Abu Dhabi : Twenty-three-year-old Sultan Ahmad Al Beloushi of Al Reef Stables rode Charlandre El Sharif to a scintillating victory in the Dh1.5 million HH The President's Cup, the 13-year-old gelding breaking his own world record for a 160km ride by more than seven minutes.
Al Beloushi denied Al Wathba's Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri, on Kalifa, in a finish that would have done a 1,000-metre sprint proud as there was hardly anything to separate the two horses after 160km of battling at the Emirates International Endurance Village at Al Wathba desert area.
Al Beloushi and Charlandre El Sharif completed the ride in a record time of 6 hours, 21 minutes and 12 seconds, bettering the earlier best of 6:28.28 by the same horse under Omar Hussain Al Beloushi in January 2008 in the HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup at the Dubai International Endurance Village.
The Al Reef youngster, riding the horse trained by his elder brother Yousuf Ahmad Al Beloushi, was fourth going out into the final loop of 16km with less than a minute separating the top six riders.
However, Al Beloushi's horse, one of the most consistent performers, managed to get the better of 160km specialist Al Jahouri and shatter his ambition of winning his first President's Cup.
"This is without doubt the greatest win of my career. Charlandre El Sharif is a star and today he proved it," said Al Beloushi.
He, Al Jahouri and the third-placed Majid Salman Al Sabri received a car each for their efforts.
"My elder brother Yousuf just told me to pace my speed to under 25kmph for the first five stages (144km) and then go all out in the final loop, and I did just that," said Al Beloushi, whose average speed on the final 16km loop was 33.22kmph in comparison to his ride average speed of 25.18kmph.
For Al Jahouri, it was a heart-breaking experience as the President's Cup is the only silverware missing in the Al Wathba star's showcase.
"I think it just boils down to bad luck. I have won the National Day Cup thrice, the 160km HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup twice. But my best in this ride [before this race] was a third-place finish in 2007," said Al Jahouri.
Earlier, 106 riders started in the event, which was attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, among others.
Results of yesterday's 160km endurance ride:
1. Sultan Ahmad Al Beloushi (Charlandre El Sharif), 6:21.12
2. Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri (Kalifa) 6:21.13
3. Majid Salman Al Sabri (Armin's Zulu) 6:27.33.