Abu Dhabi: Tayef Atiq Sabt Al Falahi representing the W'rsan Stables based in the capital won the 120km Al Wathba Challenge endurance ride by a narrow margin at the Emirates International Endurance Village (EIEV) in Al Wathba yesterday.
Riding 12-year-old bay Arabian gelding Glenmorgan, Al Falahi was involved in a close battle for the finish before prevailing by 16 seconds from Thani Mohammad Al Muhairi on Razorback Wildfire from Seeh Assalam Endurance Stables with Mohammad Sulaiman Rashid Al Marbouei on Asraf Amir from Dubai Endurance Stables finishing a close third.
Al Falahi and Glenmorgan completed the five stage 120km event in which a large field of 163 riders contested in four hours, 24 minutes and 32 seconds.
It was Al Falahi's first 120km ride win in the UAE though the W'rsan Stables' rider had earlier tasted success in a similar ride in Malaysia.
"It was a very tough contest. I just decided to ride at an average speed of around 26kmph in the first four stages and my horse did well to respond to that," said the winner.
"It was only in the final loop that I pushed my horse and we managed to win this prestigious ride," he added.
Al Muhairi on Razorback Wildfire finished second in 4:24.48 while Al Marbouei on Asraf Amir was timed at 04.25.05 in third place.
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler and UAE Minister of Finance, and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, attended the ride in which Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, also participated.
The 120km ride was run in five stages of 33, 27, 24, 20 and 16 km and the prize fund on offer was Dh350,000 including a car for the winner.
Taleb Dhaher Al Muhairi, secretary general of Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEI), Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director general of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Lara Sawaya, director of the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, Nafez Abbara, project manager of SAS Investment Co LLC, and Mann Abu Saleh, proprietor of Samawi Neon, presented the trophies to the winning trio.