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HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival 2017

Dubai International Endurance Village, Dubai, UAE. 4 – 7 January 2017.

It’s a New Year tradition that the Dubai Equestrian Club hosts the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup.

New for this year’s edition was the creation of the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival, which, besides the main attraction of the CEI3* 160km on Saturday 7 January, included a CEN 100km ladies’ race on Wednesday 4 January and a CEN 100km private race on Thursday 5 January.

Riders from abroad were invited for the events in recognition of their sporting success during the 2016 season.

The Cup highlights the commitment and drive of Sheikh Mohammed towards the sport of endurance. Visitors from abroad were once again able to sample the hospitality typical of this part of the world.

It certainly was a ‘festival’, with close to 800 entries spread over the three days.

Saturday 7 January 2017 saw the highlight of the prestigious HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival, the CEI3* 160km.

The invited riders were notably unable to challenge the locally-based teams and riders. Logically, these horses have no experience in cantering for so long in deep sand, and with the current colder weather at home their training is limited, so they don’t have the fitness of the local horses.
The finishers for each loop arrived every time in one big group, separated only a little by recovery time.

Speeds were (as expected) high, and some riders found themselves caught out because of their too-demanding strategies.
The fourth loop was 32km long and, along with the warm weather, was the big decider for placings.
It became very clear what was at stake at the start of the last loop, where the tension was building up and where the riders were required to do a final weight check.

Halfway through the final loop six horses were together, but then the overall fitness of the horses was tested to the limit. No sprint was attempted, and three horses crossed the line together.
It seems that then the racers started to have a successful recovery after such a long day and the top three passed the crucial final vet check.

Taking first place was Humaid Al Mazrooei (Rajas), who was never out of the top ten and started the final loop in third position. Mansour Al Faresi (Tiswan Fageole) started in sixth position for the last 18km, but crossed the finish line in second position. The final podium place was filled by Salem Al Kitbi (HLP Bask).

Hamad Al Kaabi (Sahem) was a dominant rider for most of the race; although he couldn’t hold his lead, he was still happy to come fifth.

“We have been working very hard for this”

Mohammed Al Subousi, M7 Endurance Stables trainer, commented: “We are very happy to do so well in such a prestigious event. You can’t forget that we’re a new stable and this is our first season. I felt that there were people who thought we didn’t have the horse to win a 160km race. An 80 or 120, yes, but not a 160… but we have been working very hard for this. Winning first the ladies’ event earlier in the week and now the CEI3* 160km in the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival is incredible. Did we use all our best horses? No, no! We plan it and we have still some good horses for the future races.”

Rashid Dalmook (Ezaaj) is a very familiar face on endurance podiums, but although he started the last loop in ninth place he struggled to fight for victory and was eliminated at the final vet check.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t his event, and he summarised it very simply: “It was a very difficult day. But that’s racing.”

 

The first race of the festival was on Wednesday 4 January with the CEN 100km ladies’ event.
Competition is always very fierce in this category, and stables approach these races in a very spirited way.

The finish at the first and second loop was always in a group, whereby the recovery time acted as a natural separation for the coming loop.

The time difference for the top five pairs at the start of the third and final loop was less than two minutes, which set the perfect stage for a thrilling finish.

The group was led by the Mendez sisters: younger sibling Milena (Flor del Caribe) started first before Sabrina (Canillita). Yet it was previously third-placed Naroa Ibanez (Shagaf) who crossed the line first with a six-second lead on second-placed Elisabeth Hardy (Dudley Dick TE), who in turn finished narrowly in front of Afra Al Suwaidi (MU de Montfluq).

A very humble Naroa commented: “From the beginning I was in the leading pack because my mare had a very good heart. I felt that at the start of the last loop I could win, and after 2 km I joined the leader who left a minute in front of me. At a certain stage, we were riding five together but I didn’t have any concern, all felt good. I didn’t really have to push. This is my first season in Dubai, since I was working before with JR Endurance [the Spanish stables of Emirates Stables trainer Jairo Rodriguez]. I really appreciate the support I got from everybody and this offered opportunity.”

“M7 Endurance Stables were unbeatable today”

Elisabeth is having a ‘high ride’ at the moment. Last week she finished in tenth position in the CEN 120km in Dubai, and in the same weekend secured a fourth place in Kuwait.
“My horse has a lot of experience but we really were the outsiders. He’s a lazy horse and I had to push him from the first loop, but today he was amazing and kept going until the end. The weather was quite difficult today with the fog. On the last loop, I succeeded in catching the lead [Elisabeth started in fifth position] and then we were five ladies fighting for the first place. It was a real contest, and finishing second is amazing. My team, Emaar Stables, did an incredible job but honestly M7 Endurance Stables were unbeatable today.”

Milena Mendez is likely to be disappointed as she left the final loop in first position but missed out on the podium.
“The race was not easy but I think we did a great job. My mare is a great horse and maybe four loops would have been better, but I know she gave everything. I started first and did almost half of the third loop alone, although with another horse next to us it might have been easier. Racing with my sister is always a pleasure, she’s helping me a lot and she does make everything easier. I’m very proud of what we did and can’t thank Al Reef Stables enough for the hard work they put into this.”

 

On Thursday, an even bigger start field was seen in the CEN 100km for private stables.
The competition is always very heated in the private races and since the stakes were so high, with impressive speeds predicted across the board, the scene was set for an intense battle.
Leader of the first two loops, Ahmed Al Jaber (Omani Quandara), couldn’t hinder the big force coming from behind him in the form of Layla Al Marzooqi (Momentum WR), and saw his podium hopes evaporate.
Layla crossed the finish line with a lead of more than a minute on Ahmad Al Shehhi (Jubana Tiger Lily). Where Layla kept her ranking for a podium place throughout, Ahmad worked his way through the field, in 22nd place after the first loop and 7th after the second one.

Abdulla Al Marri (Razam) was always in the top ten and was rewarded for his consistency with the final podium place.

It was a big day for Al Kamda Endurance Stables, claiming first and second place.
The trainer of the winners is Mansour Ibrahim Ahmed. Pio Olascoaga is one of the trainers at Al Kamda Endurance Stables and part of the winning team: “For the stable it’s very important because it’s the first time that there is a Sheikh Mohammed Cup for locals. Our bosses Mr. Saeed and Mr. Rashid Al Kamda decided together with the trainers that we wanted to claim this trophy. We were expecting to do good but then everything must work well on the day, because we know the other stables had the same intention as us. The horse that won was always in front because he had a better heart, so he can go quicker since he recovers very fast. The mare that came second was always a bit ‘late’ with the heart but we knew that she would come through in the last loop.”


Race Gallery

Image credits: Dubai Equestrian Club @EnduranceDubai (Photographer: Morhaf Al Assaf)


Results CEI3* 160km

PositionRiderNationalityHorseStable
1stHumaid Al MazrooeiUAERajasM7 Endurance Stables
2ndMansour Al FaresiUAETiswan FageoleMRM Stables
3rdSalem Al KitbiUAEHLP BaskM7 Endurance Stables

Results CEN 100km Ladies

PositionRiderNationalityHorseStable
1stNaroa IbanezESPShagafM7 Endurance Stables
2ndElisabeth HardyBELDudley Dick TEEmaar Endurance Stables
3rdAfra Al SuwaidiUAEMU de MontfluqNad Al Sheba Stables

Results CEN 100km Private

PositionRiderNationalityHorseStable
1stLayla Al MarzooqiUAEMomentum WRAl Kamda Endurance Stables
2ndAhmad Al Shehhi UAEJubana Tiger LilyAl Kamda Endurance Stables
3rdAbdulla Al Marri UAERazamZabeel Stables

HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival 2017

Dubai International Endurance Village, Dubai, UAE. 4 – 7 January 2017.

It’s a New Year tradition that the Dubai Equestrian Club hosts the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup.

New for this year’s edition was the creation of the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival, which, besides the main attraction of the CEI3* 160km on Saturday 7 January, included a CEN 100km ladies’ race on Wednesday 4 January and a CEN 100km private race on Thursday 5 January.

Riders from abroad were invited for the events in recognition of their sporting success during the 2016 season.

The Cup highlights the commitment and drive of Sheikh Mohammed towards the sport of endurance. Visitors from abroad were once again able to sample the hospitality typical of this part of the world.

It certainly was a ‘festival’, with close to 800 entries spread over the three days.

Saturday 7 January 2017 saw the highlight of the prestigious HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival, the CEI3* 160km.

The invited riders were notably unable to challenge the locally-based teams and riders. Logically, these horses have no experience in cantering for so long in deep sand, and with the current colder weather at home their training is limited, so they don’t have the fitness of the local horses.
The finishers for each loop arrived every time in one big group, separated only a little by recovery time.

Speeds were (as expected) high, and some riders found themselves caught out because of their too-demanding strategies.
The fourth loop was 32km long and, along with the warm weather, was the big decider for placings.
It became very clear what was at stake at the start of the last loop, where the tension was building up and where the riders were required to do a final weight check.

Halfway through the final loop six horses were together, but then the overall fitness of the horses was tested to the limit. No sprint was attempted, and three horses crossed the line together.
It seems that then the racers started to have a successful recovery after such a long day and the top three passed the crucial final vet check.

Taking first place was Humaid Al Mazrooei (Rajas), who was never out of the top ten and started the final loop in third position. Mansour Al Faresi (Tiswan Fageole) started in sixth position for the last 18km, but crossed the finish line in second position. The final podium place was filled by Salem Al Kitbi (HLP Bask).

Hamad Al Kaabi (Sahem) was a dominant rider for most of the race; although he couldn’t hold his lead, he was still happy to come fifth.

“We have been working very hard for this”

Mohammed Al Subousi, M7 Endurance Stables trainer, commented: “We are very happy to do so well in such a prestigious event. You can’t forget that we’re a new stable and this is our first season. I felt that there were people who thought we didn’t have the horse to win a 160km race. An 80 or 120, yes, but not a 160… but we have been working very hard for this. Winning first the ladies’ event earlier in the week and now the CEI3* 160km in the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival is incredible. Did we use all our best horses? No, no! We plan it and we have still some good horses for the future races.”

Rashid Dalmook (Ezaaj) is a very familiar face on endurance podiums, but although he started the last loop in ninth place he struggled to fight for victory and was eliminated at the final vet check.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t his event, and he summarised it very simply: “It was a very difficult day. But that’s racing.”

 

The first race of the festival was on Wednesday 4 January with the CEN 100km ladies’ event.
Competition is always very fierce in this category, and stables approach these races in a very spirited way.

The finish at the first and second loop was always in a group, whereby the recovery time acted as a natural separation for the coming loop.

The time difference for the top five pairs at the start of the third and final loop was less than two minutes, which set the perfect stage for a thrilling finish.

The group was led by the Mendez sisters: younger sibling Milena (Flor del Caribe) started first before Sabrina (Canillita). Yet it was previously third-placed Naroa Ibanez (Shagaf) who crossed the line first with a six-second lead on second-placed Elisabeth Hardy (Dudley Dick TE), who in turn finished narrowly in front of Afra Al Suwaidi (MU de Montfluq).

A very humble Naroa commented: “From the beginning I was in the leading pack because my mare had a very good heart. I felt that at the start of the last loop I could win, and after 2 km I joined the leader who left a minute in front of me. At a certain stage, we were riding five together but I didn’t have any concern, all felt good. I didn’t really have to push. This is my first season in Dubai, since I was working before with JR Endurance [the Spanish stables of Emirates Stables trainer Jairo Rodriguez]. I really appreciate the support I got from everybody and this offered opportunity.”

“M7 Endurance Stables were unbeatable today”

Elisabeth is having a ‘high ride’ at the moment. Last week she finished in tenth position in the CEN 120km in Dubai, and in the same weekend secured a fourth place in Kuwait.
“My horse has a lot of experience but we really were the outsiders. He’s a lazy horse and I had to push him from the first loop, but today he was amazing and kept going until the end. The weather was quite difficult today with the fog. On the last loop, I succeeded in catching the lead [Elisabeth started in fifth position] and then we were five ladies fighting for the first place. It was a real contest, and finishing second is amazing. My team, Emaar Stables, did an incredible job but honestly M7 Endurance Stables were unbeatable today.”

Milena Mendez is likely to be disappointed as she left the final loop in first position but missed out on the podium.
“The race was not easy but I think we did a great job. My mare is a great horse and maybe four loops would have been better, but I know she gave everything. I started first and did almost half of the third loop alone, although with another horse next to us it might have been easier. Racing with my sister is always a pleasure, she’s helping me a lot and she does make everything easier. I’m very proud of what we did and can’t thank Al Reef Stables enough for the hard work they put into this.”

 

On Thursday, an even bigger start field was seen in the CEN 100km for private stables.
The competition is always very heated in the private races and since the stakes were so high, with impressive speeds predicted across the board, the scene was set for an intense battle.
Leader of the first two loops, Ahmed Al Jaber (Omani Quandara), couldn’t hinder the big force coming from behind him in the form of Layla Al Marzooqi (Momentum WR), and saw his podium hopes evaporate.
Layla crossed the finish line with a lead of more than a minute on Ahmad Al Shehhi (Jubana Tiger Lily). Where Layla kept her ranking for a podium place throughout, Ahmad worked his way through the field, in 22nd place after the first loop and 7th after the second one.

Abdulla Al Marri (Razam) was always in the top ten and was rewarded for his consistency with the final podium place.

It was a big day for Al Kamda Endurance Stables, claiming first and second place.
The trainer of the winners is Mansour Ibrahim Ahmed. Pio Olascoaga is one of the trainers at Al Kamda Endurance Stables and part of the winning team: “For the stable it’s very important because it’s the first time that there is a Sheikh Mohammed Cup for locals. Our bosses Mr. Saeed and Mr. Rashid Al Kamda decided together with the trainers that we wanted to claim this trophy. We were expecting to do good but then everything must work well on the day, because we know the other stables had the same intention as us. The horse that won was always in front because he had a better heart, so he can go quicker since he recovers very fast. The mare that came second was always a bit ‘late’ with the heart but we knew that she would come through in the last loop.”


Race Gallery

Image credits: Dubai Equestrian Club @EnduranceDubai (Photographer: Morhaf Al Assaf)


Results CEI3* 160km

PositionRiderNationalityHorseStable
1stHumaid Al MazrooeiUAERajasM7 Endurance Stables
2ndMansour Al FaresiUAETiswan FageoleMRM Stables
3rdSalem Al KitbiUAEHLP BaskM7 Endurance Stables

Results CEN 100km Ladies

PositionRiderNationalityHorseStable
1stNaroa IbanezESPShagafM7 Endurance Stables
2ndElisabeth HardyBELDudley Dick TEEmaar Endurance Stables
3rdAfra Al SuwaidiUAEMU de MontfluqNad Al Sheba Stables

Results CEN 100km Private

PositionRiderNationalityHorseStable
1stLayla Al MarzooqiUAEMomentum WRAl Kamda Endurance Stables
2ndAhmad Al Shehhi UAEJubana Tiger LilyAl Kamda Endurance Stables
3rdAbdulla Al Marri UAERazamZabeel Stables

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