WHEN THE GOING gets tough, the tough get going. And a superb team effort at Jumeirah Stables saw Khalaf Ahmad Al Ghaith make a splash aboard Vogue Trio in the Al Fahidi Endurance Cup at Dubai International Endurance City. Al Ghaith rode the 12yo trained by Ahmad Mohammed Belqaizi, the pair going about their business at an average speed of 27.91kph which saw them complete the 119km ride in a time of four hours 15 minutes and 52 seconds.
Al Ghaith was last seen on the podium during a CEI* 100km ride in Padise, Estonia, in June last year and his best result in the UAE had been a third in the CEN 100km Sheikh Mohammed bin Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Private Owners Ride in February 2020. But winning here turned out to be a case of third time lucky for Al Ghaith, who was fifth in the 2019 edition of the event and then failed to complete the 2020 renewal of the competition.
And he made sure he did not have to wait any longer for his first big win on UAE soil by rolling up his sleeves and expertly guiding Vogue Trio, who obliged all along, adjusting well with the demands of each of the four stages. Al Ghaith and his partner began the ride placed 27th after the first loop spanning 40km during which time Indian rider Ugam Singh asserted himself aboard Nad Al Sheba 2 Stables-owned Ulti Du Real.
Al Ghaith was :3:34 off the pace, but the lead changed hands during the course of the second loop over 32km, which Singh failed to complete as his mount was disqualified after returning with an irregular gait. M7 Endurance Stables’ Saeed Ahmad Al Shamsi seized the initiative aboard Houdinis Fire.
Al Ghaith took massive strides up the leaderboard during the second loop reaching 11th. And he now trailed leader Al Shamsi by :52. Al Shamsi managed to hold on to the summit during the third loop over 27km, with Al Ghaith moving up to sixth. But the difference he had to make up had increased to :1:37 with Al Shamsi looking almost certain to make his bid for glory.
However, there was a twist in the tale in the final 20km loop and with Al Ghaith able to power at a higher 31.66kph pace compared to Al Shamsi’s 28.17kph, he hunted down the leader easily. Still, with F3 Stables’ Saeed Ahmad Al Harbi bearing down hard on GA Aarush Bin Tango nothing could be left to chance and Al Ghaith did not let his guard down to win by a narrow two second margin in the end.
Al Harbi clocked 4:15:54, going from eighth to ninth and fifth before finishing runner up. Al Shamsi, meanwhile, clinched the last podium spot with a time of 4:18:57. Finishing fourth was Zayed Ahmad Al Marri on F3-1 Stables’ Brahim Du Causse with 4:19:42 on the clock, while Bruna Pujols Aumatell of M7 Endurance Stables was a further :10 adrift at fifth aboard HFF Viper with a time of 4:19:52.