Abu Dhabi: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who led the UAE to a team gold in the 160km endurance event at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010, has already qualified with a few horses for the World Endurance Championship to be held on August 25 in Euston Park in the UK.
Two more 160-km qualification rides are to be staged in Euston Park on June 3 and 24, respectively, to help riders and horses from around the world qualify for the August 25 event. Over a 100 riders are expected to tackle the tough course in Euston Park with the 160-km distance raced in loops of 38km, 29km, 30km, 20km, 23km and 20km, respectively.
Shaikh Mohammad, along with Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Shaikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture, have already qualified along with a few other UAE riders.
The UAE, led by Shaikh Mohammad, had won the team gold and the individual silver and bronze medals at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and are likely to be starting off as favourites once again in the World Championship.
A final list of riders will be submitted by July 24 for both the individual as well as team events. So far, 41 countries including the UAE have already confirmed their participation.
Meanwhile, the Americans, who have surrendered their domination of the event to the UAE, France and Spain in the last decade, have named two champion lady riders in their tentative squad.
Becky Hart, the only rider to win the World Championship thrice in a row and Valeri Kanavy, another multiple world championship winner, have been named on the UAE squad.
Hart, riding her own horse No Repeat, has qualified and is in the US Long List. If selected, Hart will be bidding to win the world championship nearly 20 years since she won her third consecutive title. Hart and the legendary horse R.O. Grand Sultan won the World Championship in 1988, 1990 and 1992.