A CONSISTENT ride turned out to be the key with which SS Stables’ Suhail Ali Rashed Al Ghailani claimed a rather comfortable success in the Hatta Endurance Cup. The 119km ride at Dubai International Endurance City was restricted to horses owned by private stables and individual owners and Al Ghailani struck aboard 11yo bay gelding Jasas, clocking a time of 4 hours 26 minutes and 57 seconds over the four phase ride. Finishing 59s behind in second place was Fares Ahmad Al Mansoori, who rode Mas Endurance Stables’ Westfalia Yac across the finish in a time of 4:27:56. In third place was Al Mansoori’s teammate Mohammed Suhail Al Ketbi on Danisha El Quickly, the pair clocking 4:28:46 in their bid.
Saeed Stables’ Indian rider Amjad Ali Hasmat Khan led after the 40km opening stage on Da Fuica Da Marinela with a time of 1:24:30, with Al Ghailani 7:37s behind in 12th position having completed the loop in 1:32:07s. Khan held the lead at the end of the second loop over 35km with Al Ghailani having moved two places up into tenth on the leaderboard. However, the distance with the leader had widened in terms of time, with 10:51s now keeping the pair apart. Khan’s disqualification at Gate 2 by the judges paved the way for Saif Juma Beljafla aboard Dashora to take over the summit. The Emirati rider had moved up from tenth to sixth over the first two loops and now found himself in the lead.
Al Ghailani was 4:10s behind in fifth and had much to do over the 18km of the last loop in order to take over from his SS Stables teammate. Beljafla had gone about his business at a moderate pace and he didn’t do much as Al Ghailani encouraged Jasas to go at a breezy 31.74kph over the last loop. Among the top five finishers, only Al Mansoori rode at a quicker 32.42kph but that proved insufficient as Al Ghailani held on comfortably after going to the top to win by nearly a minute. The winners received their accolades from Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, director general of Dubai Equestrian Club. Al Adhab said: “The race witnessed a good level of competition from the participating stables and it reflects the support of the stables for endurance events here and shows how popular the sport is thanks to the support of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. “Over the next few months there are some really big events coming up in the form of the HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Endurance Cup, which will start in early March. I think that is the focus of the world with some of the top riders from around the globe participating in the championships.”