It is the National Day Cup 120-km endurance ride on Saturday and almost every top rider in the UAE and many from around the world will be part of the starting line-up at 6.00 am at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi.
The National Day Cup, which will this time mark the 43rd anniversary of the birth of the United Arab Emirates, is one of the most prestigious rides in the UAE’s endurance calendar and is expected to see a close contest for honours over the five-stage 120-km distance.
With eleven 4WD cars on offer and a handsome amount of prize money to be shared by the top finishers, the National Day Cup has attracted over 300 entries though the final starting line-up will be finalized after the pre-race veterinary check.
The event is held under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Invest AD.
Last year’s winner was Ali Yousuf Al Hammadi on Armour Neyak, and the Wathba Endurance Stables’ rider completed the distance in four hours, 14 minutes and four seconds at an average speed of 28.33 km/hour.
Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club said: “We have received nearly 300 entries from leading UAE and international riders.”
“We are celebrating the 43rd anniversary of the National Day and on this happy occasion, we are delighted to provide plenty of good news for the contenders who will be lucky enough to take part in the ride,” he said.
“There will be 11 brand new 4WD vehicles which will be on offer to be won by the top 11 finishers,” Al Nuaimi confirmed.
The120km distance will be divided into five loops marked in blue (28km), brown (27km), red (26km), orange (23km) and white (16km).
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), National Archives, 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 and Racing Post.