Friday, January 05, 2007

UAE: Al Sabousi surges into lead

Published: 06/01/2007 12:00 AM (UAE), Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Shaikh Hazza Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (2nd left) and Shaikh Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Zayed (left), in action along with other participants at the three-day 240-km endurance ride.

Al Sabousi surges into lead

Staff Report

Abu Dhabi: Mohammad Rashid Al Sabousi riding 7-year-old Kishon Meleisha led after the first day's 80-km distance in the three-day 240-km Shaikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Cup Endurance ride here yesterday.

Al Sabousi topped the first leg of this Three-star ride which is part of an action-packed three-day endurance festival being held under the patronage Shaikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Emirates Heritage Club.

While Al Sabousi was part of a closely-bunched group which will resume this morning for the second 80-km distance on the same horses, two Qualifier rides were also held yesterday.

The Endurance Festival, which has cars and large cash awards as prizes for winners, will also stage a 100-km two-star junior ride today while a 120-km ride will also be held tomorrow for Novice riders from smaller stables.

A total of 38 riders started off early yesterday morning in the 240-km event and Al Sabousi took a little over 3 hours 35 minutes to finish just ahead of the two sons of Shaikh Sultan.

Shaikh Hazza Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on ZT Faraventure and his younger brother Shaikh Khalid on Roxborough Zepher were in second and third place.

However, bunched behind the leading trio are some of the top contenders from the in-form Al Reef Stables.

Trainer-rider Yousuf Ahmad Al Baloushi (Charlendre Al Sharif), Majid Mohammad Al Sabri (Zalyella Winder), Jesus Manuel Berna (Risco Moreno) and Abdullah Thani Bin Huzaim (Mobasher) finished in that order.

Yousuf Ahmad, who is one of the top riders and Spain's Berna are from Al Reef and will be making a determined effort on day two. Berna, who recently won the National Day Cup to register back-to-back wins, said he would decide on his tactics today.

"It is too early and we have two days to go. So far my horse has been doing well but tomorrow is another day," said the Spaniard, who is a trainer-rider with Al Reef.

Yousuf, who is one of the most consistent riders in the UAE said he will be going all out for a good result.

"This is a prestigious event and to keep the horse if fit condition for three days is a challenge. It is a small field but there are some good riders," said the Al Reef star.

"The key to the ride will depend on how the leader board is after the 160-km mark," he added.

The rides are being held at the Boudthib Endurance Village in Al Khatem in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Gulf News Article

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