Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bahrain: Royal Victory

Gulf Daily News

By RAMI Hulayyel

SHAIKH Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum raced to victory in yesterday's 120-km endurance horseride, the second round of the Endurance Grand Prix staged at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir.The UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai steered his horse Tahhan to top place in four hours, 53 minutes and 14 seconds following a fierce battle with Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa (4:53:53) and Dubai Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum (5:00:15) who finished second and third respectively.

Shaikh Nasser, the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation president, rode Farhoz De Paute while Shaikh Hamdan was astride Eo Fawati.

Top riders from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE competed in this challenging event.

The five-stage race started with 30 kms for each of the first two stages and was followed by a 25-km third stage. The fourth stage was over 20 kms while the fifth and concluding stage consisted of 15 kms.

Shaikh Nasser, who led the Bahraini riders, kicked off the race on a high note by finishing the first stage first in one hour, nine minutes and 43 seconds.

Having finished fourth overall in the first round held in Abu Dhabi, Shaikh Nasser completed this stage ahead of Shaikh Hamdan (1:11:16) who came second while Shaikh Mohammed (1:12:15) was third.

In the second stage, Shaikh Mohammed leapfrogged Shaikh Nasser to steal the lead in 2:25:22. Shaikh Hamdan was second in 2:25:11 while Shaikh Nasser went down to third in 2:25:22.

Shaikh Mohammed maintained his lead after the third stage which ended in his favour with a total time of 3:28:05 while Shaikh Nasser (3:29:31) moved up to second while Shaikh Hamdan (3:29:44) was third.

In the fourth stage, Shaikh Hamdan came back strongly to lead in 4:20:31, just four seconds ahead of his father Shaikh Mohammed who dropped to second while Shaikh Nasser (4:20:46) went down to third.

Shaikh Mohammed regained his lead in the fifth stage and cruised to victory.


Joining Shaikh Nasser in this five-stage race was Breef first vice-president and Al Khaldiya Stable leader Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa and other prominent Bahraini riders.

The winners were honoured at an awarding ceremony held right after the race which was attended by His Majesty King Hamad. His Majesty, who witnessed the race, congratulated the winners and wished others success in future races.

Earlier, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and National Guard Commander Shaikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa attended the flag-off along with His Majesty.

Yesterday's race was sponsored by Unicorn Investment Bank and telecast live on Bahrain Sports Channel.

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