Ali Mousa, General Manager, Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC), Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice-President and Head of International Marketing of Longines, Malih Lahij Al Basti, Vice-Chairman, Meydan Group, Saeed Al Tayer, Chairman, Meydan Group, Patric Aoun, and Mohammad Eisa Al Adhab, Deputy General Manager, DEC, at a press conference to announce the HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News

Dubai: Some of the UAE’s best endurance riders will face strong opposition from a high-quality field of international horsemen as they vie for honours in the HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup presented by Longines this weekend.

The seventh running of the 160-km CEI 3-star event is one of the highlights of the Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC) endurance calendar and traditionally attracts some of the best endurance riders in the world.

Organised and hosted by the DEC at the purpose-built Dubai International Endurance City course next to the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, the ride will be flagged off at 7am on Saturday.

Abdullah Ganem Al Merri claimed the coveted top spot for the second year in succession in 2013, when he partnered Nad Al Sheba Stables’ Plein Ciel De Sommant to victory ahead of Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harble’s Eclipse from Fazaa Endurance Team.

More than 15 nationalities will be represented this year, including top riders from the UAE, UK, India, Pakistan, Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Iran, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, the US and Uruguay.

Mohammad Eisa Al Adhab, Deputy General Manager of DEC, said: “This international race is a highlight of the UAE endurance season and represents a seasonal target for many of the world’s most accomplished endurance riders. The appeal of endurance riding in the UAE can be seen by the high amount of support for the race from our international competitors, as well as the large base of elite UAE riders who take part every year.

“It is always a highly competitive ride and represents a highlight for spectators as well as riders.”

Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice-President and Head of International Marketing of Longines, said: “Longines is proud to be the presenting partner as well as the official timekeeper and watch. Our brand and this elegant and exciting event share common values such as tradition and performance.”

The ride will be divided into five stages. After the completion of each stage, the horses are rested and refreshed and undergo a veterinary examination to determine if they meet the physical standards to continue in the next stage. All finishers must successfully pass a post-race veterinary examination. Only then are the official standings determined and announced.