Sunday, August 28, 2005

Shaikh Hamdan takes honours

By Our Sports Reporter

27 August 2005

DUBAI - Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum led his Arabian gelding Georgat to a thrilling finish to claim the 160-km European Open Endurance Championship at Campiegne in France on Friday.

Shaikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum aboard Orcara took the third place honours.

The great ride by Shaikh Hamdan enabled him to retain the title for the UAE for the third time in a row following their spectacular performance in Italy in 2001 when he finished along with his brother Shaikh Rashid in a 1-2 in the individual event and claimed the team's title as well.

Meanwhile, General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minsiter of Defence, claimed the title in Punchestown, Ireland in 2003.

Almost 137 riders, representing 27 countries, lined up under the early rays of the sun at Campiegne for yesterday's ride. British rider Tricia Hurst, riding Vlace Khamul, showed the way and set a good pace of 18.54km/hour, while the winner was in the 28th position at the speed of 14.83 km/hour.

Shakh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was 17th while advancing at the speed of15.4km/hour. The British representative continued to lead during the second phase but at a decreasing speed of 17.72km/hour as Shaikh Majid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum began to make ground and increased the pace to16.12km/hour to finish fourth.

By the end of the third loop, the Australian rider Margaret Wade, riding China Poll, appeared from nowhere and hit the front at a steady pace of 15.97 km/hour. Shaikh Majid was fifth and Shaikh Hamdan was seventh at the time.

Wade continued to lead by the end of the fourth and fifth stages. Shaikh Hamdan moved to second, and right on his heels was Shaikh Majid with French rider Geraldine Brault who advanced to fourth position for the first time.

But Shaikh Hamdan, confident of the stamina of his mount, kept a strong pace to beat the Australian contender by a neck as the two riders crossed the finish line.

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