EXEMPLARY COHESION in the F3 Endurance Stables’ ranks saw Abdulla Ali Al Amri clinch the biggest victory of his career in the form of the HH The President of the UAE Endurance Cup at Emirates International Endurance Village at Al Wathba last Saturday. Al Amri was familiar with riding conditions in the sands of Al Wathba having won the CEN 100km Private Owners ride at the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Festival.
He was also familiar with the 11yo French-bred bay gelding Vagabon De Polski, whom he partnered to success in that January ride. On Saturday though, the pair were to negotiate an arduous 160km trip that had been broken down into six phases. And they did that with a performance that was both expertly planned behind the scenes as it was executed in the saddle.
Al Amri and Vagabon De Polski hovered around the summit throughout the ride and recorded an average riding speed of 25.87kph which helped them post the quickest time of 6 hours 11 minutes and 1 second. The quality of the women riders plying their trade on the UAE endurance circuit appears to have improved considerably with the second and third places being snapped up by Ana Cecilia Garcia Pereira of Uruguay and the UAE’s Maitha Mohammed Al Qubaisi respectively.
Riding the Faisal Saeed Al Dhaheri-owned and trained TBO Valls, Pereira completed the ride with a time of 6:12:53, while Al Qubaisi was a further 21 seconds adrift in 6:13:14 on the back of F3 Stables’ Tonki Dee Boo Basil. Furthermore, the top five included another woman rider with Layla Abdul Aziz Al Redha making the cut after fourth placed M7 2 Endurance Stables’ rider Saeed Hamoud Al Khayari, who recorded a time of 6:13:56 on the back of Langasem Kwarter Bloom. Al Redha, who rode Al Wathba Stables 1’s Akasha Flowing Free, clocked 6:17:55. Al Amri said winning a prestigious event such as the HH The President of the UAE Endurance Cup was a massive confidence booster for him.
“It is a matter of great pride and I am proud to be part of the history of this competition as one of those to have won it,” he said. “Winning this tournament has given me the ultimate satisfaction throughout my career. I have won a lot of big events during my career, but this victory is by far the best and most important win because of the prestige it carries in the world of endurance riding.
The competition in this event is top class with some of the world’s best riders assembling for it. “Winning is not just down to me but is an entire team effort and it goes down to the planning and execution of the plan by everyone involved. The horse, the trainer, the support staff and this victory is for everyone and their collective work which was executed through me.
We hope to continue our success and win even more for our F3 Stable and its owner HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum who has always supported us with his guidance. This makes the title even more dear for us.” Sri Lankan rider Niroshan Periyalagan on Al Aasfa Endurance Stables’ JZ Layla led after the first loop over 40km with Al Amri in fourth, :1:14 behind.
Periyalagan managed to hold on to the summit during the second 28km loop with Al Amri moving up two spots into second and cutting the time deficit down to :58. Periyalagan was forced to retire at the end of the third loop over 28km after his mount JZ Layla returned with an irregular gait. That allowed the lead to change hands, with Al Maghaweer 3 Stables’ Afnan Ibrahim Moosa taking over on the back of Clem Jones TE.
Al Amri held on to second spot. Things remained unchanged at the top with Moosa holding on firmly over the next fourth and fifth phases which saw Al Amri drop to third but regain second spot going into the sixth and final loop over 20km. Al Amri was :7 adrift of Moosa going into the final loop and with a massive increase in riding speed from 24.08kph to 30.29kph he was able to move well clear of the rest. He took charge of the race rather easily with Vagabon De Polski duly obliging and executing Al Amri’s orders perfectly.
Runner-up Pereira did well to move up the rung after finding herself 37th at the end of the first loop. She climbed up to 21st, then 14th, then held on to eighth over the fourth and fifth loops before placing second. It was more or less the same for Al Qubaisi who went up from 18th to 13th to tenth and was ninth over the stages preceding her eventual third place finish. Musallam Al Ameri, director general of the Emirates International Endurance Village, said: “We are happy and proud to organise the HH The President of the UAE Endurance Cup.
It is an event that is precious to us and we hold it dearly just as everyone who participates in it does. “We would like to congratulate all of the winners and their teams and we thank everyone involved for their efforts in making this a great day of endurance racing. The event was run perfectly and we would like to congratulate the administration and organising committee for executing such a well planned event. “We thank the wise leadership of the country for their support towards the sport of endurance and for their guidance in turning the UAE into one of the best countries for equestrian sport in the world.”