Abu Dhabi: Teenager Khalifa Al Khalfan Al Jahouri made a stunning debut to win the CEN 100km Al Wathba Cup endurance ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village (EIEV) in Al Wathba on Friday, upstaging a strong field of 53 riders.
The ride, which was held to support the small stables and private owners in the UAE, was attended by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Al Jahouri finished the first of five stages in third place but improved two places in the second stage before going on to win in a time of three hours, 50 minutes and 19 seconds with an average speed of 26.051km/h. He rode 12-year-old chestnut gelding Leo, who is owned by Saeed Suhail Ali Al Yabhouni.
Second place went to Abdullah Almur Saeed Bin Helwa who, with Lanamere Harrison, recorded a time of 4:06.33, while third place was bagged by Ahmad Mohammad Al Jaber on Lanamere Rondo in 4:09.13.
They were followed by Ahmad Saeed Mohammad Al Faresi aboard Paloma (4:14.20 seconds) and lady rider Laila Abdul Aziz Al Reda, who was astride Natziz (4:14.20 seconds).
Al Jahouri expressed his delight after picking up his first win in his first ever endurance competition.
“This was my maiden attempt and to win is an incredible feeling. I am very happy as it is part of the National Day celebrations,” said Jahouri, who is a ninth grade student at the American School in Al Ain.
Prizes worth Dh500,000, including a car, were presented to the winners by Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club; Lara Sawaya, director of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Head of the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing (IFAHR) Ladies Racing; Ali Al Mulla, chairman of Areej Al Amerat; Saif Al Awani, managing director of Al Awani; and Abdul Rahman Al Rumaithi, Controller of EIEV,
Meanwhile, the prestigious National Day Cup ride will take place at the same venue on Saturday with another total prize purse of Dh500,000 and a car on offer. Several top riders are expected to be in the fray for the CEI two-star 120km event.
A special hospitality tent has been reserved for visitors and guests in the village and there is a top raffle draw prize of an invitation to attend one of the festival’s races, courtesy of Emirates airline.