Abu Dhabi: Schoolboy Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri confirmed his class as a champion rider when he scored his second win with the same horse, Leo, at the Emirates International Endurance Village at Al Wathba on Friday.
The Al Ain schoolboy scored a convincing win in the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup, but unfortunately will not be able to make good use of his winning prize — a car — as he is just 14 years old.
Friday’s 100km ride, open to horses owned by private stables, was run in four stages and Al Jahouri on 13-year-old chestnut gelding Leo cruised home despite finishing the first 33km loop in third place.
In the second loop of 27km, he moved up another position and then in the final two stages of 24km and 16km he was the leader, eventually winning by more than nine minutes from the second-placed Rashid Saeed Al Kamdah on Ex Caliber. Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harthi on Rowallan Simon was third.
Al Jahouri, who is the son of European Open champion and one of the UAE’s top senior riders, Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri, had earlier won a 100km ride here in a similar category with the same horse. He also won the President’s Cup for Junior Riders in Boutheib Endurance Village, while in the prestigious 160km President’s Cup (Open) ride, he finished a brave second last month.
“I just followed my father’s instructions, which were to just keep the horse going and take the ride gate by gate. Once in the final stage the horse was also in good condition and I did not have much problem winning,” Khalifa Al Jahouri said.
“I dedicate this win to my father, while I thank Saeed Suhail Ali Al Yabhouni of Al Ain Endurance Stables for giving me the chance to ride his horse Leo.”
Shathra Al Hajjaj, the UAE’s flat race lady jockey, did well to finish eighth and was the only female rider in the top ten. “My horse Beer Street Tsunami is just eight years old and did very well to stay in the top ten throughout the ride. I am enjoying my endurance riding, though I have to concentrate on flat racing soon,” Shathra said.
A total prize money of Dh350,000 was shared by all those who completed the ride, while the winner was given a car.
The young Shaikh Mohammad Bin Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Shaikha Fatima Bint Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, along with Adnan Sultan Saif Al Nuaimi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Federation, Lara Sawaya, Director of the HH Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Head of Ladies Racing in IFAHR, and other representatives of sponsors were present at the prize awarding ceremony.
“We had hundreds of young children who attended today’s ride and got acquainted with endurance riding. We also had games of football for them and five of them won tickets, while many other also won prizes through the raffle draw,” Sawaya said.