners and all those that participated and fought earnestly and made the competition such a good one.”
Major General Dr Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, president of the UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation, said: “The Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Festival is one of the most important events held in the country as part of the annual endurance riding calendar and carries the name of a top class international rider in the form of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, who has enriched local races through his participation and presence. “His Highness also won the UAE world titles and flew the UAE flag high on international podiums. He is a role model and icon that has inspired many Emiratis.”