UAE top rider Ali Reyad Saleh Al Kaabi, astride Tacka, made every move to land the CEI 120km ** National Day Cup endurance race for the Seih Assalam Endurance Stables at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba here on Saturday.
The prestigious ev ent was attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, HH Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affaires, HH Shaikh Dr. Hazza bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and HH Shaikh Zayed bin Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The event was held under the directives of HH Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan and has attracted a quality field of 147 riders representing UAE and other parts of the world, led by HH Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and with the support of the Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and sponsored by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, AD Investment and Areej Al Ameerat.
The riders from both sexes lined up for the gruelling race which was contested over 120km divided into five stages of 33km, 27 km, 24 km, 20 km and 16 km.
Al Kaabi riding his nine-year-old gelding Tacka covered the distance in 4 hours 1 9 minutes and 11 seconds at an average speed 27.78 of kmph. Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri, riding Lourizon Frost from Al Wathba Stables finished second in 4 hours 20 minutes and 20 seconds.
The third place went to Narpat Singh Prabhu Singh Rathore from India who partnered Idaho Wicktor from Dubai Endurance Stables having finished in a time of 4:20:35 seconds.
Omani contender Khamis Abdullah Al Baloushi aboard Jabbar from Dubai Endurance Stables took the fourth place clocking 4:22.17seconds and the fifth place went to Khalid Ali Al Shafar who was riding Orman De Cardonne from Al Reeh Endurance Stables in 4:34:43econds.
The winner finished the first loop in 30thplace before he advanced to the 26 th position by the end of the second Vet. Gate. He later made a good progress to finish 15th in the third loop and he was promoted to fifth in the penultimate stage before he hit the front to lead and hold on very strongly in the concluding stage.
Al Kaabi walked away with a brand new FWD car plus a major share in the prize-money.
“This is my first win and I’m delighted to lift this prestigious National Day Cup which drew some of the best known endura nce riders from UAE and elsewhere. I was confident of winning as my horse Tacka from the in-form Seih Assalam Stables was always going well and he did never let me down when I have asked him to improve. He’s a nice smart and a strong horse with a very big heart,” said Al Kaabi who is also a professional and dedicated trainer.
Meanwhile, Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club thanked their highnesses the Shaikhs for attending the race and encouraging the riders.
“We were truly delighted to see Dubai Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum taking part in the race,” he added.
Lara Sawaya, director of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Head of (IFAHR) Ladies Racing said: “The administrative and media representatives of the festival will highlight the successful experience before the Polish Parliament Members. The delegation will explain the marketing plans of the events as well.”
Prizes worth Dhs500,000 including a car were presented to the top finishers by Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director general of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Lara Sawaya, director of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Head of International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing (IFAHR) Ladies Racing, Ali Al Mulla, chairman of Areej Al Amerat and Saif Al Awani, managing director of Al Awani, Stephen Bowey from Invest AD and Maan Abu Salah from Samawi Neon