Tuesday, January 08, 2008

2005 WEC Champion Lissarrague back in Dubai

World champion partners ‘family horse’ in Dh1.5 million HHSM Endurance Cup 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008

With Saturday’s Dh1.5 million HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup 2008 fast approaching, most of the international riders were out with their horses doing some light training in the desert tracks in Seih Assalam.

Raid De Bozouls, the horse which 2005 World Endurance Champion Barbara Lissarrague of France will be riding on Saturday, was also out having a workout yesterday morning.

Lissarrague, the winner of the 2005 World Endurance Championship held here at the Dubai International Endurance City, was expected to arrive today, so training the horse in the meantime was her husband-cum-trainer-cum rider Christian Lissarrague.

“Raid De Bozouls has been with us for over six years now and he is more a family horse as me, my wife as well as my daughter Nina have been riding him in competitions," said Christian, as he prepares the horse to compete against some of the best riders and horses in the world.

“Raid De Bozouls has adapted well since arriving here on January 4 but we will have to wait and see how he is on the eve of the ride”, said Christian.

The French horse will be one of the 26 international entries who take on a strong contingent of UAE riders in the six-loop FEI.CEI 3* ride sponsored by Omega.

“My daughter Nina, who is a junior national rider with the French team finished fifth on Raid De Bozouls in October and he is back after a good rest,” added the French trainer.

Christian was however not sure whether the European riders could keep pace with the hosts.

“Races here are very fast and Barbara did very well when she won the world championship in 2005. But it is a different race and a different horse,” he said.

“One thing for sure is that UAE’s progress in endurance has changed the sport. There are more breeders and more horses and overall it has benefited many. The facilities here are the best in the world and with such a strong field for Saturday’s ride it will be a great experience,” added Christian.

“We have 12 French riders and with the World Championship to be held in Malaysia later this year, the French Equestrian Federation will be monitoring the progress of the riders and horses.

“Being an annual affair, this HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup 2008 will help in international riders to come here, participate and prepare for the big championships.

“The UAE riders will be starting off as the favourites and the French have always been at the forefront. An interesting competition is in store on Saturday and the ride will be a fast-paced one,” concluded Christian.

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