This year’s endurance season will feature new rules on water points, vehicles and people accompanying horses. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s 2015-2016 domestic endurance season gets off to a promising start on Thursday, with over 130 riders entered for the 100-km CEN Al Wathba Endurance Ride. The ride will be held at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.

“Under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, we are extremely delighted to announce that all preparations are in place to kick start the endurance season,” said Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

“So far we have received over 130 entries and the ride will get off to a mass start at 6am on Thursday. It will be run in three phases of 40km, 40km and 20km.

“There will be five 4WD cars up for grabs for the top five finishers,” he added.

“I would like to thank our official sponsors and partners, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, HH Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, National Feed & Floor Production & Marketing and Al Masaoud.

“We will be adopting the new rules from the FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) on water points, vehicles on the ride route and persons accompanying the horse inside the Vet Gate.

“Water supply points have been clearly marked along the ride route while only five cars for each horse will be permitted to drive through and only two persons will be permitted to accompany the horse inside the Vet Gate during the veterinary check,” Al Nuaimi stated.

The ADEC chief also announced an increase in the prize money allocated to the public for the Abu Dhabi flat racing season and changes in the distribution of the free ‘Pick Six’ forms for the public.

“In order to facilitate smooth access for racing fans during race meetings in Abu Dhabi, an automated system at the entrance will distribute ‘Pick-Six’ forms against the respective IDs. The prize-money for the public has also been increased to Dh50.000 to accommodate the grand prize for the pick-six and double tri-cast winners,” Al Nuaimi said.

Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, thanked Shaikh Mansour and Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood,for their support.

“We will ensure that the directives of their Highnesses, to maintain a high-calibre image of UAE equine sport will be strictly adhered to,” Sawaya said.

Sultan Aouda representing the National Feed & Flour Production & Marketing confirmed their strong support for the UAE’s equine sport and also announced that a 30% discount by National Feed, which was given for the breeders of Arabian horses, will now be extended for all UAE horse owners within the country.