Abu Dhabi: Al Hosn University student Aya Abdullah Reda Ishaq Ali stole the limelight by winning the 90km HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup organised by the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival as part of the UAE’s 41st National Day celebrations on Saturday.
Riding 11-year-old Craig Royston O’ Roy, Aya took the lead in the second loop and led throughout the three remaining stages to win with more than three minutes to spare. Fatima Jasem Al Marri riding Trouble Maker finished second, while Bahrain’s Shaikha Bint Salman Al Khalifa on Magic Glen Harpoon was third.
The ride, held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, 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 Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Shaikh Mansour, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, among other VIPs and guests.
“I am very happy to have won this prestigious ride, which carries the name of Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the UAE,” said Aya after her win in the richest endurance ride for lady riders, which was held at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.
“Once I took the lead in the second stage my horse was in great shape and I must thank the trainer and his staff for the way they prepared him. This is my first win and it is only my second season so now I hope to go on win a few more.”
Aya completed the ride in three hours 13 minutes and 25 seconds and registered an average speed of 27.92km/h in the event, which was run in loops of 30km, 24km, 20km and 16km.
Shaikha Najla, who finished third, said she was happy with her best ever result here. “I have been taking part in rides in the UAE since 2001 and this is my best finish,” the Bahraini princess said.
Lara Sawaya, Director of the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Head of International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) Ladies Racing, said: “It was a great success as lady riders from quite a few Arab countries were taking part for the first time.”