His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who attended the ride along with Dubai Crown Prince HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of UAE National Olympic Committee attended the ride, praised the high standard of the event.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed praised the hard work of the Organising Committee of the Wathba Challenge ride and said, “The true winners are the organizers. The organization was perfect and the technical and medical committees were impartial and fair.”
Speaking to Yas Sports Channel, Sheikh Mohammed added: “This is the standard of organization that we have been looking for and hopefully the same would continue to develop the sport.”
“Endurance horse trainers have sent their best horses and this was very natural since the race is big and takes place at the beginning of the season. The competition was very tough,” he said.
Regarding the newly introduced rules and regulations, Sheikh Mohammed said they are crucial for the progress of the discipline and any fair regulations would be satisfactory for everybody.
“The horses are only 60 percent ready and not beyond that. We need more races for the horses to show their true potential,” he said. Commenting on one of his star endurance horses, Sheikh Mohammed said, “Ramah needs at least two to three races to reach its best form, but he may take part in the National Day Cup next week in Al Wathba.
It was a second win for the pair as Al Mazroui and Rakan had won a 100-km Abu Dhabi Festival Endurance Ride for Private Owners earlier in March this year at the end of the previous 2014-15 season while the UAE rider had also won the FEI World Championship for Young Horses on Descarado at the Italian Endurance Festival 2015 in Verona in September this year.
In Saturday’s ride, sponsored by National Feed And Flour Production And Marketing Co. LLC, the top six riders were all presented with the keys to a brand new 4WD car each.
Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and member of the ride’s said he is delighted with the words of HH Sheikh Mohamed and urged the trainers and riders to do more pointing out that the improving weather conditions have also contributed to the success of the race.
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) thanked Their Highnesses for attending the race saying that it was a great success considering the big numbers of participants from the different stables.
“We had 138 riders and horses starting in this event and I thank the sponsors who have supported the Festival and the endurance races. They are the true partners of the Festival’s success,” Ms Sawaya said.
Results (Top six) of the Wathba Challenge, CEN 120 Km Endurance Ride held at the Emirates International Endurance Village, Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi
Sponsored by: National Feed And Flour Production And Marketing Co. LLC
Saif Ahmed Al Mazroui(UAE)-Rakan-4hrs 30 mins 52 secs;
Saif Sultan Abdulla Dhahi Al Buamim(UAE)-Waiata Krystal- 4:30.54;
Sheikh Hamed Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum(UAE)-Quid Du Barthas-4:33.16;
Maeva Valentin(FRA)-Quel De Lohele-4:34.01
Ali Mohd Ali Al Hosani(UAE)-Wainui Waadi-4:35.04
Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahoori(UAE)- Mashhoura- 4:36.01