Thursday, February 16, 2006

UAE: President's Cup Victory

Abu Dhabi: Dubai policeman Naser Abdulla Mohammad Al Marzouqi came up with a live replay of a dream he had the night before to score a superb win in the 160-km endurance ride yesterday and lift the HH The President Cup yesterday.

Riding Kaysand Farrazah, a 10-year-old grey gelding owned by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Al Marzouqi completed the 160-km ride on a dry and dusty afternoon to realise his dream and also register his first career win in seven years.

Yesterday's prestigious President Cup ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba had attracted a strong field and was attended by Shaikh Mohammad, Shaikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry.

Al Marzouqi, who completed the ride in 7 hrs 16 mins and 29secs, was followed home by the defending champion Marzooq Salem Al Merri on RoFabiola and the 2001 winner Hassan Bin Ali on Moonlight Prince.

"The night before the ride I had a dream that I had a good chance of winning," said the 24-year old who had finished fourth, third and fourth in his last three starts.

"The field was very strong but I had a good start. Then as the ride progressed, my horse looked in top condition. Just before the final two loops of the six-stage race I knew I could win the Cup," said Al Marzouqi, who has been riding since 1999.

He and Kaysand Farrazah, a horse trained by former UAE champion Mubarak Khalifa Bin Shafya, were always in the lead pack starting off in fourth place after the first 34kms and the next 32 kms. The pair then made a move to move into the second position after the third stage of 30 kms.

Al Marzouqi then took the lead after the fourth loop and after that, just kept building on that to finally win well.

His speed on the final loop touched 27.32 kmph but that effort could not better last year's President's Cup best of 7:02.21 set by Al Merri and Ro-Fabiola, the pair who finished second.

"I tried my best but the winning horse was very good," said Al Merri, who however managed to overtake the second-placed Hassan Bin Ali and finish behind the winner. The nine-year-old Ro-Fabiola, however, earned the Best Conditioned Horse award to make Al Wathba Stables proud.

Among the favourites, only Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, the reigning European Open champion, managed to do well with a sixth place finish on Nashmi as the former world champions, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, Valerie Kanavy and Danielle McGuinus, failed to make an impact.

While Shaikh Ahmad made an exit after the third stage, the mother and daughter pair of Valerie and Danielle were out after the fourth stage as both their horses went lame.

Shaikh Hazza Bin Sultan Al Nahyan on Hachim was also unfortunate when the rider withdrew after the fifth stage just before the final 16km loop.

Yesterday's ride was sponsored by Dubai Waterfront, National Bank of Dubai and Omega.


1. Naser Abdulla Mohammad Al Marzouqi (Kaysand Farrazah) 7hrs 16mins 29 secs

2. Marzooq Salem Al Merri (Ro-Fabiola) 7:22.40

3. Hassan Bin Ali (Moonlight Prince) 7:28.27

4. Majid Mohammad Salman Al Sabri (Zakah Zahara) 7:31.37

5. Salem Rashid Bin Ghadayer (Dalton Du Capimont) 7:33.07

6. Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum (Nashmi) (7:33.08)

7. Jaume Punti Dachs-Spain- (Elvis Hab) 8:13.46

8. Khalifa Bin Ghailata (El Estande) 8:24.35

9. Udo von Schauroth-Namibia- (Barges) 8:27.36

10. Monica Comas Molist-Spain- (Janik An Triskell) 8:43:27

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