Saturday, May 02, 2009

Bahrain: Al Radhi races to victory

By Rami Hulayyel, Posted on » Sunday, May 03, 2009

SALMAN Isa Al Radhi of Hawar Stables clinched victory in the 120-kilometre Endurance Horseride Championship, the end of season endurance event, which concluded at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir yesterday morning.

Riding Aqaba St Nicholas, Al Radhi completed the five-stage night race on top in a time of five hours, 24 minutes and 25 seconds and an average speed of 21.19 kms per hour.

Al Radhi put up a remarkable show in the last stage where he finished almost six minutes ahead of his main opponent Abdulla Al Khatri (5:30:22) of Al Asayel Stable who came second on Faras Kaoma.

Rounding up the podium was Rachael Almeras, the first girl contestant to complete the championship. Riding Aargyle, the Royal Endurance Team rider clocked a total ride time of 6:03:26 and an average speed of 19.81 kms per hour.

The event, which was held under the patronage of Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, started with 82 riders from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain taking part.

However, 45 riders were unable to complete the race as 17 were eliminated after the first stage, 15 in the second, 11 in the third and two in the fourth stage.

Al Khatry took the lead in the 30-km first stage in one hour, 19 minutes and 33 seconds. Behind him was Jaffer Merza (1:20:51) of the Royal Endurance Team in second place and Homoud Salman Al Shammari (1:22:27) third.

Al Khatri maintained his momentum in the second stage, which was also over 30 kms, where he stayed ahead with a total ride time of 2:44:25.

Merza kept his pressure on Al Khatri by taking second position in 2:46:11 while Al Radhi moved up to third with a 2:48:43 total ride time.

In the third stage, which was over 25 kms, Al Radhi improved on his standings by taking second place with a total ride time of 3:40:44, just about 30 seconds behind leader Al Khatri while Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalid Al Khalifa of the Royal Endurance Team jumped to third in 3:45:57.

Al Radhi took over the lead from Al Khatri in the penultimate stage which was over 20 kms. Al Radhi's time was 4:33:29, just 10 seconds ahead of Al Khatri who slipped to second. Isa Hazza from Al Asayel Stable made a good leap by moving up to third in 4:33:39.

There was no stopping Al Radhi who held on to his lead in the fifth and final stage which was over 15kms to record his first win in the season.

The awarding ceremony was held right after the race and was attended by Shaikh Nasser and other Breef officials who honoured the winners. Presenting the trophies were Breef general secretary Ghalib Al Alawi, media director Tawfeeq Salehi and Breef member Fahad Al Rumaihi.

Shaikh Nasser said he was thrilled with the level of competition at the race and congratulated the winners and wished other riders success next season.

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