Sunday, May 02, 2010

Bahrain: Shaikh Khalid lifts endurance crown

Gulf-daily-news.com

Posted on » Sunday, May 02, 2010


ROYAL Endurance Team rider Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa won the End-of-Season Endurance Ride Championship in the early hours of yesterday at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir.

The Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) chief completed the gruelling overnight race in five hours 19 minutes and three seconds.

Riding Kintamani Ragindi, Shaikh Khalid overcame a rough start to the 120-kilometre, five stage event but managed to power ahead of the field later on.

He was seventh after the opening 30-km leg, but rose to fourth after the second 30-km sector. He was then in the top three over the next two stages, covering distances of 24 kms and 20 kms, respectively, before making his decisive push over the last 16 kms to clinch first place.

Ahead

Shaikh Khalid led fellow-Royal Team member Ahmed Abdulla Al Hazza to the finish by a mere three seconds. Al Hazza, on Tarabic Carl, was ahead for most of the race, safely holding first place from legs two through four, but lost control over the late stages.

The leading pair were followed by Abdulaziz Khalifa representing Al Asayel Stables, who was on Minit Maid. Khalifa finished the race in 5:20:47, and also overcame a poor start as he found himself 12th after stage one.

Royal Team rider Abdulrahman Mohammed Al Saad came fourth. Riding Mystic Traveller, Al Saad had a total ride time of 5:45:53. Teammate Ratan Singh on Affiniti rounded out the top five in the championship. Singh completed the event in 5:51:25.

Both Al Saad and Singh managed late surges after starting the race outside the top 10.

At the end of the ride, Shaikh Khalid and the rest of the winners were presented their respective trophies by Royal Endurance Team captain and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Shaikh Nasser congratulated Shaikh Hamad on his victory and praised him for putting on a fantastic performance. Shaikh Nasser added that Shaikh Khalid was a very deserving winner.

The championship was organised and run by Breef. It flagged off at 5pm on Friday evening.

A total of 60 riders from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia took part. The ride was originally not announced due to a possible postponement because of the outbreak of a virus that has affected many horses around Bahrain.

But after medical checks and assurances from veterinarians and under the guidance of Shaikh Khalid the event was give the go ahead.