Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Shaikh Abdullah in top form

Khaleej Times

28 May 2007

DUBAI - Shaikh Abdullah bin Faisal Al Qasimi produced top class form to win the hotly contested Dukeries 160km FEI in England. It was a splendid accomplishment for the winner of the individual bronze medal at the 2007 JYR World Championship. He was riding Castlebar Sobea on whom his brother finished 4th in JYR WC. This eight-year-old mare was bred in Australia by Meg Wade and Chris Cates

The ride location was in Nottinghamshire where lie the present day remains of Sherwood Forest, once the playground of kings and dukes. It originally comprised huge private estates, established by nobility in a 200-year shopping spree that used the profits from the industrial revolution. Clumber Park, Thoresby and Welbeck were the country seats of powerful dukes. Today, they are still known as 'The Dukeries'

From the start Shaikh Abdullah alongside his endurance trainer Anzag Mahmood Chaudhry rode at a smart pace averaging the fastest, 17.37kph, over the opening loop of 40km but a trio of British riders, including the third place finisher Susan Hawes, were determined to overcome the UAE challenge.

The foremost was Fiona Hamilton who held a fifteen minute lead over the UAE duo at the end of the fourth stage. But at the vet gate, the UAE horses made smart presentations that sent them out just three minutes behind.
It was a jubilant Shaikh Abdullah who crossed the finish holding the UAE flag just ahead of Chaudhry. This was the first time that both their horses Castlebar Sobea and Sergai had competed in a 160km ride. Shaikh Abdullah has now set his sights on being selected to represent the UAE at the 2007 Open European Championship due to be held in Portugal in September.

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