Dubai: Some of the world's top riders were awestruck when the UAE's Omair Hussain Al Beloushi on 11-year-old Charlandre El Sharif chose the world's richest-ever endurance ride to set a world record, which will take some beating.
The inaugural Omega-sponsored His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup, which was billed as the most valuable endurance ride in the world, will now go down in history for also attracting the most number of riders for a non-championship ride (137) and also for the world record as Omair and Charlandre El Sharif shaved off over 13 minutes from the existing record.
The 22-year-old rider from Abu Dhabi's Al Reef Stables looked supremely confident as he finished first in five of the six loops in yesterday's 160-km event, which had attracted some of the world's most prominent riders.
Omair and Charlandre El Sharif revelled under ideal conditions to complete the 160-km ride in 6 hours 28 minutes and 28 seconds - an effort which was impossible a few years back.
It certainly was an amazing display by a promising rider on a champion horse from the all-conquering Al Reef Stables. In 2005, this venue witnessed a new record for a 160-km event when Barbara Lissarrague and Georgat did 7 hrs 04 mins 14 secs. The 7-hour barrier was broken by Shaikh Khalid Bin Sultan Al Nahyan on ZT Faraventure (6:41:33) in the His Highness The President's Cup ride in February last year.
Omair, who created a world record for the 100-km distance with the same Charlandre El Sharif last year, said he went for the record. His uncle and trainer Yousuf Ahmad Al Beloushi, who was also a favourite in yesterday's ride, had predicted a record when speaking to Gulf News on the eve of the ride, and his nephew delivered on that promise. "Right from the word go we wanted to go for the record. The weather was ideal and my horse is a great champion," said Omair, who registered his third win with Charlandre and eight of his career.
Omair received a standing ovation as he cantered home holding the UAE flag and his effort earned him the fabulous trophy, a Nissan 4x4 vehicle, Dh250,000 and a prestigious watch from sponsors Omega.
Al Wathba Stables' Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri on Leblond finished second to carry home Dh200,000 and a Nissan 4x4 vehicle, while Mohammad Rashid Saeed Al Subosi on Genio II finished third and also drove away with a Nissan 4x4 vehicle and Dh150,000.
Top five: 1. Omair Hussain Al Beloushi (Charlandre El Sharif) 6hrs 28 mins 28 secs - New world record for a 160-km ride. Old record: Shaikh Khalid Bin Sultan Al Nahyan on ZT Faraventure (6:41:33)
2. Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri (Leblond) 6:51.44;
3. Mohammad Rashid Saeed Al Subosi (Genio II) 7:15.04;
4. Thani Mohammad Al Muhairi (Macquarie Park Sedition) 7:18.31;
5. Shaikh Juma Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum (Kheops de Lozelle) 7:33.49.