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All set for HH The President’s Cup 160km ride

Top riders aim for slice of Dh 1.5 million purse in CEI Three-star event at Al Wathab

Image Credit: Courtesy Morhaf El Assaf
Shaikha Najla Bint Salman Al Khalifa wins 100-km Sheikha Fatma Bint Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Ladies Endurance Cup at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba on Friday
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Some of the top young riders in the world, including UAE stars, will be in action on Saturday in one of the world’s richest endurance rides, the 160-kilometre CEI Three-star HH The President’s Cup.

Soon after Friday’s ladies’ ride, the connections brought out their horses for the pre-event veterinary check ahead of Saturday’s event, which gets off to a mass start at 6am at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.

Among the contenders, Cesar Donnais, at 14, is the youngest of the invited list of riders and he comes here after a silver in the individual event and a gold in the team event at the 2012 European Junior Championship.

Also in the running is 19-year-old Nina Lissarrague, who was narrowly beaten by Donnais at the European Junior Championship. Lissarrague, the third-place finisher in Friday’s Shaikha Fatma Ladies’ Ride, is the daughter of Barbara Lissarrague, who won the World Championship in Dubai in 2004 and is the trainer of the young French star.

Germany’s Sabrina Birmele, Great Britain’s Dace Sainsbury, Italy’s Daniele Seriol, Americans Devan Horn and Jessica DiCamillo, Spain’s Gil Carrera and Mark Gorria, Norway’s Jeanne Holum and 2012 Portuguese champion Maria de Carmo Farraia Cruz are among some of the international riders in the fray.

“The total prize money is Dh1,500,000 and this will be distributed among all the riders who complete the 160km event,” said Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, secretary general of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. “The top three riders will also get a car each.”

Apart from the individual competition there will also be a team event in which any four riders can form a team. The three best-timed performances will count for the team event and the winning team will also get a car, Al Nuaimi said.

Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and Head of Ladies’ racing in IFAHR, said: “All lady riders in the HH the President’s Cup ride will be given an 18-carat rhodium-plated bracelet with a green tourmaline stone and a picture of Shaikha Fatma Bint Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the ride logo.

“There will also be air tickets for the top three riders to attend any one of the flat races organised by the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.”