photo: Al Jahouri overcame a slow start and later registered some terrific speeds on the final loop to leave some equally talented riders far behind.Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
Published: November 29, 2008, 23:31
Dubai: Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri of Al Wathba Stables rode Berloiz de Piboul to a superb win in the Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC) 120-kilometre ride to drive away with a Nissan four-wheel drive and a cheque of Dh200,000 on Saturday.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, attended yesterday's ride in Seih Assalam with a total of 127 starters in the first event of the UAE season.
Al Jahouri, a seasoned campaigner from Al Wathba, who also is a well-known endurance horse trainer, overcame a slow start and later registered some terrific speeds on the final loop to leave some equally talented riders far behind.
It was the first win for his 10-year-old chestnut gelding and Al Jahouri got the better of two Al Reef riders, including champion Yousuf Ahmad Al Beloushi, who finished second while world champion Maria Alvarez Ponton of Spain had to settle for fifth place after dominating the initial stages.
Al Jahouri, who was in 20th place after the first loop, moved up six places after the second loop. After the third loop, in which he was fourth behind Ponton and Al Beloushi, he began to make his move.
"The initial pace was a bit too much but at the third loop my horse was in fine nick and I decided to go for it," said the winner, who averaged nearly 27kph on the final loop of 12km.
Al Beloushi, who was just about a minute behind Al Jahouri going into the final loop but finished over eight minutes behind, said: "My horse [Charlandre El Sharif] was coming back after an injury and initially I just wanted to race him for three loops."
"But he looked good so I continued, but I did not want to push him too much.
Charlandre El Sharif holds the world record in a 160-kilometre ride.
Saudi Arabia's Fauiz Jamil Al Turkmani, riding SAS Alexis, a horse belonging to the Dubai-based Al Fazaa Endurance Team, finished third while Al Reef's Sultan Ahmad Al Beloushi was fourth on Cameo Zinnia.
Ponton, crowned world champion earlier this month in Terengganu, Malaysia, blamed the lazy attitude of her horse Antares Sauveterre for her fifth-place finish.
"He is very lazy and does not like to challenge. But I must admit the pace was crazy. I think Antares Sauveterre is more of a 160-kilometre horse," said the Dubai-based Spanish ace.
Thaleb Dhaher Al Muhairi, Secretary General of the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, and Ali Mousa Al Khamiri, General Manager of Dubai Equestrian Club, sponsors of the ride, gave away the trophies and the keys to three cars for the top three riders.
* 1. Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri (Berloiz de Piboul) 4hrs 44 mins 49 secs. Average speed: 25.28 kmph.
* 2. Yousuf Ahmad Al Beloushi (Charlandre El Sharif) 4:53.02 (24.57 kmph);
* 3. Fauiz Jamil Al Turkmani-KSA-(SAS Alexis) 5:10.10 (23.21 kmph)
* 4. Sultan Ahmad Al Beloushi (Cameo Zinnia) 5:17.06 (22.71 kmph)
* 5. Maria Alvarez Ponton (Antares Sauveterre) 5:18.42 (22.59kmph)