RIDING WITH unwavering determination and with a strong team to support his cause, Fares Ahmad Al Mansoori helped the UAE endurance season underway on a winning note for M7 Endurance Stables with victory in the Seeh Al Salam Endurance Challenge at Dubai International Endurance City on Saturday.
The 120km ride was staged over four phases with Al Mansoori keeping himself in contention throughout and virtually sealing victory at the halfway mark. A total of 136 riders started in the early hours of the morning, but only 60 were deemed to have finished as 76 were eliminated. Al Mansoori rode Zaizoom, a 13yo Argentine-bred chestnut, trained by Mohammed Ahmed Ali Al Subose and the pair were clocked at four hours 20 minutes and four seconds going about their business at an average speed of 27.69kph.
It wasn’t as easy for Al Mansoori though with his M7 Endurance Stables’ teammates and rivals, particularly F3 Stables’ lady rider Maitha Mohammed Al Qubaisi breathing down his neck. Al Qubaisi led over the first two phases and after Al Mansoori took over after the third loop she remained hot on his heels, pushing hard only to finish fourth.
Al Mansoori started the day second at the end of the first loop over 40km with Al Qubaisi taking charge of the summit immediately on the back of Aotrou El Quibi, a 11yo gelding trained by Khalifa Ghanim Al Marri. Al Mansoori wasn’t far behind, just seven seconds, and Al Qubaisi widened that gap by a further five seconds over the 35km second loop.
To keep her ride’s vitals in check, Al Qubaisi reduced her riding speed over the 25km third loop to 23.97kph, but Al Mansoori’s decision to go a little faster allowed him to move to the top of the leaderboard. Going into the final loop over 20km, which in these conditions is often considered a sprint, Al Mansoori now held a 12s advantage over Al Qubaisi.
And he would go all guns blazing in the final phase stepping up from 24.12kph to 34.75kph, which proved perfect as he managed to keep nine seconds clear of fast finishing teammate Salem Hamad Al Kitbi, who clocked 4:20:13 on the back of Willowmere Encore. Al Kitbi moved into second from third, and was seventh at the end of the second phase which he had dropped to from third after the opener.
Mansour Saeed Al Faresi of MRM Stables secured third on the back of Tatarinu as he finished a further two seconds adrift with a time of 4:20:15. Al Faresi did well to move up the rung having started his day at 16th and then moved to fourth and seventh before taking the last spot on the podium.