ROYAL Endurance Team captain Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa finished fourth place overall in the first round of the 120-km Endurance Horseride Grand Prix yesterday at the Emirates International Endurance Village, Al Wathba, in Abu Dhabi, writes RAMI HULAYYEL.
Forty six riders from Bahrain and the UAE took part in the first of a three-race series being organised for the first time by the Bahrain Royal Equestrian Endurance Federation (Breef) in co-operation with the UAE Equestrian Federation.
Only 18 riders could finish the race which was divided into five stages - 32 kms, 30 kms, 24 kms, 18 kms and 16 kms.
The hosts dominated the podium yesterday with Abdulla bin Hazim winning the race in four hours, 58 minutes and 10 seconds.
Behind him was UAE's presidential affairs Minister Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (5:08:34) while compatriot Ahmed bin Harmash (5:13:06) was third.
Riding Omsura Nasrohn, Shaikh Nasser was among five of Bahrain's top riders in this prestigious event which is only open to riders over 75 kgs.
Shaikh Nasser had steered the same horse to victory in the Opening Season Championship held last month,
Shaikh Nasser, the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation president, finished the race in 5:16.51.
Federation's first vice-president and captain of Al Khaldiya Stables Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa had to pull out of the race in the second stage as his horse was exhausted.
The remaining Bahraini riders in the fray were Ghazi Al Dossary (5:33:40) who was eighth overall while both Shaikh Salman bin Saqer Al Khalifa and Abdulhaq Qadoori were unable to complete the race.
Among the leading riders from the UAE were UAE's vice-president, prime minister and Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum who finished fifth overall.
Shaikh Mohammed's son Shaikh Hamdan, who entered the race as one of the leading contenders for the title, had to pull out in the first stage following an injury to his horse.
The event was witnessed by a number of Breef board members headed by Endurance Committee chairman Shaikh Faisal Rashid Al Khalifa.
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