The stage is set for the Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Challenge Festival For Private Owners, a CEN 120km Endurance Ride to be held at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba on Saturday, it was announced on Tuesday.
Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, speaking at a press conference, said, “The event is held under the directives of the H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, with over 100 riders in the fray, and carries a total purse of AED1m in prize-money to be distributed among all riders who complete the race plus a brand new Lexus car to be driven home by the winner,” said Al Nuaimi.
“We have been working hard to implement the directives of the H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club to complete all arrangements for this race in order to reflect the bright image of the UAE as a major venue for international endurance rides,” he added.
According to Al Nuaimi, the race starts at 7am and the distance is split into five phases marked: Yellow (40km), Blue (27km), Red (26km), Orange (19km) and White (16km).
“We have introduced for the first time the 40km distance in a move aimed at renewing the routes of the endurance rides,” Al Nuaimi explained.
Salem Al Subosi, racing manager of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said, “We are truly delighted to stage this annual event under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan to support and encourage small owners within the UAE as part of the national campaign to boost Arabian horse races at all levels.” Al Subosi announced that the plan is to host four endurance races during the current season, three of them at the Emirates International Endurance Village and one at the Dubai International Endurance City at Seih Assalam in Dubai.
Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairman of the Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies, IFHRA, Chairman of Ladies and Apprentice Racing Committee in the Int’l Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities, IFAHR, commented, “The H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is in constant touch with H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and we would like to thank Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum for supporting and encouraging the Arabian horse races.
“Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been present all the time with his horses in the events which are staged by the festival and he is the biggest supporter of IFHAR races as well.
“Aisha Al Romaithi, one of the girls who have won the gold for the UAE in Italy represents Seih Assalam stables of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.”
The H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare, with Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, Tourism Development and Investment Company, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Al Rashid Investment, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2014, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, National Archives and Racing Post.