Saturday, December 23, 2006
By M. Satya Narayan, Staff Reporter
(photo: Winners Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi, Omair Husain Al Bloushi, Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton and other officials.)
Abu Dhabi: Last Thursday Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi shrugged off the misfortune of having to sit out of the UAE team and chipped in crewing for the UAE team which registered a golden double triumph in the Doha Asian Games endurance event in Qatar.
Yesterday at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Seih Assalam, Al Muhairi compensated himself with a superb display to win the Shaikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Challenge 120-km ride.
Al Muhairi, who is the Racing Manager for Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, was back on the consistent performer Karabil Narmar, and the reunited pair won the same event after a two-year gap from a strong field of riders.
In fact Al Muhairi's win in yesterday's 120-km Open event halted the winning streak of the Al Reef Stables who have won all four rides of the season so far.
Al Muhairi and Karabil Narmar won the 120-km ride in four hours 46 minutes and 59 seconds at an average speed of 25.09 with Al Reef's young star Omair Hussain Al Bloushi finishing second on Cameo Zinniaa, about three minutes later.
Both rider and horse drew praise from Shaikh Hamdan, who attended the ride organised by the Dubai Equestrian Club.
"Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi is a skilled rider and he did well to regain the initiative after the third loop.
"The climate was very good and Al Muhairi brought the best out of Karabil Narmar, which was coming out of an injury," Shaikh Hamdan said.
"He was running after a long gap but soon looked like the top quality horse that he his. Al Muhairi paced his effort very well and they fully deserved to win," Shaikh Hamdan said.
The winner said he was pleased with his effort.
"It was a good ride and after leading in the first two loops I slowed down the pace to check out how my horse was faring. Once he looked good after that loop we regained our pace," said Al Muhairi.
"We started out to go out and win this ride and I knew I could do it on Karabil Narmar," he said.
Commenting on his Asiad misfortune, Al Muhairi said: "I really enjoyed being part of the team. We all chipped in with crewing for the UAE team and we are proud of the UAE's achievement." Al Muhairi has been a regular in the UAE national team.
Extending the good run by foreign riders here this season, Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton finished third.
Malta's Maria, who has won a ride here a couple of seasons ago, rode Nobby, a horse trained and owned by her rider-trainer husband Jaume Punti Dachs of Spain.
"This is the first time I am riding this horse which has just come to the UAE. Nobby has some good results under his belt in Europe but this is his first outing here and I had to keep this in mind while riding today," said Maria.
1. Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi (Karabil Narmar) 4hrs 46 mins 59 secs;
2. Omair Hussain Al Bloushi (Cameo Zinniaa) 4:50.21;
3. Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton (Nobby) 4:51.19;
4. Mattar Ganim Al Mansoori (Hanadi) 4:56.10;
5. Ahmad Mohammad Al Merri (Dell Hama) 4:56.24;
6. Abdullah Thani Al Felaisi (Spendacrest Kamouflague)4:59.42;
7. Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri (Sha-Ali) 5:03.30;
8. Yousef Ahmad Al Bloushi (Al Galahn) 5:08.54;
9. Mohammad Ahmad Ali Al Sabousi (Antares Sauveterre) 5:12.50;
10. Jesus Manuel Berna (Out of the Blue) 5:15.16.
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