Tarbes, France: The Al Shaqab Endurance Team launched their 2009 French riding campaign in the first week of August posting impressive results in the competition held in Tarbes in the south of France.
Represented in two events that marked Al Shaqab’s first European competition of 2009, the team signalled they are ready for their French campaign.
They dominated the CEI 90km race by sweeping the top three finishes and were equally impressive in the gruelling CEI 130km Qatar Challenge event with a hard-fought second place effort.
Hamad Rashid al-Marri led the team to the impressive silver-medal finish in the prominent 130km competition.
The 20-year-old, aboard Muse du Real, covered the course in 7:19.52. The competition featured riders from France, Spain and Switzerland. The hilly course was an obvious challenge as 48 riders began the event and only 22 completing the race.
Hamad used a strategy of a slow early pace to tactfully move up during the competition and secure second.
Seventh after the first loop, Hamad gradually moved up to fifth at the next loop and was second by the third a position he held to the finish.
The team was phenomenal sweeping the top finishes in the CEI 90km competition. Hassan Tahous al-Nuaimi, a 21-year-old led the charge to register his first win of the year.
Aboard Bahia Cathare, Hassan covered the distance in 4:53.21.
He was followed by the rising talent of 13-year-old Faleh al-Subaey, who guided his mount Alhoa Zelus to a finish in 5:05.59. Close behind was Faleh Nasser Abugnaim, who piloted his mount Koheilan Bonita to third in 5:06.04.
The 19-year-old Abughenaim has been extremely consistent this year with a string of second place finishes in competitions held in Qatar.
The event attracted 38 international riders with the majority 27, able to complete the entire race.
Coming off a highly successfully 2008 campaign, highlighted by a second-place, silver-medal finish in the World Endurance Championship in Terengganu, Malaysia, the team is preparing for the prestigious European Endurance Championships.
Viewed as the most important competition of the year, the event will be held in Assisi, Italy on September 26.
The event attracted top riders and teams from five continents and will serve as a major preparation for the 2010 World Endurance Championship to be held in Lexington, Kentucky in the United States.- Agencies