Abu Dhabi –His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Advisor and Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The race was held under the directives of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival with 137 riders from the UAE and elsewhere making the line-up of the gruelling challenge.
Ghanim Said Salim Al Owaisi, astride Sandine Assassin landed the 120km CEN Emirates Endurance Championship at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba here on Saturday.
The winner covered the distance in 4 hours 16 minutes and 50 seconds at an average speed of 28.03 km/hour to cross the finish line one minute ahead of runner up Rashid Mohammed Al Baloushi and behind them came Sheikh Hamad bin Dalmook Al Maktoum.
Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and chairman of the Ladies Racing Committee in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) joined by Ashraf Zeitoun, representing the sponsors Arabtec the official partner of the festival alongside the UAE lady jockey Anoud Al Suwaidi gave away the prizes and trophies for the winners.
The winner drove away a brand new car and a golden sword, the first runner up received a silver sword and the second runner up walked away with a bronze dragger. The full amount of Dh500.000 in prize-money was distributed among all the riders who have successfully completed the race.
Meanwhile, HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “The race was successful from all organisational and technical aspects. The competition was tough and underlined the readiness and good shape of the horses in the fray.”
“This sport is part of our culture and heritage and the people of the UAE are following in the footsteps of the principles which have been laid down by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” he added.
Speaking about the festival, HH Sheikh Mansoor clarified: “The events and activities of the festival have contributed to the promotion of the Arabian horses and encouraged the breeders and owners to be represented in the various equine events.”
The winner on his part dedicated the victory to His Highness Sheikh Moahmmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai pointing out that this success was an outcome of the support and directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Lara Sawaya commented: “The fixtures of the new season of the festival’s events would be announced in a special news conference at the Eastern Mangroves Jannah at the festival’s wing in Abu Dhabi on Friday. The conference will be held to announce Union’s Cup for the private stables only (for local citizens). The race will be held on January 4 at the Emirates International Endurance Village. The details of the endurance championship in Portugal which will be held under the umbrella of the festival from April 25 to 27, 2014 will also be announced.”
Sawaya meanwhile, thanked Arabtec, the official partner of the festival, for its sponsorship of the race.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is organized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare and Fegentri with Arabtec Holding PJSC as the Official Partner and Emirates airlines as the official carrier and sponsored by Invest AD, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Al Rashid Investment, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2014, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah and Racing Post.