Mohammed and Mansour declared joint winners of National Day Cup
by Amith Passela ~ Khaleej Times
14 January 2005
DUBAI ? General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, and Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, created a history of sorts when they were declared joint winners of the National Day Cup here at the Dubai Endurance City yesterday.
General Shaikh Mohammed and Shaikh Mansour crossed the finish line together in a bunch of six horses, covering the FEI-CEI Three Star 120km trip in five hours 20 minutes and 29 seconds.
The National Day Cup staged for the first time outside Abu Dhabi was deemed as a dress rehearsal for the Dubai FEI Endurance World Championship at the same venue on January 27.
The First Gulf Bank-sponsored race showcased the new state-of-the art facilities to the foreign riders, crew and officials already in the endurance village for the world event that returns to Dubai after the 1998 edition held for the first time outside Europe and the United States.
Shaikh Mohammed astride 11-year-old Arabian gelding Al Naa?is and Shaikh Mansour onboard the rangy eight-year-old bay Ro Saad, crossed the finish line in one of the now familiar hands-held gesture in a bunch of six that included Abdulla Khamis Ali Saeed, Yousef Ahmed Al Bloushi, Hassan Abdulla Al Hammadi and Ahmed Jassim Al Hammadi.
Shaikh Mansour said the race was an excellent launch pad for the host team. ?It was a fast run race and it showcased the readiness of the UAE team?s title defence. We are thinking positively at the world championship and I feel the UAE team will be the one that all have to beat come January 27.?
Shaikh Mansour remained in the leading group and was third into the final loop behind Al Reef Stables lead rider Abdulla Khamis Ali Saeed on 12-year-old Arabian gelding Shiranna Bokhara and his stable mate Yousef Ahmed Al Bloushi astride a former flat race horse 11-year-old El Hadzin Deleyre.
Both Shaikh Mohammed and Shaikh Mansour are in the 12-member UAE?s World Championship team.
Sultan Ahmed Sultan bin Sulayem finished 13th on nine-year-old Irex du Mas whilst two more members of the UAE squad, Shaikh Hazza bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his younger brother Shaikh Khalid, took 19th and 20th spots respectively.
Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and his brothers Shaikh Hamdan, reigning world champion Shaikh Ahmed and Shaikh Majed, Shaikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum and Ali Al Muhairi, either retired or were eliminated. The race drew 120 entries and was run over five loops.
Shaikh Mansour remained in the leading group throughout the race after coming in second behind Mubarak Khalifa bin Shafya in the opening loop.
Shaikh Mohammed worked his way up from 40th place to go into the final loop in fourth with over eight minutes behind the leader Abdulla Khamis. Shaikh Mansour was third behind Yousef Ahmed in the final loop.
[Images of the Ride]
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