Abu Dhabi: Dubai schoolgirl Fatima Jasem Al Merri once again displayed her skills as she managed to finish ahead of two foreign riders to win the Shaikha Fatima Bint Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Ladies Endurance Cup at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba yesterday.
Al Merri, who won the National Day Cup at the same venue earlier in the season, won a close battle riding her eight-year-old gelding Hurst Radnor, with just 36 seconds separating the top three riders after the 90km race.
Al Merri, who also made the UAE proud by becoming one of the first two woman jockeys to take part in a flat race in the Netherlands last year, took the lead in the second stage of the four-stage race but was given a close fight in the final loop by New Zealand's Lauren Michelle Hiscock on Tora Conrad and French rider Geraldine Jacquet on Kaysand Farrazah.
Before going on to the final loop, Al Merri was ahead of Jacquet, while Hiscock moved up from her fourth place to finish just behind the winner.
Al Merri completed the ride in three hours nine minutes and eight seconds to win a car for her efforts. A total of 58 riders took part in the 90km National Ride, which was run in four loops of 30km, 24km, 20km and 16km.
"I am very happy as it was a tough ride with the other riders also doing very well. This is my third win but the first for my horse," said Al Merri.
Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, attended the ride.
Taleb Daher Al Muhairi, Secretary-General of Emirates Equestrian Federation, Adnan Sultan Saif Al Nuaimi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Lara Sawaya, Director of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and sponsors' representatives presented the trophies.
Top five in yesterday's 90km Ladies Endurance Ride
1. Fatima Jasem Al Merri (Hurst Radnor) 03:09.08.
2. Lauren Michelle Hiscock NZL (Tora Conrad) 03:09.13.
3. Geraldine Jacquet FRA (Kaysand Farrazah) 03:09.44.
4. Haya Mohd Al Shanqiti (Bashan Abner) 03:11.20.
5. Amy Louis IRE (Karabil Nari) 03:13.20.