Verona: UAE teen sensation Saeed Al Muhairi was crowned world champion aboard eight-year-old Rabdan at the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) Meydan World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors in Verona, Italy, on Saturday.
The 14-year-old Emirati finished ahead of a field of 93 runners, from 15 teams representing 32 countries over 120-km at the Parco Giardino Sigurta, winning in a time of 4 hours, 58 minutes and 41 seconds at an average speed of 24.21-kmph.
A total of 55 riders finished the four loop ride with Al Muhairi leading the pack in three.
At the end of the first loop, which was 38-km long, he finished first but dropped to third on the second loop, which was 33-km long. However, he regained his lead in the third and fourth loops of 27.5-km and 22-km respectively.
This was Al Muhairi’s 17th career start and his 11th in Europe this summer, where he has been preparing for the World Championships. The M7 Endurance stables rider picked up three wins in CEIYJ2* events in Europe leading up to Verona, the most recent coming on September 2 at Euston Park.
“The ride was very difficult, and there was unprecedented competition among the best young horsemen and the best trained horses in the world,” he said.
“The final loop was the most difficult, and yet, Rabdan, my horse performed exceptionally well. This is tribute to him being a really strong horse, as well as a reflection of the fact he receives the best direction and guidance from trainer Mohammad Al Sabousi.”
UAE rider Ghanim Al Owaisi and his mare Shadeedah came in second, about five minutes behind the leader, averaging a speed of just under 24-kmph, while Spanish rider Maite Ledo riding Qualif du Poncelet claimed bronze after stopping the clock at 05:08:01.
The UAE claimed gold in the team event, with Spain taking Silver and Qatar getting bronze.
The FEI Meydan World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors, was the highlight of the two-day Meydan sponsored Italia Endurance Festival.
More than 300 riders from 33 countries and 10,000 spectators are expected over the two days.
The second day of the festival on Sunday also boasts events such as the CEI2* Meydan Italia Endurance Cup Open, the CEI2* Meydan Italia Endurance Ladies Cup and the CEI1* Meydan Italia Endurance Cup Open.
The Meydan Group also sponsored the 2015 running of the FEI World Championships for Young Riders and Juniors in Chile, South America, underlining the group’s commitment to supporting equestrian sports not just in Dubai and the UAE but also globally.