(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Saif Almazrouei aboard Nopoli Del Ma emerged victorious in the 11th edition of the 160-km Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Presented by Longines, on Saturday at the purpose-built Dubai International Endurance City.
The Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup headlines the four-day Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival which opened on Thursday and concluded on Saturday.
Speaking after the event 18-year-old Almazrouei said: "This was a very important race for me to win, because it is named after His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and we are so proud we won this race. My horse Nopoli Del Ma is a champion horse, and this is definitely the biggest win of my career." Almazrouei announced his talent to the world in 2015 when he won gold at the 120-km FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses in Valeggio Sul Mincio, Italy.
Trained at MRM Stables, Almazrouei's horse 14-year-old Nopoli Del Ma is the same horse that was ridden by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, when he won the 2015 edition of Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup.
Sheikh Hamdan also won the 2016 running of the prestigious competition, while in 2017 Humaid Matar Rashed Al Mazrooei emerged victorious aboard Rajas.
Trained at F3 Stables, Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri came in a close second, riding 11-year-old Faraan. Saeed Mohd Khalifa Al Mehairi, also from F3 was in third.
The showpiece of Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup Festival 2018, the 160-km ride, had a total of 360 competitors starting the ride, from 44 countries, with former European Champions, and former World Champions joining a host of local and international horse-rider pairings in the competition.
The first group of riders embarked upon the 160km, five loop course at 7am, with the sun rising in the backdrop. The distances for the five loops were 40-km, 35-km, 35-km, 32-km and 18-km respectively.
The Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup Festival opened with the two Azizi Developments sponsored rides. The first was a CEN 100-km race, restricted to private stables and individuals, on December 28, which was won by UAE rider Ghaith Abdul Saqer on board his champion horse nine year old bay Al Adham. The pair completed the 100 kms in a timing of 03:16:32.
This was followed by the CEN 100km Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup for Ladies, on December 29, where Polish rider Kamila Kart aboard nine-year-old Razorback Mechano emerged victorious. Kart who hails from Poland and rides for MRM stables completed the 100-km three loop ride with Razorback Mechano in 03:11:11.
A day later the CEN 120-km Gamilati Cup for Mares, added variety and significance, to this already exciting and unique event. Rashed Hamoud Al Junaibi and his mare, Eo Raghd emerged victorious and completed the 120-km ride in 04:28:15.
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