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Shaikh Mohammad witnesses the crowning of Shaikh Hamdan as the winner of The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia today. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Sporting the royal green racing colours of Saudi Arabia, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, won the CEI2* SR15 million (Dh14.69m) Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup in Al-Ula, Province, Riyadh on Saturday.

A gold medallist at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in France, Shaikh Hamdan was cheered to victory by his father, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Dedicating the victory to the Saudi people in a display of Saudi-Emirati unity, Hamdan said: “I am proud to be here today because this region has captured my heart, and I’m proud to represent Saudi Arabia.”

“If you open my heart you will find Saudi Arabia in my heart. This reflects how much we love Saudi Arabia. Saudis are Emiratis and Emiratis are Saudis. We are one people.

“When I came here last year, I promised to come back because the Al-Ula Province is breathtaking. It made me think what this beautiful region was like 1,000 years ago,” Shaikh Hamdan added.

“I love horses, they are my life. When I ride my cars I feel bored. With horses its different. I love to be with them, stay with them.

The 120km Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup was held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

Held in the picturesque Al Ula Province, the event attracted over 200 riders from 17 countries. It was organised by the Royal Commission for Al Ula, in cooperation with the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation, within the Tantora Winter Festival.

Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Bahrain King’s Representative for Charity Work and Youth Affairs, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and Captain of the Royal Endurance Team, expressed pride in the organisation of the second edition of the Cup. Shaikh Nasser said that King Salman’s support for the equestrian sport was a driving force and that efforts would be made to further develop the sport in the fegion.

Leading riders from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, China, Pakistan, Portugal, Slovakia, Sudan, Tunisia and Uruguay participated in the event which was held over four laps through desert dunes and mountain peaks.