Planning is key in endurance riding and a well executed plan saw Martina Spelanzon clinch a narrow success for M7 Endurance Stables during the Al Fahidi Endurance Cup last week. The race at Dubai International Endurance City was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai. And riding Tarik El Gamassi, an 11yo trained by Mohammed Al Subose, Spelanzon completed the CEI 2* 120km ride in 4 hours 26 minutes and 28 seconds to finish just a second ahead of Saif Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al Mazrouei, who rode Belik Al Mounira belonging to MRM Stables. In third place was Spelanzon’s M7 teammate Maialen Calvo Ibanez of Spain aboard Kitima Boomerang.
Ibanez and her mount recorded a time of 4:32.06. Spelanzon has been a regular on the UAE riding circuit and combined well with the Al Subose-schooled Tarik El Gamassi, placing third at the end of the first phase spanning 40kms. The pair dropped one spot after the 35km second stage and were a 1min and 40secs off the pace set by teammate Ibanez. Spaniard Ibanez dominated over the third loop as well maintained her stay at the summit with her lead from Spelanzon now having increased to 2min 14secs. Spelanzon had worked her way back to third and with plenty left in Tarik El Gamassi’s tank, the Argentine knew all she had to go was let the 11yo grey horse run.
The 18km fourth phase was fought over a furious pace, but Tarik El Gamassi showed his class as he obliged with an average speed that was over 8km faster to finish ahead of both Ibanez and Al Mazrouei, who remained rooted to second over the last three stages. Spelanzon, 31, said she was honoured to have won her first title off the season and credited her partner for the success. “He was heroic and turned in a strong performance,” said Spelanzon, ranked 28th in the FEI Endurance Open Riders World Ranking. Al Subose said M7 and MRM Stables, both belonging to HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had succeeded in discovering champion horses through the race over the years.
“We use the Al Fahidi Endurance Cup to find new horses that will become top names in the future,” he said. Completing the top five were two other Emirati riders Mohammed Hamoud Al Ghailani and Khalif Ahmad Al Ghaith. Al Ghailani finished fourth aboard Al Reef Ash Ab’s Longrun Darius with a time of 4:33.11, while in fifth, Al Ghaith and his ride Clarita SU belonging to Jumeirah Stables’ were timed at 4:34.07.