Sunday, June 24, 2012

Great Britain: Euston Park hosts final qualifiers for Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2012

24 June 2012

Sh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum and Kurajong Concorde from the UAE headed a strong field to win the penultimate qualifier for the Longines FEI  World Endurance Championships (25th August 2012) at Euston Park, near Newmarket, Suffolk, UK. 
The pair completed the FEI CEI 3* 160km competition over August’s World Championship course in a ride time of 7hr30min14sec at an average speed of 21.32km/hr.
They won by a nose after a tight finish with Mohd Ahmad Al Subose and Kedjari Des Serres (UAE) in second place. Compatriot Mohd Saeed Mohd Al Faresi and Ainhoa Tijmili crossed the line six minutes later.

A total of 28 combinations took part in Sunday’s 160km qualifier run over the Euston Park course in the build-up to the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships. 
Organised by Janah Management, Sunday’s programme featured a CEI 3* 160 km, CEI 2* 120km, a CEI 2* YR 120km and a CEI 1* 80km, with classes on Monday including a CEI 3* 160km and CEI 2* 120km.

The ride was completed in tough conditions with strong winds and bursts of heavy rain affecting the going.

As the penultimate qualifying ride for the World Championships ahead of the deadline on 26th June, the event attracted riders from around the globe.

Having aimed to qualify ZT Richshakfy for a place on the British team, Susan Hawes sadly opted to withdraw on course on the fourth loop putting paid to her chances of qualifying for a place on the championship team in August.

"It’s a shame but he was not feeling quite right so it wasn't worth continuing - he's only 11 and there'll be another day. This course is really challenging and it will find out any niggles. I have huge respect for the horses that are out in front and still going strong - they are awesome," she said.

The other British contender Melanie Davison and CS Khan contesting their first 160km had aimed for a steady completion but also withdrew at the fourth vetgate. “This is definitely a championship course and very technical -  one minute you are in sand and the next mud and then harder tracks which means you really have to concentrate - it is tricky."

The UAE’s Saeed Ahmed Murad Al Khattal riding the Al Aasfa Stables-trained Glendaar Greystar captured the CEI 2* 120km class in fine style having led all the way from the first vetgate. The duo’s time of 5hr43min57sec was completed with a consistent performance across all five loops at an average speed of 21.28km/hr.

They were chased home by fellow UAE riders Saeed Saqr Mohd Qabir Al Ameri with Saxon of Bedain and Spain’s Nuria Serrabasa Fabre and Nasik Des Fabries.

Chris Wray, riding his first 120km with Takwenya was among four British contenders in this class finishing in 12th place behind fellow Briton Caroline Cowley with Summer Mistral.

His crew Georgina Bull said: “Takwenya only did her first 80km ride back in March and won it so we felt she was ready to do a 120km class.”

Georgina the British team riders’ osteopath said Chris, who bred the nine year old palomino, is aiming to get the horse onto the elite squad by 2014.

Georgina added: “The wet weather did not bother them. Chris found the going deep in places but just pushed on when he could and slowed down where necessary.  We used less water than we would on a hot day and mostly rugged up to keep her warm after the vet gate.”

Saeed Mod Khalifa Al Mehairi of the UAE and Gem El Gem took the top slot in the CEI 2** YR 120km at an average speed of 21.28km/hr

The 14th running of the FEI World Endurance Championships will see around 160 riders from up to 40 countries lining up for the contest around the deceptive Euston Park track.

Ian Williams, FEI Non-Olympic Sports Director, said:  “This was the third event held as part of the preparations for the Longines FEI World Endurance Championship.
 
“Despite the difficult weather conditions, the vetgate stood up to the test and ran incredibly well as did the course. The electronic timing system had its final live test and lived up to all expectations.
 
“Representatives from many nations had taken this opportunity to make their final recce of the course and venue and I can only believe that they found it to be a true championship test and will be returning home excited about beginning their countdown to the main event in August.”
 
Alongside title sponsor Longines, the Championships has the support of Dubai industry giants, Meydan and Emaar Properties as additional supporters.
With around 1000 participants, riders, crew and officials, the championship will have a significant economic impact on the area around Euston Park and the Newmarket area during the build-up and immediately post competition.