Saturday, January 13, 2007

UAE: Al Hammadi shines for Al Reef Stables

By M. Satya Narayan, Staff Reporter

Abu Dhabi: Al Reef Stables continued their winning spree with another triumph, this time Yousuf Abdullah Al Hammadi registering his first career win on Whyneemah Jaspar in the Omega Cup 120km endurance ride yesterday.

Al Hammadi was involved in a close tussle with Abdullah Thani Bin Huzaim, riding Spendacrest Kamouflage, on the final loop before prevailing by about 30 seconds in the FEI CEI three-star event at the Dubai International Endurance City (DEC) at Seih Assalam.

A total of 99 riders started off in this ride organised by Dubai Equestrian Club and with the top riders average speeds of over 24 kmph throughout the event, it was a well contested ride.

Jesus Manuel Berna was the early leader before he made an exit, half way through. Abdullah Thani took over and going out on to the final loop, he led with Al Hammadi in a close second.

However, the two were involved in a close contest and the Al Reef rider managed to pip the Dubai rider to make up for Berna's loss. Al Hammadi and Whyneemah Jaspar completed the 120km ride in 4 hours 43 mins and 57 seconds at an average speed of 25.36kmph.

"I am very excited as this is my first ever win. It is so difficult to win as most of the UAE riders are of a high calibre," said Al Hammadi. "The final loop was difficult and I had to also watch out not to overrun my horse. I thank Shaikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his support."

Al Wathba Stables' Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri finished third on Cupid, while Spain's Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton came up with another top-five finish.

Two other riders who finished in the top 10 were Yousuf Ahmad Al Bloushi and Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi. Al Bloushi, the Al Reef star, finished fifth, while Al Muhairi finished eighth. Both garnered crucial points in the riders' championship for the DEC riders.

Yesterday's ride was attended by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry. "It was a great gesture by Shaikh Hamdan whose presence, along with his sons, gave encouragement to the riders. With a large field of quality riders, it was another successful event at the Dubai International Endurance City," said Ali Mousa, the DEC endurance chief.

Gulf News article

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