M7 ENDURANCE STABLES’ rider Ghaith Abdul Wahid Saqer would have enjoyed demolishing the field in front of his outfit’s patron, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as he romped to victory in the feature event of the Dubai Crown Prince Championships at Dubai International Endurance City on Saturday. The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai drove alongside the riders during the 119km Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup and greeted the winner at the end of the ride along with HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, who the ride is named after.
Ghaith was superb throughout the ride as he almost led from start to finish on the back of Tsika La Majorie, a 13yo gelding trained by Mohammed Ahmed Al Subose. Ghaith and Tsika La Majorie recorded an average ride speed of 29.57kph over the course of the four loops and were clocked at 4 hours 1 minute and 25 seconds. Riding in second was Sheikh Hamdanowned F3 Stables’ rider Hamdan Ahmad Al Marri who was clocked at 4:02:15 on the back of Castlebar Topgear, with his teammate Issa Said Salim Al Owaisi taking third on A’Bandom’s Rockabilly with 4:05:54 on the clock, the same time as fourth placed Rashid Humaid Al Ghandi, who also represented F3 Stables and rode Beachcomber Spiderman.
The Top Five was completed by M7 Endurance Stables’ rider Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum on Pelann, the pair stopping the clock at 4:12:41. Ghaith was on top of his game and Tsika La Majorie would have been a dream to ride as he took his partner to the top at the end of the first loop spanning 40km going through the course at a rather quick 30.16kph. The pair were comfortably placed ahead of F3 Stables’ Al Owaisi and A’Bandom’s Rockabilly as they led by 1:4s, with another pairing representing the same outfit in Al Ghandi and Beachcomber Spiderman back in third, a further 37s behind. Ghaith reduced his speed over the course of the second loop over 35km, but kept the lead, with Hamdan Al Marri and Castlebar Topgear moving into second from fourth. Al Owaisi slipped to fifth, with M7 Endurance Stables’ Salem Malhoof Al Kitbi on Muntasir now moving into third.
A further drop in speed over the 26km third loop saw Ghaith drop to second behind Hamdan Al Marri, with Al Kitbi holding on to third. Ghaith had a 23s deficit to the top, but he more than made up over the course of the 18km final loop as he breezed across the circuit at a speedy 35.94kph to win by over a minute from Hamdan Al Marri, with Al Kitbi’s failure to complete the last loop ruling him out of the race. Al Owaisi was only happy as he nailed the final spot on the podium for his F3 Stables boss. The week long festival opened last week with the 119km Dubai Crown Prince Ride for Ladies on 2 March, which was won by Poland’s Kamila Kart on MRM Stables’ Razorback Mechano, with Emiratis Aya Abdul Redha on Cha Al Pacino and Mariam Adnan Al Rais on Starlite following in at second and third for F3 Stables and M7 Endurance Stables respectively.
The second event of the festival was the 119km Dubai Crown Prince Ride for Private Stables and Individuals, which was won by Ahmad Saleh Al Shehhi on Al Kamda Endurance Stables’ Jabulani Endurance. In second was Al Ghandi, who rode Zabeel Stables’ Brug De Menezkamp, with Layla Al Marzooqi securing third for Al Kamda Endurance Stables on Tonki Dee Boo Barista. The 119 km Yamamah Endurance Cup for Mares, named after the mare employed by Sheikh Hamdan during his famous ride to gold at the 2014 World Equestrian Games (Endurance) in France, was won by Abdullah Al Amri for F3 Stables. Riding Mazyoona, Al Amri finished ahead of teammate Amy Louise McAuley on Tamia Du Durzon, with M7 Endurance Stables’ Saeed Ahmad Al Shamsi taking third on Vaale Du Poncelet.
Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, general manager of DEC, said: “The Crown Prince Endurance Festival is a prominent competition on the Dubai Equestrian Club programme and one that we host with great pride. Each year we witness a growing number of international and local athletes making their mark during this competition. And while victory in this event carries great prestige, even competing and completing this ride allows athletes to surpass their own previous performances. These small victories are equally important to us as we build and help develop the sport of endurance riding in the region. “The United Arab Emirates has a rich equestrian heritage, and the flag is kept flying high through the vision of our leaders HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Horse welfare is at the heart of our operations and we have a highly qualified team of veterinary experts and medical facilities, in keeping with international standards, to carry out the stipulated tests during the course of each ride. We would like to thank our sponsors Emirates Airline for their enduring support and sponsorship of the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup.” Adil Al Ghaith, senior vice president commercial operations, Gulf, Middle East and Central Asia of Emirates, who sponsored the event, said: “Emirates has a strong affiliation with horse racing and equestrian sports around the globe and we are honoured to continue our support for the HH Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup. This race is a true testament of both the horse’s endurance and rider’s skills and Emirates is delighted to sponsor this excellent event and we are confident that this year’s race will be incredibly successful.”