Friday, March 20, 2009

UAE: Maria Rides Antares Sauveterre to Victory

Khaleej Times
March 19 2009

ABU DHABI - World Endurance champion Maria Alvarez Ponton won the Al Jaber Group Endurance Cup for ladies, winning the UAE CEN 92km Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village, Al Wathba on Friday. Spaniard Maria, astride 13-year-old Antares Sauveterre, from the Emirates Stables, finished with a time of three hours, 21 minutes and one second. The average speed was 27.46.

The event was held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs and the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. Latifa Al Shaikh of Saudi Arabia, astride 13-year-old Coolaroo Jubal from the Al Reef Stables, was second with a timing of 3:21.52 seconds. Layla Abdul Aziz Al Redha of the UAE, was third. Layla, astride Kerria Du Vrihou, finished with a time of 3:21.59 seconds. UAE’s Reem Shaban Ibrahim Hasan came in fourth. Reem, riding Sharahd Sataka from the Al Reef Stables, had a time of 3:26.22 seconds. Argentina’s Ana Lia Mendez, astride Benaur Tom Dooley, from the Emirates Stables, was fifth. Maria, who rode Antares Sauveterre to victory in the 90km Dubai Equestrian Club Endurance Challenge for Ladies, at the end of February, stamped her class again. She finished second to start off with, after the first loop of 32km. But after that, Maria, who won the silver and her husband Jaume Punti Dachs the bronze in the European Championship, moved to the top spot and held position for the remaining three loops.

But the most thrilling Ride of the day was form Latifa Al Shaikh of Saudi Arabia. Having finished the first loop in 10th position, Latifa fought back in fine fashion. She jumped five spots up to fifth after the second loop and moved to fourth at the end of the third loop and finished second. Layla Abdul Aziz Al Redha too fought back well. Finishing the first loop in seventh spot, Layla moved to third after the second stage.

Results: Maria Alvarez Ponton (Esp) (Antares Sauveterre) (Emirates Stables) 3:21.01s; Latifa Al Shaikh (KSA) (Coolaroo Jubal) (Al Reef Stables) 3:21.52s; Layla Abdul Aziz Redha (UAE) (Kerria Du Vrihou) (Shaikh Faisal bin Saqr Al Qasimi) 3:21.59s; Reem Shaban Ibrahim Hasan (UAE) (Sharahd Sataka) (Al Reef Stables) 3:26.22s; Ana Lia Mendez (Arg) (Benaur Tom Dooley) (Emirates Stables) 3:42.04s.

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