Thursday, January 14, 2010

UAE: Endurance Cup Attracts Top Riders

Kaleej Times
Hisham Al Gizouli
15 January 2010

DUBAI - Over hundred riders from UAE and Europe will line up under the early rays of the sun for the 160km FEI CEI Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup 2010 at the Dubai International Endurance City on Saturday.

The prestigious competition has attracted top 12 riders from Europe based on their European rankings including two Ex-World Cup champions.

The riders have arrived with their horses and preparations have been made to provide them with the utmost comfort.

The riders expressed their pleasure with the facility and warm welcome they have been receiving in Dubai thanks to the Arabian hospitality and friendly people and atmosphere.

According to Ali Mosa, general manager of the Dubai Equestrian Club, all arrangements have been made to stage the race.

“The distance has been divided into six phases. The Red Loop comprises 31km after which the horses should be presented twice within 20 minutes and 30 minutes hold time. The second phase through the Blue Loop runs over 30km and the same above rules for the presentation and the hold time apply. The Yellow Loop extends over 37km, followed by the Green Loop over 27km, the Pink 18km and the final White Loop over 17km,” he said.

Some of the loops have been done in previous World Cups and the others are new. The surface is a mixture grounds and the race is expected to be competitively fast.

The organisers are expecting the winner to cover the 160km in eight hours while the lazy horses may need up to 13 hours to cross the finish line. But the maximum riding time will be for 16 hours.

The pre-ride briefing will be held in the Vet Gate at 6am on the race day. The Best Condition horse will be selected from the first ten horses finishing within one hour after the first placed horse. The competition will be held approximately one hour after completion by the 10th placed horse. Any horse retires after the start must be presented to an official ride veterinarian before it.

Defending champion Ali Al Jahouri said he’s ready to defend his title but expected the race to be tough and the competition to be fierce.

“There’s nothing easy in the sport. Nobody can say he’s going to win a race or his horse is better than the other. We learned from the sport that the welfare of the horse comes first and for this reason it’s very difficult to predict what lies next,” he said.

Regarding his preparations to retain his crown, Al Jahouri said his horse is doing everything right but will happen on the ground is something different.

“We are well prepared for the competition and hopefully our plan would work and go for a back to back win for Al Wathba Stables,” he said.