Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai Dubai is set to host the world’s greatest endurance riders when the 2016 renewal of the HH Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup presented by Longines, is held at Dubai International Endurance City on Saturday.

The internationally-renowned CEI 3 Star competition, which was first held in 2008, is the highlight of the Dubai endurance season and is organised by the Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC).

The prestigious annual ride will feature an impressive roster of 64 international competitors from 27 countries including, for the first time ever, a rider from Thailand.

The 160km competition will start at 7am and will be contested in five loops over distances of 40km, 35km, 35km, 32km and 18km.

Last year’s ride was won by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council.

This came just four months after his monumental victory in the 2014 FEI World Endurance Championship during the FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

Shaikh Rashid Bin Dalmouk Al Maktoum triumped over 104 male and female riders in 2014.

Previous winners include, Omair Hussain Al Baluchi (2008 & 2011), Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri (2009 & 2010), Abdullah Al Marri (2012 & 2013).

Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, said: “We are happy to be partner for the sixth year of the unique 160km endurance competition in Dubai as the Presenting Partner, Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup.”

Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, General Manager of DEC, said: “His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup is a goal for endurance riders not only in Dubai but from around the world.

“In addition, the World Endurance Championships victories earned by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and his son, Shaikh Hamdan, serve as an inspiration to both current and future generations of Emirati riders.”

“Looking ahead to this weekend, we welcome all competitors to Dubai for a great day of competition and wish them a safe ride and lasting memories of this celebrated event,” he added.

“We would like to extend our special appreciation to our presenting sponsor, Longines – a distinguished brand that has long been a major supporter of equestrian sports in Dubai and around the world.”

The event will be divided into five stages. After the completion of each stage, the horses are rested and refreshed and undergo a veterinary exam to determine if they meet the physical standards required to continue to the next stage.

The horse that finishes first, as well as all finishers, must successfully complete a post-race veterinary exam to determine they did not fail to meet the physical standards set forth by the sport.

It is only after the final veterinary exam that the official order of finish is determined and announced.

The DEC serves to organise and host quality equestrian sports for the people of Dubai and the UAE in the disciplines of Endurance, Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing. The DEC also supports international equestrian sports around the world.

The DEC organises and promotes the sport of Endurance and all competitions held at Dubai International Endurance City as well as the coordination and support of select international events.

Through their subsidiary, the Emirates Equestrian Centre, competitions in the disciplines of Show Jumping, Dressage and Eventing are held, and riding lessons and training in equestrian sports are also offered.