Dubai 3/25/04: General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, leads a strong field of riders in the March 25 CEI-Three Star ride, which will also end Dubai's endurance season for 2003-04 with the end of a 3 ride series. The ride will be 140-km and will have six stages of 32, 29, 26, 19, 19 and 15km.
Sheikh Mohammed, the reigning European Open champion, is scheduled to ride the eight-year-old part-Arab chestnut gelding, Maldiyo, in the race held at Dubai Endurance City in Seih Assalem.
More than 30 riders are expected to get off to a mass start at 6am. Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum, who is currently leading the Triple Crown, will be looking for a good finish in the 140-km event.
Sheikh Rashid will again ride Shikira, the horse that he rode to a third place in both the first and second rounds of the Triple Crown races.
In addition to Sheikh Mohammed some of the other top contenders are Abdul Rahim Al Juneibi, Majed Khalfan Al Jahouri, Mubarak Khalifa bin Shafya Hassan bin Ali, Jaber Bittar and Saeed Al Tayer. Among some of the top riders from outside the UAE, Italy's Gianluca Laliscia on Shock, France's Marc le Bervet on Al Rumani and Spain's Jesus Manuel Berna are among the frontrunners.
Extreme temperatures might be a problem, and the riders and horses may have to contend with some tough conditions. Because of this, the average speed is expected to be much lower than the usually fast speeds for which the UAE riders are known.
Top tennis star Anna Kournikova, spokesperson for Omega, is scheduled to attend today's ride, sponsored by Omega. Many world visitors, in the city for the Dubai World Cup on Saturday, are also expected to view the ride.
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