Abu Dhabi gears up for Endurance National Day Cup

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UAE lady rider Aya Abdulla Reda Ishaq Ali, partnered Craig Royston O Ryan to victory in the second edition of the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup – for Arab Countries Only – at the Emirates International Village at Al Wathba on Saturday.

The race was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affaires.

The CEN 90km ride was held under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as part of the Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival. It has also marked the celebrations of the 41stanniversary of the National Day as the world’s richest ladies endurance ride which carried a total of purse of Dhs800,000 in prize-money.

After the end of the race, Ahlam Al Mana, president of Qatar Women’s Sports Committee, Mohsin Al Dosri, assistant unders ecretary of the General Authority of the UAE Authority for Sports and Youth Welfare, Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director general of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and head of International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) Ladies Racing, Stephen Bowey of Invest AD, Dr Nader Saab and Maan Abu Salah of Samawi Neon, gave away the prizes.

The event was contested by 78 lady riders from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Tunisia and Sudan. It was run over four stages clearly marked in yellow (30 km), red (24 km), orange (20 km) and white (16 km).

The brilliant teenager Aya gave her mount, the 11-year-old Craig O Royston every a great ride to land the trophy for the in-form Al Reef Stables. She covered the distance in three hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds with an average speed of 27.919 kph, chased home by compatriot Fatma Jassem Saeed Al Marri astride Trouble Maker, representing Seeh Al Salam Endurance Stables, who finished less than three minutes behind in 03:16.20.

Sheikha Najla bint Salman Al Khalifa, representing Bahrain, rode Magic Glenn Harpoon, of the Emirates Stables, to take third after she has clocked 3.20.58 to take third in the run of the judge.

The winner completed the first stage in second place before she rallied to lead right from the second stage and held on very strongly all the way.

Sheikha Futaim Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as wellas Bahrain’s Sheikha Maryam BintHesham Al Khalifa and SheikhaNoora Bint Isa Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa also participated in the ride.

A jubilant Aya said: This is my first win and the ride was a competitive one as it attracted quality line up from different Arab countries. From the second stage onwards I was leading and my horse was going very well. |I am very happy to win the race in my second appearance.”

Sheikha Najla said:“I have been competing in endurance races in the UAE since 2001 and this is my best finish.”

“Trainer Khalid Ali Al Shafar prepared the horse well for the competition,” she added.

Ms Laraw Sawaya introducing Hanadi Hasan Al Menhali as the second UAE female jockey for flat races said: Menhali along with first female jockey Shattra Al Hajjaj will compete in the upcoming HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) race in Oman.

The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultu re Authority and co-ordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society, supported by General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare and Fegentri with Emirates airlines as the official carrier and sponsored by Invest AD, Al Rashid Investment, Areej Al Ameerat, Mauzan, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2013,Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

Provisional results (Top 5)

Results:Aya Abdulla Reda Ishaq Ali (Craig Royson O Ryan) Al Reef Stables (3.13.25),2. Fatma Jassem Saeed Al Marri (Trouble Maker)Seeh Al Salam Stables (3.16.20), Sheikha Najla Bint Salman Al Khalifa (Emirates Stables) 03.20.58, 4. Amal Yousef Houri (Emaar Enduracne Stables) 03.21.57 , 5. Alyazia Khalid Khalifa Romaith (Al Reef Stables) 03.22.24