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 on Saturday, 5 December.
The winner covered the distance in 4 hours, 20 minutes and five seconds at an average speed of 17.683 km/h 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.
Al Jahouri had started the race from the 48th position before he made a forward move to finish 13th by the end of the second loop and improved to settle third in the penultimate stage.
“I followed my 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,” said Al Jahouri.
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.
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.