In what was a display of absolute domination, Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum rode Zane to a sensational victory in the Emirates Heritage Club Endurance Ride at Bouthib Endurance Village in Al Khatem, Abu Dhabi. Riding for Endurance 66 Stables, Sheikh Saeed and his 13yo gelding were in stunning form and led from start to finish, winning the CEN 2** 121.27km ride, which was broken down into four stages, with a time of 6 hours 20 minutes and 26 seconds. The pair were so commanding during the course of the event that second placed Saeed Khalifa Sulaiman on Jumeirah Stables’ Selidol De Lap, was a distant 30m26s behind, with his teammate Nahyan Messari Al Mansoori a further three seconds behind in third aboard Victotop Occitan.
A total of 64 riders started out on a cold, wintry morning on the outskirts of the UAE capital and at the end just 23 were passed and deemed to have finished. It was all about Sheikh Saeed and Zane, who rode within strict parameters and kept building on their lead steadily for a stylish victory. The pair showed great spirit from the start and were 4s clear at the top after the first loop spanning 36.20km. Following closely in second at that point was Dutchwoman Bianca Schutz aboard Al Wathba Stables’ A P De La Muerte, with Al Ajial Stables’ Indian rider Babu Singh a further 19s back in third on the back of Khaleem De Rothbury. The top three places remained unchanged at the end of the second loop over 33.70km, but, having marginally increased his speed, Sheikh Saeed was now 32s clear. In a bid to save for the final phase, the riders dropped their riding speed during the course of the 31.30km third phase.
And while Sheikh Saeed continued his upward move, Schutz and Singh both dropped out of contention and were eliminated. Schutz and A P De La Muerte were ruled out for metabolic reasons, while Singh’s mount Khaleem De Rothbury was adjudged to have an irregular gait at the end of the third phase. The positions vacated by them were duly filled, with Schutz’s second place being taken over by her Dutch compatriot Marijke Visser Valerie, who rode Al Ketbi Racing Stables’ Chaitana Des Chaises and moved up from fourth. Singh’s third place was filled by Jumeirah Stables’ Sulaiman, who rode Selidol De Lap and climbed into third from seventh. Sheikh Saeed’s lead now suddenly stood at 13m59s and with that the writing was on the wall. A tiny increase in speed during the course of the final loop over 20.07km saw Sheikh Saeed stretch his lead to a massive 30m26s at the finish.
Jumeirah Stables’ riders Sulaiman and Al Mansoori did well to fill the next two spots on the podium respectively and their teammates Zayed Ghanim Al Marri and Zayed Ahmad Al Marri rounded off the top five. Riding Salim La Majorie, Zayed Ghanim placed fourth with a time of 6:51:09, while fifth placed Zayed Ahmed was a further second adrift on the back of JLB Opera Of Marwan. An 80km ride ran along the sidelines of the main event and was won by Saeed Eissa Al Khyeli aboard Al Khaleej Stables’ Mazoon Al Khaleej with a time of 4:28:44. In second place with a timing of 4:31:27 was Pakistan’s Asghar Ali Muhammad on Al Reef Stables’ Hill Stone Hazarra, while Indian rider Paipa Ram took third on the back of Wrsan Stables’ Mahzuz W’rsan with a time of 4:34:23.