Saturday, February 07, 2009

UAE: Khan wins 120km endurance race

By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
February 07, 2009

Dubai: Roshan Ali Siraj Khan turned hero for the hundreds of work riders based in many endurance stables here in the UAE when he won the 120km Shaikh Saeed Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Challenge endurance ride at the Dubai International Endurance City in Seih Assalam.

The 24-year-old, who is a work rider in the Hadaybit Assalam Stables owned by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, improved with each of the five stages to win from a strong field of riders.

Riding an 11-year-old grey gelding, Kalkadoon Vagabond that was trained by Hassan Bin Ali, Khan completed the 120km ride in four hours 28 minutes at an average speed of 24.72km per hour.

UAE national team riders and Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi and Mohammad Ahmad Ali Al Subose finished second and third respectively on a day when the early morning cool weather turned sultry later in the day before changing to chilly conditions.

But Khan, whose previous best was a fifth place finish last year, finished the first stage of 32km in 28th position, was 11th after 63km and after the third loop and 90km, managed to move into sixth position. The Indian rider from the desert state of Rajasthan, which is also famous for the Marwari breed of horses, was third after the penultimate stage and went on to finish ahead of his better known rivals.

"My horse gave me the feeling that he would do well after the first stage. I have been riding ever since I came here there years ago but today's result was fantastic," said the winner who drew the loudest cheers while receiving the trophy and the keys to a four wheel drive vehicle.

Ali Muhairi, who finished second, said the changing weather affected his horse.

"However I am pleased with this result and I am looking forward to the President's Cup in Abu Dhabi next week," he said.
Results (top five) of yesterday's Shaikh Saeed Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Challenge 120-km endurance ride: Roshan Ali Shiraj Khan-India-(Kalkadoon Vagabond) 4hrs 48mins 53secs; Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi (Garaman Mikado) 4:49.16; Mohammad Ahmad Ali Al Sabousi (India Eskalonik) 4:53.31; Abdullah Thani Bin Huzaim (Xandu Haj Buba) 4:54.27; Mohammad Jasim Rahimi (Whyneemah Jaspah) 4:57.37.

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