For second successive year Uruguayan rider Jonatan Rivera Iriarte won the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup 100 Km Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba, here on Saturday.
Iriarte, who won this race last year on Al Salem, repeated the feat but this time his winning partner was eight-year-old cross-bred mare HH Ciabu, representing Al Ain Endurance Stables.
Iriarte and HH Ciabu completed the first 40-km loop in 15th place, then moved into 5th place after the next 40-kms and then sped away to win from the UAE’s Rashid Mohammed Ebrahim Al Baloushi on Cesar Cost for Zabeel Stables. Matar Saeed Mohammed Al Kaabi onboard Em Caco finished third while Argentina’s Martina Spelanzon and Sabrina Mendiz took the next two spots.
The top five riders drove away brand new 4WD cars each which were presented by the festival and for Argentina’s Martina Spelanzon it was the second 4WD car she was winning in as many days after she won on Friday for her third place finish in the 100-km Sheikha Fatma bint Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Ladies Endurance Cup.
The winner covered the distance in three hours, 25 minutes and 53 seconds at an average speed of 29.14 kmph in the 100-km event which had attracted a total of 118 riders.
The race was attended by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Advisor and Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikha Fatma bint Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan gave away the prizes and trophies for the winners. The crowning ceremony was also attended by Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairman of the Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairman of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committee in the Int’l Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR).
“I would like to dedicate my win to Saeed Suhail Al Yabhouni, owner and trainer of the Al Ain Stables for the precious confidence which he has put on me by giving me the opportunity to take part in this important competition,” said the Uruguayan later.
“The strategy and directives of the trainer coupled with his hard work to prepare the horse for the race have made my job very easy. The toughest part of the race was the final loop where all riders increased the speed to secure an early lead, but my horse was the best of all,” he added.
Al Yabhouni was over the moon to see his horse crossing the line ahead of the others and said: “Despite the grueling nature of the competition, our horse proved his class and lived up to our expectations,” he said.
Ms Lara Sawaya commented: “It was a successful race thanks to the good performance and commitment of the riders. Everything was fine and great right from the big crowd, the families and their children who have enjoyed the fun activities on the sidelines.”
“Three UAE lady riders who have claimed top places in the Sheikha Fatma bint Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Cup on Friday will unite with the four members to make up the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s team which will take part in the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Endurance Mundial in Bahrain and Italy,” she said.
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 The National Archives 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 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 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, Omeir Travels and Racing Post.
Results (top five) of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup CEN 100 Km Endurance Ride held on Saturday 28th February 2015:
Jonatan Rivera Iriarte-URU- (HH Ciabu) 03hrs 25mins 53 secs
Rashid Mohammed Ibrahim Al Baloushi (Cesar Cost) 03:26:51
Matar Saeed Mohammed Al Kaabi (Em Caco) 03:28:30
Martina Spelanzon-ARG- ( Raymar Ali) 03:30:47
Sabrina Magali Mendiz –ARG-(Wally) 03:31:50