Gulf Daily News
By RAMI Hulayyel
THE Bahrain Royal and Equestrian Federation (Breef) will be organising the first-ever 120-km Endurance Horseride Grand Prix starting next week.The first of this three-round event will be held on Saturday at Emirates International Endurance Village, Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi while Dubai and Bahrain will host the remaining two rounds which are yet to be scheduled.
The Dubai round will be held at the Dubai International Endurance City in Seih Assalem while the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir will host the Bahrain round.
The first round at the Emirates International Endurance Village will coincide with the National Day Cup which is scheduled for the same day.
The 120-km ride, which will be divided into five stages, is expected to attract some of the world's best riders and horses apart from huge participation from other GCC countries.
The championship was announced last night by Breef president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa at a Press conference held at Banyan Tree premises in Sakhir.
"This is a new idea of having Grand Prix endurance races like in the Formula One and it's just a beginning to have two countries hosting three different rounds," said Shaikh Nasser who confirmed his participation in this prestigious event.
"We are planning to have this championship on an annual basis and hopefully more countries will be included in the future," said Shaikh Nasser.
Shaikh Nasser said Breef will be inviting top officials and riders from all over the world as either participants or guests to witness this year's event. He added that this year's championship is expected to finish before March.
The Breef chief said the rider to accumulate the highest number of points at the end of three rounds will be crowned overall champion.
"It doesn't matter if you take part in one, two or all three races to win this competition. The idea is to get more points to become the champion," added Shaikh Nasser.
"The Grand Prix is open to all riders of all nationality. All are welcome to take part," he said.
In this specialised category of riding, every rider must weight 75 kgs or above without riding equipment and must be registered with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
Shaikh Nasser said the federation decided to organise this championship after it was approved by the FEI last year.
"We submitted our proposal to the international federation which agreed to have this kind of event under its umbrella."
Shaikh Nasser thanked UAE prime minister, vice-president and the ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his support to getting this event underway.