YEMENI RIDER Sultan Aref Mohsen would have known victory was just around the corner! Mohsen had been knocking on the door since the start of the season and at Wathba on Friday he finally kicked it down when he triumphed in some style in the Yas Endurance Ride for Private Owners aboard Enjaz Private Stables’ IFO Shakjadaki. He had been on the podium twice before this term when taking third in the CEN 120km National Day Cup at Al Wathba, a result that followed his second place finish in the CEN 120km Emirates International Endurance Village Cup at the same venue. But last Friday it seemed as if he wasn’t going to settle for another podium finish and romped to a commanding victory, which also turned out to be his first ever victory on Emirati soil since starting to ride here in 2017.
Riding IFO Shakjadaki at an average speed of 27.79kph, Mohsen completed the four stage ride in 3 hours 35 minutes and 51 seconds. So dominant was he that after being placed 11th at the end of the first phase, he grabbed the summit over the next three phases and was 5m36s ahead of second placed Omani rider Abdullah Jamal Al Balushi, who completed the ride aboard Al Darbi Endurance Stables’ Time Out in a time of 3:41:27. In third place, a further 2m34s behind with a time of 3:44:01 was Uruguay’s Ana Cecilia Garcia Pereira on SS Private Stables’ Ascot De Montfluq. Al Balushi was quick over the first phase spanning 40km and rode Time Out at a speed of 29.37kph to acquire the lead with Mohsen exactly three minutes behind. However, the tables were turned over the second 25km phase as Mohsen had the liberty to ride faster while Al Balushi was forced to reduce his speed, the pair posting 29.23kph and 26.75kph respectively.
That moved Mohsen to the top with Al Balushi dropping to fourth and trailing the leader by 1m45s. At that point two UAE riders, Mohammed Suhail Al Ketbi and Ahmed Mohamed Al Jaber were also in contention for the title. Al Ketbi, aboard MAS Endurance Stables’ LZ Athos, had moved up one place into second replacing Al Jaber, who dropped to third aboard Al Jaber Stables’ Aspenview Argen. Both riders fell by the wayside after their mounts were adjudged to have returned with an irregular gait following the third phase that ran over 19km. The pair dropping out eased Al Balushi up the rung and he held on to second until the end, content that Mohsen and IFO Shakjadaki were continuously building up a sizeable lead that swelled to 5m36s at the end. Pereira moved into third at the end of the third phase and held on until the end after finding herself placed 15th and seventh at the end of the first two phases.
French woman Meghan Delarue finished fourth aboard Enjaz Private Stables’ LS Binda Fitz with a time of 3:48:56, while Uruguayan Pereira’s male compatriot Ferber Perez Federico was fifth on Al Ain Endurance Stables’ Periquito with a time of 3:50:06. Podiums rarely evade UAE riders in endurance riding, but this one did with lady rider Layla Abdul Aziz Al Redha nicking the highest place among Emiratis in the field. Al Redha finished just outside the top five in sixth with a time of 3:50:48 aboard Rakna Endurance Stables’ Roble Sintra. From a starting field of 168 rider horse pairs, only 52 were passed and deemed to have satisfactorily completed the ride.