Saturday, February 14, 2009

UAE: Cousins end race in memorable finish

Gulf News
By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
Published: February 14, 2009, 23:12

photo: Yousuf Ahmad Al Bloushi (right) and Omair Hussain Al Bloushi win first and second places respectively during the HH President of the UAE Endurance Cup 160km ride.
Cousins end race in memorable finish


By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
Published: February 14, 2009, 23:12

Abu Dhabi: The Al Beloushi cousins of Yousuf Ahmad and Omair Hussain Abdullah scored a memorable 1-2 finish in the prestigious 160-km President's Cup endurance ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village here on Friday.

Yousuf partnered 160-km world record holder Charlandre El Sharif and his younger cousin Omair was on another champion endurance horse Silversprings Kabir Arwa and the two rode past the finish line hand-in-hand to reassert the supremacy of Al Reef Endurance Stables, owned by Shaikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Yousuf received a golden sword, a 4WD car and Dh250,000 for his win while Omair received a silver sword, a 4WD car and Dh200,000 for his effort. Four 4WD cars and Dh1.5 million was on offer in this 10th President's Cup, which was supported by the Breeding Stables in Normandy, France owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hydra Properties and Al Awani Enterprises.

Earlier in the morning 76 riders including 36 from all over the world started in the 160-km event which was run in six stages of 34kms, 32kms, 30kms, 24kms, 24kms and 16kms.

It was one of the strongest fields with last year's winner Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum led the UAE challenge while reigning world champion Maria Alvarez Ponton headed the international line-up.

But it was Omair Hussain Al Beloushi on Silversprings Kabir Arwa, a winner of the 120-km ride here earlier in the season, who dominated the ride from the start in each of the five loops and perhaps it was a family obligation which saw him and Yousuf Ahmad cross the line together and the verdict going in favour of the elder cousin.

However, before the two were out on the final loop, it looked like a close contest as in between Omair and Yousuf (third), it was Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi with Nasser Al Marzouki in fourth place, just three minutes separating the top four.

However in the final 16-km loop, Yousuf Ahmad on Charlandre El Sharif, the horse that wrote the record books in a 160-km ride in Dubai, moved ahead and soon joined the leader Omair and after that it was Al Reef all the way.

Nasser Al Marzouki finished third on the great champion Kaysand Farazzah, two-time winner of the President's Cup (2008, 2006) and second in 2007! He also received the keys to a 4WD car and will also share in the Dh1.5 million prize money.

Ali Al Muhairi finished fourth on Sudan, the same horse with which he had won the National Day Cup and ensured the UAE's domination of this prestigious three-star ride.

Only Maria Alvarez Ponton, with a 8th place finish, figured in the top ten

Shaikh Hamdan made an exit with just the final 16kms left while two other President's Cup winners in the past, Shaikh Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Abdullah Khamis Ali Saeed also failed to complete the ride.

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