May 06, 2012
ISA Al Hazza was a surprise winner in the Season Ending Endurance Horse Ride Championship yesterday.
Some of Bahrain's elite riders competed in this 120-km night ride, which was held at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir. But it was the Royal Endurance Team who dominated the show, securing a 1-2 finish as they lived up to their top billings.
Riding Garibha, Al Hazza completed the five-stage ride on top in five hours, 21 minutes and 31 seconds and with a 22-km per hour average speed.
Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Royal Endurance Team captain, followed his teammate in second place on Warraba in 5:38:09 and with an average speed of 21-km per hour.
Sultan Salim Al Hadhrami, representing Al Asayel Stable, rounded off the podium by coming third on Sche in 5:49:40 and with a 20-km per hour average speed.
The Royal Endurance Team riders headed into the concluding event of the season as favourites.
Indeed they lived up to many expectations as team member Ahmed Abdulla led the 30-km first stage in 1:13:27.
He was closely followed by Mohammed Abdulsamad (1:17:19) of Al Khalidia Stable and Shaikh Nasser (1:18:00) in second and third places, respectively.
Shaikh Nasser then moved up to top spot at the end of the second stage, which was also over 30 kms in 1:18:31.
The Royal Endurance Team skipper completed the stage ahead of Shaikha Najla bint Salman Al Khalifa (1:19:07) of Ahmed Al Fateh Stable, who came second, while Al Hazza (1:19:26) was third.
In the 20-km third stage, Shaikh Nasser extended his lead to 54 minutes and four seconds, while Shaikha Najla (52:56) and Al Hazza (52:54) maintained second and third position, respectively.
Shaikh Nasser held on to his solid lead after finishing the fourth and penultimate stage, which also covered 20 kms in just 57:33 minutes.
Al Hazza (57:39) climbed into second place, followed by Shaikha Najla (1:01:48), who slipped to third
Shaikha Najla, however, was eliminated from the race after failing to pass the veterinary examination after the fourth stage.
Excitement mounted in the 20-km fifth and final stage as Al Hazza took over the lead from Shaikh Nasser in the final moments to capture the trophy.
The prize-presentation ceremony took place at the endurance village right after the race.
It was attended by Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who honoured the top three riders.
Shaikh Khalid also presented certificates of recognition to members of the veterinary commission in appreciation of their efforts in making the event an all-round success.
Veterinarians from Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman were part of the organising committee. The commission has nine members, headed by president Dr Yassine Motemri of Tunisia.
Other members are Mohammed Al Hammad, Mohammed Al Daen, Kuldip Kuhad, Zahid Rafiq, Ebrahim Yousif, Sabah Al Kabie, Abu Obaidah Yacoob and Abdelrahman Abu Shook.