The trend of Emirati riders dominating endurance events in the UAE was bucked in part this week by an overseas contingent that won two of the three rides that were held across the Emirates last week. And while Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri led an all UAE podium at the Jumeirah Endurance Cup at Dubai International Endurance City, his colleagues were not so lucky at Al Wathba and Bouthib in the national capital. At both Abu Dhabi events, however, the presence of the Emirates was felt on the podium, but not at the top. The CEI 1* 100km Al Wathba Cup for Private Owners at the Emirates International Endurance Village saw Omani rider Said Al Balushi triumph aboard Al Darbi Endurance Stables-owned Si Quilombo, with Emirati pair Khalifa Mohammed Al Khyeli and Salem Mubarak Al Ameri riding in next.
The CEI 2* 120km Emirates Heritage Club ride at Bouthib had a Frenchman in Cesar Donnais for the winner, with Sri Lanka’s Sivapragasham Muthuweeran and UAE rider Nouf Saeed Mohammed Al Nuaimi filling the next two podium spots. In Dubai, Al Marri yanked himself into contention from 35th at the end of the first phase to win aboard F3 Stables-owned Ra7il with a time of 4 hours 22 minutes and 45 seconds. Suhail Ali Rashed Al Ghailani was a fraction of a second slower on the back of M7 Endurance Stables-owned Blakeridge Indigo, while Shaheen Yahya Al Mazrouei was 55s adrift at 4:23:40 on F3 Stables› Beachcomber Spiderman.
Action at Al Wathba saw Al Balushi ride to success aboard Si Quilombo with a time of 3:42:30, with Al Khyeli a further 18s adrift on the back of Silver De Laredo. In third place with a time of 3:47.53 was Salem Mubarak Al Ameri aboard Bin Ham Endurance Stables’ Mytia Du Cavallon. After finishing 12th at the end of the first phase, Al Balushi stormed to the lead and held on rather comfortably despite being under pressure from other riders including Al Khyeli. Al Balushi attributed his success to the teamwork behind the scenes at Al Darbi Stables saying: “The entire team was behind this and the guidance of the trainers helped because they told me to balance the performance so that the horse wasn’t tired towards the last phases.
“I did exactly that and rode along to that plan. He is a good horse who worked well and came through successfully. The race was a tough one and there was stiff competition throughout but our plan worked well.” The Wathba event was held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and present at the event were Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, the director general of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, and Lara Sawaya, the executive director of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival. Sawaya said: “This race was organised for private stables under the directives of Sheikh Mansoor with really lucrative prizes to lure more private owners to participate in endurance events. If you see the level of competition you can tell of the interest and competitiveness of those involved.”
ADEC’s Al Nuaimi added: “We thank Sheikh Mansoor for his interest in supporting endurance riding events in the UAE and events like this will only bring together the equestrian community in a competitive environment.” In Bouthib, the Emirates Heritage Club ride was contested fiercely with Donnais bringing himself into contention from his 20th place after the first loop. The Frenchman only managed to snatch the lead and win in the final loop, after finding himself over three minutes adrift of leader Muthuweeran, who had done well to move from 17th to eighth and then to the top. Riding Razma Milin Riant for M7 Endurance Stables, Donnais finished with a time of 6:10:15 and was ultimately placed 0:5:19 ahead of F3 Stables’ rider Muthuweeran, who clocked 6:15:34 on the back of Attallah Jakeem.
Third was Nouf Saeed Al Nuaimi, who rode Tamara Desert Moon of Dubawi Stables home in 6:26:58. Meanwhile, Saif Ahmed Al Mazrouei clinched third place in the CEI 2* 120km Bahrain National Day Championship. Riding Emir De Tannes for the Al Raood Team, Al Mazrouei posted the third best time after Bahraini pair of Fahad Helal Al Khatri, who won, and second-placed Othman Abduljaleel Al Awadhi.