Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri, astride Arabian mare Minute for the Al Wathba Stables, worked his way through to land the National Day Cup CEN 120km Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba here on Saturday.
The winner covered the distance in 4 hours, 20 minutes and five seconds at an average speed of 17.683 km/ hour and finished just a fraction of a second ahead of the French contender Maeva Vaslentin, onboard Arabian gelding Zenith Des Pins from the Mubarak Al Arti Stables.
Abdulla Ganim Al Marri was five seconds behind in third place onboard Quran Al Ulm, representing F3 Stables.
The race was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, HH Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Advisor and HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The winners were crowned by Noura Al Suwaidi, UAE Women’s Union, Dr. Abdulla Al Rayese, National Archive, Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, ADEC, Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) along with Mohammed Abdulla of Al Masoud, Musallam Al Amri and Mubarak Al Amri from Al Jazeera Stables.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum congratulated the winners and said that the upcoming race for the local riders on December 12 will see a strong competition between the different stables.
Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan thanked the organizers for the perfect job pointing out that the UAE races are staged to the satisfaction of the FEI.
“I’m happy with the fast growth of the sport and the great performance of the UAE and other riders,” he added.
Meanwhile, the winner started the race from the 48th position before he made a forward move to finish 13thby the end of the second loop and improved to settle third in the penultimate stage.
“I have followed the instructions and finally the strategy has worked,” the winner said. “The welfare of the mare was the utmost priority and Minute lived up to the challenge.
“The race was tough and the competition was very strong. I’m truly delighted with the performance of my mare. She picked up nicely and did everything right when it mattered on the line,” Khalifa added.
Trainer Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri was over the moon to win it for the stables of Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“The mare didn’t let me down. She has been doing very well and I have expected Minute to win. She was also going well and responded keenly when the competition got intense in the final stages. It was a matter of 0.001 second that has made all the difference,” he concluded.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Yas Channel, Omeir Travels, Racing Post, Paris Turf and Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics.