Abu Dhabi: Shaikh Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan rode Nemer to a fantastic victory in the gruelling three-day 240-km Shaikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup, the feature event of the three-day endurance festival which ended on Saturday at the Boudtheib Endurance Village.
After his elder brother Shaikh Hazza Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the defending champion was eliminated on the second day, Shaikh Khalid paced himself well and made his move in the final 20-kms of the 240-km ride to score a great win on the 10-year-old chestnut gelding Nemer.
It was Mohammad Hamad Mohammad Saeed Al Junaibi on Ramalea Captain Starlight who went out on the final stage after being in the lead for the whole of the second day and also after the first two stages yesterday.
Al Junaibi took off on the final 20-km loop almost four minutes ahead of Shaikh Khalid with Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi on Akasha Sansation and Abdullah Khamis Ali Saeed on Risco Moreno in fourth place.
Al Junaibi's horse seemed to be tested to the limit as Shaikh Khalid on Nemer began to make his move.
Battle for supremacy
The two battled for supremacy and Shaikh Khalid's decision to hold back Nemer during the earlier stages seemed to pay off.
The two went on to finish first and then Nemer came tops in the final vet check despite doing a speed of 26.83 kmph on that final leg.
Al Junaibi's horse Ramalea Captain Starlight was found lame and had to be eliminated leaving Al Reef Stable's Risco Moreno, under Abdullah Khamis Ali Saeed, win the second place for the second time.
Last year Jesus Manuel Berna had won on Rico Moreno behind Shaikh Hazza.
Ali Mohammad Al Muhairi on Akasha Sansation did well to finish third after being in the top five from the second stage onwards in the nine-stage ride.
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Shaikh Zayed Bin Mohammad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and Masoud Al Awar, Special Advisor to Chairman, Sorouh - the sponsors of the three-day festival which included a 120-km ride for Juniors, a 120-km ride for privately-owned stables, the 240-km three-day ride and two Federation Qualifiers-attended the prize distribution ceremony. "I have been preparing for this ride for some time now and am extremely happy to win it," said Shaikh Khalid.
Commenting on the tactics he used, Shaikh Khalid said, "Well, I did not go in with any fixed line of tactics.
"Most of it depended on how my horse was faring and also on how the other riders were progressing."
"However after two days and 160kms, I though I had a good chance today as my horse looked in top form," said the winner.
Well, I did not go in with any fixed line of tactics. Most of it depended on how my horse was faring and also on how the other riders were progressing."