The 2017-18 Dubai Endurance Season Opens this weekend with a double-header at Endurance City. Image Credit: DEC

Dubai: The 2017-18 endurance season gets under way at Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC) this Friday and Saturday with two rides held over 100km — the Seeh Al Salam Endurance Challenge and Al Wasl Endurance Cup, restricted to private stables and individuals.

The purpose-built DIEC facility, located adjacent to the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, is gearing up to host some of the UAE’s most prominent endurance rides including the HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival as well as the Crown Prince Endurance Cup Festival.

The much-awaited HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup presented by Longines now leads a week-long endurance festival to be held between December 28 and January 6, comprising a total of four rides, to celebrate the remarkable contribution and support of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for endurance riding and equestrian sport at large.

The popular Gamilati Endurance Cup for Mares is now a part of this event and is scheduled for December 30.

Another major ride that attracts the best rider-horse pairings from across the world is the Dubai Crown Prince Cup sponsored by Emirates, which is the top offering in the season’s second week-long endurance festival scheduled from March 12 to 17, including the Yamamah Cup for Mares, and 90km and 100km rides for ladies and private stables respectively.

The HH Endurance Cup Festival and the Crown Prince Endurance Cup Festival offer the richest prize money for endurance events in the world, and attract the cream of the industry worldwide.

During this summer in Europe, UAE endurance riders made a huge impression with a number of successful outings, the highlight being UAE winning both the team gold as well as the individual gold and silver at the FEI Meydan World Championships for Young Riders and Juniors in Verona, Italy. The focus of the global industry now returns to the UAE to witness and participate in some of the most prominent events on the endurance calendar.

Mohammad Eisa Al Adhab, General Manager of Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC), the overseeing body for endurance events in Dubai, said: “Our riders have had impressive results over the summer in Europe, and now we look forward to inviting some of the internationally acclaimed riders and horses to be a part of our prestigious events at DIEC.

“The DIEC is one of the few purpose-built state–of–the–art endurance riding facilities in the world, and here our priority is the welfare of both the rider and the horse, and we are pleased to see Dubai has developed into a popular and significant destination for the sport of endurance riding worldwide.

“The Dubai Equestrian Club is consistent in its efforts to support the sport locally as well as on the global stage, and we offer endurance riders of all categories the chance to compete and improve through the season, while following the best practices and traditions of the sport,” Al Adhab added.