THE GOOD EARLY FORM of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s prestigious M7 Stables continued on the UAE endurance circuit at Dubai International Endurance City on Thursday with Saeed Hamoud Al Khayari working his way to the top in the Al Marmoom Endurance Cup. Riding French-bred 11yo Arabian Akim De Planiol in the 120km race, Al Khayari completed the ride with a time of four hours 28 minutes and 56 seconds, going about his business at an average speed of 26.77kph.
He kept close to the summit and was dethroned once during the first half of the ride but bounced back with a solid team effort led by trainer Mohammed Ahmed Al Subose. Al Khayari’s time was five seconds quicker than his second placed teammate Fares Ahmad Al Mansoori, the winner of last week’s Seeh Al Salam Endurance Challenge at the same venue. For Al Khayari, it was a matter of striking on the third time of asking after his elimination from the aforementioned Seeh Al Salam, a performance that followed a second place finish in the DIEC 120km Al Wasl Cup for Private Stables.
Al Mansoori had led going into the final loop on the back of Akram De Flauzins, but even though he lost top spot, he would have considered himself fortunate to hold on to the runner-up position as third placed Hamdan Ahmad Al Marri on F3-1 Stables’ Samsara TE was just a further three seconds adrift with a time of 4:29:04.
The ride had been broken down into four phases and commenced with a 40km first loop that witnessed Al Khayari place ninth behind Al Bawadi Stables’ Sri Lankan rider Siyan Nandakumar, who rode Inkanto. Al Khayari was 1:1s behind the leader, who was eliminated during the course of the second loop (35km) on account of his ride returning with an irregular gait. Al Khayari capitalised during the second loop unknowingly and found himself at the summit of the leaderboard.
He reduced his riding speed over the course of the third loop (25km), which saw him slip behind Al Mansoori, who had moved into top spot from fourth. Al Mansoori held a 21s advantage going into the final loop (20km), but earlier easing off Akim De Planiol allowed Al Khayari to increase his riding speed from 22.99kph to 31.26kph. On the other hand, Al Mansoori, in a bid to ride within parameters, upped his riding speed to 30.91kph.
The difference might not have been much, but it was certainly enough to allow the leadership to return to Al Khayari and he managed to win by a narrow 5s. Al Mansoori in turn did well to hold on to second by a mere 3s from Al Marri. Fourth placed Abdulla Ali Alamri of F3 Stables was a distant 29s behind with a time of 4:29:33 on the back of Longrun Mikami, with Abdulaziz Al Marzooqi a further second adrift on the back of Al Maghaweer 9’s SM Paunila.