Ali Mohammed Ali Al Hosani on Cyrus Nahdim got the better of Indian Nakhat Singh Deep Singh to complete a 1-2 for Al Reef Stables as the UAE’s domestic endurance season for 2015-16 got off to a rousing start at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, on Thursday.
Riding the 8-year-old grey gelding Cyrus Nahdim, Al Hosani won the 100-km CEN Al Wathba Endurance Ride in a time of 4 hrs 01 mins 17 secs and won a 4WD car for his effort.
The first five who finished the 100-km ride run in three stages of 40-km, 40-km and 20km won 4WD cars while the season got off to smooth start with the new FEI rules in place.
At the end of the two stages and 80-kms it was Nakhat Singh on Cherox Cheetah who had a five minute-plus lead over Al Hosani. But the UAE rider came up with a sizzling last loop pace of over 22kmph in the last 20km to win by 11 seconds.
The Indian rider finished second while three other UAE riders – Mohamed Obaid Mohamed Al Zeyoudi on RR Erebus, Ahmed Ali Saif Al Nassiri on Shek Des Ors and Saeed Ahmad Saeed Al Khattal on HLM Magno- took the next three spots and drove away with a 4WD each.
“I’m delighted to win the inaugural race of the season. The race was very strong and I had to be careful in the early stages. In the last loop my horse showed a lot of character and kept going and that helped me overturn the gap and finish first,” said Al Hosani.
Trainer of the winning horse Omer Al Baloushi said: “The weather became warmer in the second and third loop and for this reason I suggest the water points should be increased to cool down the horses and riders”.
Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, hailed the perfect organization of the opening race and the strong performance of the riders. Regarding the request of the riders to increase the water points, Al Nuaimi promised to consider this by creating new points every 800 metres.
“The fences were made to separate the riders from the vehicles to provide equal chances for all participants,” he added.
Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies and Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) said: “This is the opening ride of the season and we had 108 starters. It was smoothly organized and the riders and support staff will get used to the new rules.”
The top five in Thursday’s 100-km Al Wathba Endurance Ride: Ali Mohd Ali Al Hosani –UAE-(Cyprus Nahdim) $ hrs 01 mins 17 secs; Nakhat Singh Deep Singh-IND- (Cherox Cheetah) 4:01.28; Mohamed Obaid Mohamed Al Zeyoudi-UAE- (RR Erebus) 4:15.25; Ahmed Ali Saif Al Nassiri (Shek Des Ors)-UAE- 4:15.45; Saeed Ahmad Saeed Al Khattal –UAE-(HLM Magno) 4:16.38.