Dubai Just four months after winning the 2014 FEI World Endurance Championship in Normandy France, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council added another prestigious endurance title to his roster of titles when winning the $2.6 million (DH9.5m) HH Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup CEI***.
Shaikh Hamdan’s victory aboard Napoli Del Ma over the 160 km course allowed the MRM Stables to sweep the top-two finishes as last year’s winner Shaikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum guided Mureib to the runner-up position. Third place was awarded to Al Khalfan Al Jahouri of Al Wathba Stables on Moota Haddeea.
The ride was attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
A winner of the HH Endurance Cup in 2009 and 2010, Al Jahouri gained the third position after Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri, also a former two-time winner, failed to see his mount pass the final veterinarian gate. Al Marri was removed from the position and Al Jahouri was placed third.
Using a steady tactical strategy, Shaikh Hamdan, completed the first loop in 12th and moved up four positions to eighth in the second round.
He continued to advance his position and moved five places to finish the third loop in third, before taking the lead in the fourth loop.
In the final fifth loop, Shaikh Hamdan began 11 seconds in front of Shaikh Rashid, who had completed the first four loops with placements of fourth, third, first and second.
The eventual third place finisher Al Jahouri was in seventh position at the start of the final loop, eight seconds behind the leader.
The ride, organized by the Dubai Equestrian Club and presented by Longines, was contested by an 178 riders. The field of competitors represented an impressive 28 countries.
Held at the Dubai International Endurance City, the start was at 7am and featured many prominent competitors including Shaikh Hamad Dalmook Al Maktoum, who finished sixth for MRM Stables, Shaikh Hasher Bin Mohammad Thani Juma Al Maktoum was seventh for Fazaa Endurance.
For this year’s ride the prize money was boosted to $2.6 million a move that attracted much positive attention for the event around the world.