Dubai: Rashid Mohammad Ebrahim Al Beloushi did the UAE proud by winning the inaugural Royal Windsor Endurance CEI 2* ride held in association with and presented by the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Riding the seven-year-old grey gelding Bucanero, Al Baloushi completed the challenging 120km course around the centuries-old Windsor Great Park in a time of 4 hours, 32 minutes and 34 seconds.
Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi made it a memorable day for the UAE when he finished in second place aboard the 16-year-old Australian mare Castlebar Kadeen. Al Habri timed 4:39:39 secs.
Dace Sainsbury, a 20-year-old top-placed British rider, was third with French Lieutenant (4:48:32).
Al Marri was delighted to win the historic event that was contested by 49 riders from eight countries.
The field also included former world champion Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, riding Lenski, who retired at Gate 2 and two sons of the King of Bahrain, Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
“It’s a great honour to win such a prestigious ride at such a historic venue,” said Al Beloushi. “The course was quite difficult as we are not used to such conditions.
“But I owe my success to Shaikh Hamdan who gave me invaluable advice during the ride. His guidance helped me overcome several obstacles and to steer a course to victory. This is a ride that I am sure I will remember for a long, long time.”
Shaikh Hamdan told the media that he expected the UAE riders to do well in the ride given the determination with which they went into the ride.
“UAE riders have made their mark at several major rides internationally, so I was expecting some good results as the riders were well prepared,” Shaikh Hamdan said. “Congratulations to the winner, he has really done the UAE proud by winning such a prestigious event.”
The four-loop ride enjoyed a high 60 per cent completion with another UAE rider, Abdullah Thani Bin Huzaim, capturing fourth place.
Dorset-based Sainsbury, a member of the British Young Rider endurance team described the experience as “amazing”.
She said: “We had literally thought it would be nice to come here and be competitive. But riding in Windsor Great Park was a privilege in itself let alone coming third – it is really amazing.
“The course was technical but rode fast – we had aimed at around 21km/hr but the fantastic going and conditions gave us a much higher speed [nearly 25km/hr].”
Not only did riders have the honour of riding at the famous Windsor Great Park, they had the thrill of completing a single circuit around the National Hunt section of Ascot racecourse.
Almost 90 per cent of the course was off-road and included several historic sites in the Great Park including the Long Walk.
Competitors also circled the equestrian Jubilee statue of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who was a guest at the event.
The ride supported by The Kingdom of Bahrain, who recently sponsored the FEI 2011 European Open Endurance Championship in Florac, France.