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Champion Maria leads Spanish 1-2-3 in Dubai Ladies ride

Reigning world endurance champion Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton led a Spanish 1-2-3 in on Friday's 90-km Dubai Equestrian Club Endurance Challenge for Ladies staged at the Dubai International Endurance City.

  • By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 23:07 February 27, 2009
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton wins the Dubai Equestrian Club Endurance Challenge for Ladies at Dubai International Endurance City at Seih Assalem in Dubai on Friday.

Dubai: Reigning world endurance champion Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton led a Spanish 1-2-3 in on Friday's 90-km Dubai Equestrian Club Endurance Challenge for Ladies staged at the Dubai International Endurance City.

Riding 13-year-old Antares Sauveterre, Maria led from start to finish in the 90-km event which was spread over four stages. Maria, who won the World Endurance Championship in Malaysia last year when the UAE riders clinched the team gold, cruised home comfortably and later drove away with a brand new car for her winning effort.

She completed the ride in three hours 17 minutes and 01 seconds with a ride average speed of 27.96 kmph.

A total of 77 riders took part in this first Ladies ride of the season being held here by the Dubai Equestrian Club.

While Maria was dominant in her victory her two Spanish compatriots Sonia Le Hecho and Silvia Valenti Vidal also had it easy winning the second and third places respectively.

The UAE's Reem Shaban Ibrahim Hasan, riding Hurst Kariba trained by champion rider Yousef Ahmad Al Belouhsi, finished fourth on her 10-year-old chestnut gelding. Reem was in 16th place after the first loop but after that she gradually moved up to 6th in the second stage and then 5th in the third stage before completing in fourth place.

Ali Moosa Al Khamiri, General Manager of Dubai Equestrian Club gave away the trophies and the key of a 4WD car to Maria Alvarez Ponton the winner.

"We had a lot of UAE lady riders in the fray and with some of the world's best international riders taking part it was a good experience for them," said Al Khamiri.