Abu Dhabi : British schoolteacher Rachel Harriet Harvey held on to beat back a spirited challenge by the UAE's Afra Khalifa Al Suwaidi to win yesterday's Shaikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Challenge 90-km Ladies Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village.
Just one second separated Harvey riding Baddah from Afra on Estaban after the 90kms ride held over four loops of 30kms, 24kms, 20kms and 16kms with Al Yazia Khalifa Al Suwaidi on Al Galahn in third place.
Yesterday's ladies ride at Al Wathba venue was jointly sponsored by Bonyan International Investment Group, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Challenge Festival 2010 with 65 starting the national event. It was a very close finish and for most part of the 90kms ride.
Al Yazia on Al Galahn was ahead of Afra after the first 30kms while the leader board was revered after the second loop of 24kms. The 23-year-old Harvey was a steady fifth in both these loops and then moved into second place behind Al Yazia in the third loop with Afra dropping to third place.
Going out into the final loop it was Al Yazia, Harvey and Afra in that order with just 15 seconds separating the three lady riders. It was in the final stage of 16kms that Harvey and her 8-year-old chestnut gelding trained by Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri piped Afra by a second while Al Yazia finished third.
Ali Al Muhairi, racing manager of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance gave away the trophies in the presence of Adnan Saif Al Nuaimi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Ali Moosa Al Khamiri, General Manager of Dubai Equestrian Club and Lara Sawaya, Managing Director of Tasweeq.
Ladies Ride, distance 90Km: 1. Rachel Harriet Harvey/GBR (Baddah) 03hrs 04mins 24 secs; 2. Afra Khalifa Al Suwaidi/UAE (Estaban) 03:04:25; 3. Al Yazia Khalifa Al Suwaidi/UAE (Al Galahn) 03:07:51; 4. Fatma Jassem Saeed Al Marri/UAE (Hirstglen Horizon) 03:10:50; 5. Trinu Rannast/EST (Greywood Masadah) 03:14:02.