Saturday, February 28, 2009

UAE: Mohammad wins Giants Endurance

GulfNews.com
photo:Shaikh Mohammad rides to victory in the Giants Endurance Challenge at Seih Assalam on Saturday to emerge as the overall champion of the three-leg series.
By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
Published: February 28, 2009, 19:47

Dubai: It was a remarkable display of horsemanship by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai as he negotiated the dusty 'sohaili' winds, the rising temperature and a distance of 120-kms to win the third leg of the Giants Endurance Challenge and emerge overall champion.

Shaikh Mohammad, who rode 9-year-old chestnut gelding Tahhan, the same horse on which he won the second leg in Bahrain, finished a second ahead of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince riding Garaman Mikado.

With his second consecutive win for which Shaikh Mohammad earned 100 points each and with his 5th place finish in the first leg held in Abu Dhabi's Al Wathba for which he got 50 points and a bonus of ten points for riding the same horse. This gave him an overall tally of 250 points, much ahead of Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain, who finished sixth on Saturday to take his tally to 190 with Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs (who made an early exit on Saturday ) and Shaikh Hamdan finishing joint third with 150 points each.

After Mubarak Khalifa Bin Shafya had led in the first two stages of 32kms and 27kms on Saturday , Shaikh Mohammad on Tahhan led from the third loop and won convincingly though the dusty winds on the Seih Assalam desert routes made visibility poor while the rising temperatures also took its toll on many a participant.

Shaikh Mohammad and Tahhan completed the 120-km distance in 4 hours 52 minutes and 31 seconds with an average speed of 24.61 kmph.

His Majesty the King of Bahrain, Shaikh Hamad Bin Eissa Al Khalifa who gave away the Golden Sword and the Gold Kanjar to Shaikh Mohammad at the prize distribution said, "Shaikh Mohammad's win is a victory for all riders. He is very experienced and fully deserves to win."

"The UAE has always been supportive of endurance in other Gulf countries. The difference between the UAE and other countries in endurance is that the speed here is very high," Shaikh Hamad said.

Shaikh Mohammad said it was a tough ride and the conditions were challenging. "But our riders do have the experience to handle them. It was the 'Sohaili' winds today and the sand storm did make it difficult for the horses. My horse Tahhan was in good shape and was always in good condition through the ride. He has been training well and today he was good," Shaikh Mohammad said.

Shaikh Hamdan, who had finished third in Bahrain and earned 70 points for that, added another 80 points to his tally with his second place finish today. "The penultimate stage was very tough but my horse managed to stay fit and I am glad with this result," he said.

Points tally after the three rounds of the Giants Endurance Challenge (Body Weight) ide series:

1. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (260 points)
2. Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa (Bahrain) (190 points)
3. Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (150 points)
3. Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum (150 points)

Saturday's final round results:

- Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Tahhan) 4hrs 52 mins 31 secs
- Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Garaman Mikado) 4:52.32
- Mubarak Abdullah Al Beloushi (Estaban) 5:01.06
- Buti Mohammad Khalifa Al Marri (Aratahnes Legend) 5:06.50
- Shaikh mayed Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Hungares) 5:07.20
- Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa (Omsura Nasrohn) 5:09.38

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