Saturday, March 14, 2009

UAE: Hassan Bin Ali swoops late to win

Gulf News

By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
Published: March 14, 2009, 23:03

Abu Dhabi: The experienced Hassan Bin Ali unleashed terrific pace in the final loop astride Wer Krass to win the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) Emirates Championship endurance ride on Saturday.

A well-known sportsman of the UAE, the former car-racer who has won many an endurance ride in the UAE and abroad, was third going into the final loop of 16kms in the 119-km event, which attracted 85 riders to Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.

Leading from the start, Dhahi Abdullah Khamis Al Dhahi on Omani Iman topped the first four stages and went into the final stage almost a minute ahead of Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri in the second place while Bin Ali was two and a half minutes behind.

Bin Ali and his 9-year-old horse had until the final stage registered an average speed of 25.59km/h which was commendable under the dusty conditions.

However he seemed to have paced his horse well as Wer Krass moved from 13th in the first stage to third in the penultimate and was still in good shape.

Wer Krass obliged his rider with an amazing average speed of 30.51km/h on the final 16km, sealing victory.

Al Dhahi on Omani Iman finished second only ten seconds behind the winner.

"This horse is owned by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, and I have to thank him for all the support he gives us. Though I did come close a few times, today's win is the first for this season," said Bin Ali.

"Last year I won the Sorouh Cup here and for today's win I have to give full credit to my horse Wer Krass," said Bin Ali, who received the keys to a 4WD car for his win.

Rashid Salem Mohammad Al Faresi on Lienka finished third.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Hamdan and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, watched the event.

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