Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri underlined his class once again as a leading endurance athlete by winning the 12th edition of the CEI 3* 160km HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Presented by Longines on Friday.

This is the third time he has won the coveted title, on this occasion aboard the 2009-born Lockelea Starwood Comet.

Al Marri, who is ranked No. 1 in the FEI Endurance Open Riders World Ranking, first won the Cup in 2012 as a 17-year-old when he became the youngest ever to win the title. He repeated the feat in 2013. Al Marri was representing the F3 Stables under trainer Khalifa Ghanim Al Marri, his brother.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, attended the ride, which featured more than 340 riders from over 35 countries.

Speaking after the event Al Marri said: “The race went well, but the final loop was very different from the other stages of the competition and I am grateful that the day ended smoothly. This win is very important for me, because I had won it twice in the past, and now I have won it for a third time.

“HH Shaikh Hamdan is my inspiration, he has supported me since my childhood and he is my leader.”

The top-three finishers all hailed from the UAE. Salim Said Alowais also trained at the F3 stables came in a close second aboard 11-year-old Castlebar Cadabra, while Salem Hamad Alkitbi of the M7 Endurance Stables came in third aboard Shahab.

The HH Shaikh Mohammad Endurance Cup headlines the four-day HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival which opened on Thursday, December 27, and concluded on Saturday.

The showpiece of HH Shaikh Mohammad Endurance Cup Festival 2019, the 160km ride, had a total of 345 competitors starting the ride, from a record 46 countries (two more than the previous edition). The riders included former European Champions, and former World Champions joining a host of local and international horse-rider pairings in the competition.

The first group of riders embarked upon the 160km, five loop course at seven am. The distances for the five loops were 40km, 35km, 35km, 32km and 18km respectively.

The support of Pillar Partners Longines — presenting sponsors of the ride, along with Azizi Developments and Al Tayer Motors — has been vital to the exceptional success of the HH Endurance Cup Festival.