Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Three former world champions set for President?s Cup race

By Our Sports Reporter

14 February 2006

ABU DHABI ? The President?s Cup endurance race on Thursday has drawn three former world champions and the cream of the local talent here at the Emirates International Endurance Village at Al Wathba.

Lining up for a slice of a whopping one-and-a-half-million-dirham are two times former world champion Valerie Kanavy and her world champion daughter Daniela from the US, and UAE?s own Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the 2002 world champion.

?The President?s Cup is Abu Dhabi flagship endurance ride and we have a field that befits the occasion,? said Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, member of the organising committee, in a Press conference here at the Armed Forces Officers Club yesterday.

?Besides the strong local entries are some of the distinguished foreign riders from the US, Australia and Europe, to make this race truly international. The President?s Cup is always a fiercely contested race and we are looking forward for another absorbing contest,? he added.

The FEI-CEI 160-kilometre race jointly sponsored by Omega, National Bank of Dubai and Dubai Waterfront for a combined purse of Dh 2 million has already drawn nearly 100 entries from the leading stables around the Emirates and from abroad.

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum spearheads the Dubai challenge with his younger brother and 2002 world champion Shaikh Ahmed, alongside Hassan bin Ali, winner in 2001.

Shaikh Hamdan was sixth in the inaugural race in 2000 and was runner up two years later behind Shareef Mohammed Abdulla Al Bloushi, who won the President?s Cup twice on the trot.

Abdulla Khamis Ali Saeed won the inaugural race for the Al Reef Stables won in 2000 and since then Al Wathba Stables has retained the trophy, won twice by Bloushi, and then Abdul Rahim Al Jenaibi and Marzooq Salem Al Marri. Colonel Hussain Mohammed Hussain, secretary general of the UAE Equestrian Federation, said event has grown in stature internationally.

?The President?s Cup is not only the most prestigious race in Abu Dhabi but the premier endurance event in the country. The competition obviously brings out the best of both, the rider and horse,? he said.

The sponsors? representatives Yousef Khoury of Omega, Ali Al Kaitoub of National Bank of Dubai and Ammar Sinan of Dubai Waterfront, endorsed their continued support for the sport.

The President?s Cup for Junior and Young riders run over 80 kilometres will be held in the following day at Boudthib Endurance Village

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