Friday, March 26, 2004

Mubarak Khalifa bin Shafya wins Omega sponsored Triple Crown

Mubarak Khalifa bin Shafya rode Comes The Dawn to win the 140-km third and final leg of the Omega-sponsored Triple Crown Endurance ride at Dubai Endurance City on March 25. A total of 32 riders started off at 6 in the morning in the last ride of the season for Dubai.

The temperature soared to the mid-80’s (29C), which advised constraint for many of the riders. Bin Shafya, a former National Champion, still finished exactly 10 minutes ahead of Majed Khalfan Al Jahouri, himself a top contender. Jaber Bittar, of Al Reef Stables, finished in third place. Bin Shafya, who was the top UAE rider in the domestic circuit two years ago, finished the first loop in fifth place, and rode cautiously before taking over the lead after the third stage.
"It was very hot out there from the first stage itself”, said Bin Shafya. “However towards the latter part of the ride there was a lot of wind which provided a lot of relief to the horses. Comes The Dawn is one of the best horses and I am thankful to Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum for all his support," said the winner.

Leader after the first two rounds, young Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum finished seventh.

Before the last stage, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Minister of Defense, was riding in fourth place, but withdrew from the ride before the final loop, keeping in mind the welfare of his horse as he felt that the heat was a bit harsh over the 140km distance.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, along with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum also attended the ride.

Anna Kournikova, celebrity tennis star, was flown down by Omega, who sponsored this final leg of the Triple Crown. She said she was overawed after watching the horses and riders in action. "This is the first time I have watched an endurance ride and it was unbelievable. The horses and riders were really working hard out there in the sun and it seems to be a wonderful sport," said the Russian.


Triple Crown final leg (provisional)
1. Mubarak Khalifa bin Shafya (Comes The Dawn) 6:44.58;
2. Majid Khalfan Al Jahouri (Almanda Special Edition) 6:54.58;
3. Jaber Bittar (Beniarich Rezek Al Arab) 7:13.59;
4. Hassan Ahmed Al Bloushi (Rowallan Shanty) 7:14.00;
5. Ahmed Ali bin Harmash (Walstroom Hammam) 7:25.10;
6. Jesus Manuel Berna (Jamile) 7:54.12
7. Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum (Damas El Ainhoa) 8:02.46
8. Rashed Hamad Al Suwaidi (Zeyn Sha Zam) 8:02.56

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