Abu Dhabi: Starting second on the final stage, Abdulla Rashid Mohammed Saeed Al Naqbi riding 11-year-old Arab gelding Rowallan Dee Jay did well to finish first and win the 120-km Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Challenge Festival Endurance Ride For Private Owners at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba on Saturday.
Trained by Ahmed Mahfouz at the Al Hayar Stables, Rowallan made a smooth progress from the 8th position and was in second place after four stages and 104 kms. In the lead at that stage was Rashid Saeed Al Kamda on Baraja. But a steady pace in the final 16-km lap saw Al Naqbi and Rowallan Dee Jay finish ahead of the pack in four hours, 46 minutes and 15 seconds at an average speed of 25.15km/hour.
Al Kamda finished second about two minutes behind while Uruguayan Jonatan Rivera Iriarte on HH Ciabu was six minutes off the pace in third place.
“The race was tough despite the favourable weather conditions,” the winner said later. “The second stage was the most difficult and the speed was lowered because of the sand,” he added.
The trainer added: “We are preparing this horse for future challenges including the HH the President’s Cup. It’s great to see him doing very well in today’s contest.” Sheikh Saeed bin Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum attended the event and gave away the prizes and trophies to the winners alongside Ms Lara Sawaya and Adnan Sultan, including a brand new car for the winner while the Dh1m in prize-money was distributed proportionately to the riders who completed the race.
Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, said, “Today’s ride was a grand success. This is an important event in our calendar and we thank H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, for his continuous support to the activities of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.” “Thanks to his support the stables of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum have been actively participating both in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup and HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) flat racing as well as the Festival’s endurance rides.” Regarding the upcoming inaugural general meeting of the International Federation of the Horse Racing Academies, Sawaya said: “Representatives from 17 countries will sit to draft the statutes of the new body among other issues on the agenda. ”