Marzooqi’s winning Momentum carries her to Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Cup success

  • Marzooqi’s winning Momentum carries her to Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Cup success
  • Marzooqi’s winning Momentum carries her to Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Cup success

NEARLY FIVE years after first combining successfully in the UAE endurance circuit, Layla Mohammed Al Marzooqi and Momentum WR were at it again. The rider horse pair showed bonds forged between the two were still strong as they posted what in racing terms would often be described as a gate to post victory.

Such was their grip on the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup for Private Owners ride that they hogged the leaderboard from start to finish, winning with a time of three hours 30 minutes and 11 seconds (3:30.11) going about their business during the CEN 100km ride at an average speed of 28.54kph.

Al Marzooqi and her now 11yo American bred Arabian gelded partner had combined to win the CEN 100km event falling under the 2017 HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival umbrella in January and later that same year in October had triumphed in the CEN 100km Al Wasl Endurance Cup.

Then, four years later, they returned to winning ways in a qualifier event in preparation for the 2021/22 season on 25 October. And that preparatory run paid dividend Saturday as Al Marzooqi and Momentum WR dominated proceedings during the four phase ride at Emirates International Endurance Village in the sands of Al Wathba outside Abu Dhabi.

The win was Momentum WR’s first major success in four years, but Al Marzooqi added this win to her burgeoning repertoire, which features her victory in the 120km Al Wasl Cup for Private Stables a month back at Dubai International Endurance City. Al Marzooqi and Momentum WR saw out the 35km first phase easily and were 1m50s ahead of second placed Maitha Obaid Alkaabi and her mount NP Angelina Jo-Lee, representing Al Khayool Private Stables.

The latter pair gave chase over the next two phases holding on to their position at second. Over the second phase spanning 25km, they managed to reduce the deficit to 52s, but Al Marzooqi pulled clear over the third phase over 20km and led by 1m37s going into the final phase which was also contested over a 20km trip.

Al Marzooqi had virtually put the race to bed as Alkaabi and her partner juggled pace and time to stay within parameters that would enable them to be passed fit after completion of the race. As a result Alkaabi could not step it up and that opened the door for Mas 7 Endurance Stables’ Polish rider Kamila Anita Kart and her partner Ursini to make a successful bid for the runners-up spot and take over second spot on the podium. Kart and Ursini clocked 3:32.14, while Alkaabi and her partner were a further 12s behind at 3:32.26.

Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, said: “We are proud of the pioneering position of the Emirates Knights in the sport of endurance, which represents a link to the our past and our heritage.

“Thanks to their determination and desire to achieve success they have left an indelible mark on endurance racing by winning events hosted in the UAE and abroad. “We organise these special races for women to honor them and support them as they practice this noble sport. We will continue to support them in order to represent the country in the best way.”

Noura Al Suwaidi, Secretary-General of the General Women’s Union, crowned the winners in the presence of Humaid Al Shammari, Executive Vice President of Mubadala Group, and Musallam Al Ameri, Director General of the Emirates International Endurance Village and Lara Sawaya, the Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival.

Winning rider Al Marzooqi said: “The race was not as easy as it seems and the pace was quick with the riders going fast, which is what characterises women’s races. There was great enthusiasm and the riders showed a strong desire to win, but it was a good ride and we are very happy to win.”

  • HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

    HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum