Abu Dhabi: Ali Reyad Saleh Al Kaabi rode a superb ride final loop in the 120-kilometre National Day Cup endurance ride to score a memorable maiden victory at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.
Starting in fifth place on the final stage of the 16km loop, Al Kaabi and his mount Tacka increased their speed to 34kmph from the 27kmph they had registered over the first four stages. That effort was enough to fetch the Seih Assalam Stables’ trainer his first ever win and also helped him finish ahead of European Open champion Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri riding Lourizon Frost.
Al Kaabi was 30th after the first 33kmph, 26th after the second stage of 27kms, 15th after the third stage of 24kms and 5th after the fourth stage of 20kms.
Al Kaabi completed the 120km CEI Two-star ride in 4 hours 19 minutes and 11 seconds while Al Jahouri finished in 4:20.20.
After winning the event, which had a car and a total of Dh500,000 for the top finishers, Al Kaabi said, “I dedicate this win to the Rulers of our country on the occasion of our 41st National Day.”
“Somehow I was very confident of a win as my horse Tacka was in great form. I paced the ride well and during the final stages my horse was still fresh and raring to go,” he added.
A total of 147 riders started the ride, which was run over five stages of 33km, 27km, 24km, 20km and 16km.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and 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, Dubai Crown Prince, also took part.
In Friday’s Al Wathba Cup for private owners over 100km, Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri on Leo bagged first place.
“We have seen some great and exciting competition over the last two days and it was a fitting way to mark the UAE’s National Day,” said Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Shaikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival and head of IFAHR Ladies Racing.