Dubai: Some of the best endurance riders in the world will compete for coveted prizes when the sixth annual His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup CEI***, presented by Longines takes place on Saturday.
The world-famous highlight of the Dubai endurance season has attracted a top field of more than 160 riders from around the Middle East and Europe. Competitors will vie for a glittering new trophy and a prestigious Longines Master Collection Retrograde gold watch, which was launched in 2007 to celebrated the brand’s 175th anniversary.
Leading the UAE challenge at the purpose-built Dubai International Endurance City course will be 17-year-old endurance wonder-kid Abdullah Ganem Al Merri, who triumphed in the event 12 months ago. Al Merri recorded a pulsating 27-second victory over Bahrain’s Ahmad Abdullah Al Hazza to become the youngest winner of the event in its five renewals.
Speaking at the official press conference at Meydan racecourse yesterday, Mohammad Eisa Al Adhab, Deputy General Manager of DEC, said: “Last season we were treated to one of the most thrilling finishes in the history of the HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup and we fully expect the race to produce the same levels of excitement this term.
“We would like to extend our special appreciation to our presenting sponsor, Longines — a distinguished brand that has long been a major supporter of equestrian sports in Dubai.
“Thanks to the success of our His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who was crowned the 2012 World Endurance Champion at the Longines-sponsored ride at Euston Hall near Thetford, Suffolk, the UAE has risen to the very pinnacle of international endurance riding. Despite this, we still look to further raise the profile of the sport in the UAE.
“This race, when taken alongside our season-long programme of contests, serves to continue to assist in the development of a strong grass roots movement, as well as the expansion of our elite programme both at home and abroad.”
Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice-President & Head of International Marketing of Longines, said: “We are proud to be the major partner of HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup in the framework of our long-term commitment with Meydan.
“Longines will be delighted to award the winner of the cup with a timepiece that perfectly represents our watchmaking tradition, namely The Longines Master Collection Retrograde Gold.
“Longines passion for equestrian sports started in 1878 and, over the years, the brand has built strong and long-lasting links with equestrian sports that include show-jumping, endurance and flat racing,” he added.
“Longines is now the official timekeeping partner of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), and we will be the title sponsor of the Senior Longines FEI World Endurance Champions in 2016 and 2020.”
Malih Al Basti, ERA Board Member and Chairman of the ERA Steering Committee, applauded Longines’s commitment to sponsoring events such as the HH Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup, and said: “We thank Longines for their support, which has contributed significantly to endurance becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
“We look forward to Saturday’s ride and the continued success of our combined efforts to further boost the sport.”