Argentina’s Sabrina wins Al Reef Cup

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Argentinean Sabrina Magali Mendiz, astride 11-year-old Part Arab gelding Spaucay, representing Al Reef Stables won the Al Reef Cup CEN 120km Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba on Saturday.

The UAE’s early leader Salem Hamad Malhoof, riding eight-year-old Anglo Arab gelding Du Bas Four, from Al Asafa 2 Endurance Stables, was relegated to second in the final loop and behind in third place was Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi onboard 10-year-old mare JJ Princess from the F3 Stables.

The race was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makotum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Advisor and Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

The race was held under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and sponsored by the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

 covered the 120k distance 4hours, 12minutes and 24 seconds at an average speed of 28,526 km/hour to lead by just six seconds ahead of the runner up.

Sabrina finished the 40km first loop in the seventh position as 100 riders from around the world started earlier in the morning. Later, she made a quick move to take second in the second 40km loop before dropping back to finish seventh by the end of the third 20km vet gate. But, she rallied to hit the front in the fourth and last 20km loop and held on very strongly in the final stages.

Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and 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) presented the prizes and trophies to the winners.

Meanwhile, the winner said she’s delighted to see herself winning this prestigious event for the first time since her arrival into the UAE six years ago.

“I have won many races in my country, but I’m delighted to have it here as well,” she told newsmen in a post-race chat. “My best performance was second at the Dubai International Endurance City. The race was competitive and the second loop was the toughest due to the huge amount of sand. I would like to thank my trainer Abdulla Al Hammadi who has prepared the horse and told me what to do and what to let in the process. I have increased the speed in the final stage to catch up the leader and fortunately I was able to get there,” she said.

Lara Sawaya said: “Under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, we have invited 100 guests to attend the President Endurance Cup on February 14. The 18 members of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) will also be invited to attend the second meeting on February 12 at the Mangroves Hotel after the official registration of the new body with the authorities following the ratification and approval of the statute of the federation. The meeting will discuss the issues on the agenda for the upcoming period.”

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 and Racing Post.