Top Spanish rider Laian Soria Pinol on nine-year-old gelding Junte La Plata won the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival ‘s CEI Two Star 120km Al Dhafra Endurance Ride for Al Reef Stables at the Emirates Endurance International Village in Al Wathba on Saturday.
The winner covered the distance in 4 hours, 25 minutes and 34 seconds at an average speed of 27.112 km/hr to finish 17 seconds ahead of the French contender Maedve Valentin from Al Wathba Stables while the UAE’s Salem Hamad Saeed Al Kitbi from Al Asifa-2 Stables was third. It was a challenging event as only 12 riders out of 211 completed . The top nine finishers drove away nine 4WD brand new vehicles provided by the organizers.
“I’m truly delighted to win this well organised competition despite the tough challenge that I have been facing from the two riders who were second and third. I would like to thank Abdulla Hassan Al Hammadi, Al Reef Ajab Stables trainer for his hard work to prepare the horse in a very good shape,” the winner said later.
Al Hammadi noted that Pinol was riding patiently and followed the instructions to keep the horse fit all the way.
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, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai,HH Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, HH Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Advisor and HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The event was organised under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Emirates International Endurance Village.
Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairman of Ladies Racing Committee in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities ( IFAHR) and Chairman of Apprentice Jockeys and Racing in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities ( IFAHR), Salah Al Marzouqi, from the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Saif Al Awani, owner of the Al Awani General Enterprises presented the prizes and trophies to the top three winners.
Miss Lara Saway commented: “The directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan to increase the numbers of races at the Emirates International Endurance Village as well as the value of the prizes both in cash and in kind have contributed to the increase in the numbers of participants. Accordingly, we have more good horses prepared by more experienced trainers. The riders have also benefited from this by gaining more experience and exposure to keep them fit to represent the country in the international competitions under the umbrella of the festival.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is organised 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 of Youth and Sports Welfare with Arabtec Holding PJSC as the Official Partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), 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, Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, National Archives and Racing Post.