By Ahmed Tariq
January 20, 2013
DUBAI: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, witnessed the sixth edition of the Endurance race championship (Cup Mohammed Bin Rashid capacity) held at the Dubai International Endurance, along with Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, and Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, President of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and president of the Olympic Committee of Bahrain on Saturday.
Abdullah Ghanim Al Merri retained the title for the second time in a row, after clocking a time of 6:01:19 hours on “Blaine” from Nad Al Sheba stables, a difference of only one second from Saeed Ahmed Al Jaber Al Harbi, who came second on “Eclipse” of Stables team Fazza, while the third winner Italian Marco Sardo, clocked a time of 6:05:13.
For Abdullah Al Merri Cup champion the race came too hard at all levels especially the third stage in which his horse "Blaine" was nervous but he overcame this hurdle, getting better from one stage to another and making the final stage easier than the first four stages.
Merri followed the directions of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, which had a positive impact on the progress gradually from the back where he started the race in 16th place.
He then climbed to eighth place before falling to ninth in the stage before last where he jumped back to the third place before attacking a lead in the final stage. The champion revealed that this race was the first win of “Blaine” who gave a good performance.
He continued, “I am trying to win the title for the third time next year, while my next goal is to participate in the Cup of His Highness the Head of State and compete for the title.”
Second-placed Saeed Al Harbi was pleased with his rise to the podium in the Cup Mohammed Bin Rashid Endurance Cup, explaining that before the start of the race he did not expect to achieve this accomplishment, especially with the horse “Eclipse” racing in the 120 kilometres. “It was the first time Eclipse ran in the 160 km race, so I did not expect to complete the race,” he said.
For Al Harbi the third stage was the most difficult because of the strong competition between the jockeys and the entry of a large number on the last leg of the race, but managed to continue with the convoy and won the second place, one second behind the champion.
“This is the best result for me this season and I hope to achieve more accomplishments in the upcoming races this season, highlighted by His Highness the President Cup state,” he said.
Mohammed Issa Alaill, Deputy Director General of Dubai Equestrian Club, said: “The race saw a wide participation of the elite riders in the world for endurance, but the high level and determination by the riders of the state reflects their eagerness to compete strongly to win the trophy.”
He added: “Today’s race is the longest and the highest rated in terms of agenda of the Dubai International Endurance International Union, and suited for historic wins.”
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