ZABEEL STABLES were cast into the spotlight after Jessica Mostert and her 11yo ride Toufka La Majorie turned in dominant performances to secure the CEN 119km Commemoration Day Endurance Ride for Private Stables at Dubai International Endurance City. Riding with authority, the pair completed the four phase ride in a time of 4 hours 24 minutes and 14 seconds to claim a much deserved victory. The pair were so much in control of the race that second-placed Abdulla Mohammed Hasan Al Hammadi, who rode Cardenal R for Al Sarab Endurance Stables, was 11 minutes and 6 secs adrift with a time of 4:25.20 Mostert’s Zabeel Stables teammate Catalina Bastons of Argentina took third aboard Shatane De Saliann with a time of 4:25.52.
Emirati riders Humaid Matar Al Mazrooei and Ibrahim Mohammed Al Hammadi joined Abdulla Mohammed at the top after placing fourth and fifth respectively. A total of 200 riders participated in the event, which saw merely 30% or 59 finish. It was Mostert’s first success in the UAE and the South African could not be happier with the way the day unfolded. “It was a tough day, but I am happy with the way things went. Competitions in the UAE are run very differently to how they are organised in South Africa,” Mostert said. While the experience might have been different to what she is used to, Mostert knew exactly what needed to be done and she performed admirably. Mohammed Mabkhot Eed Al Ameri took the lead at the end of the first phase, but Mostert stayed at a close fifth just under two minutes off the pace.
With Al Ameri dropping out of contention, the Protean wasted little time in asserting her supremacy as she took the lead at the end of the second phase, with Spanish rider Maialen Calvo Ibanez in second 12 secs behind. Mostert continued to build on her lead and at the end of the third phase she led Emirates rider Humaid Matar Rashed Al Mazrooei by nearly a minute and half. Mostert had all along reduced her riding speed but she played her ace over the final loop and unleashed Toufka La Majorie, who made haste as he stormed to the finish at a superb 32.8kph. Mostert recorded an average speed of 27.02kph for the ride.
Abdulla Al Hammadi deserved credit for bringing himself into contention after dropping to 16th from 10th at the end of the second before recovering to sixth in the third and eventually finishing second. He was happy with his performance aboard Cardenal R and said: “The race was very tough and showed a high level of professionalism from the riders and their teams which was perfect for such a momentous occasion as the Commemoration Day. I am very happy to have finished on the podium.” Third placed Argentine Catalina Bastons also did well to move up from 29th to 12th before settling in at third at the end of the penultimate stage.
Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, the Director General of Dubai Equestrian Club, said: “Martyr’s Day is very precious to the people of the UAE and it’s in the hearts of everyone. We remember the sacrifices of the country’s soldiers and we honour that. It was a race that lived up to the occasion because the various stables competed vigorously with each other. “Zabeel Stables deserved to win after such a strong performance and together with Al Sarab Endurance Stables could be one of the emerging forces on the local endurance calendar. The organising committee has done a wonderful job in organising this event.”