Local Sports

Niac Armor wins Endurance Cup

Hisham Al Gizouli
Filed on February 16, 2014
Niac Armor wins Endurance Cup

Al Wathba Stables’ teenage rider Al Jahouri rallies his colt to splendid victory at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba here on Saturday..

Niac Armor wins Endurance Cup (/assets/oldimages/endu2_1602014.jpg)

Shaikh Mohammed, Shaikh Hamdan and Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed at the Endurance Cup . — Supplied photo

Teenager Khalfan Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri came from the back of the field to steer Anglo Arab mare Niac Armor home in the His Highness President of the United Arab Emirates Endurance Cup after he timed his run to perfection to land the title for Al Wathba Stables for the second straight year at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba here on Saturday.

The winner covered the distance in 6 hours, 3 minutes and 39 seconds at an average speed of 26.39 km/hour to finish 90 seconds ahead of runner-up Sultan Ahmed Al Baloushi followed by Mohammed Matar Al Mazroui, in a clean sweep of the UAE riders of the top positions.

Niac Armor wins Endurance Cup (/assets/oldimages/endu1_1602014.jpg)The race was attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance; Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor; Shaikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Advisor; Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Shaikh Mansour bin Mohammed Al Maktoum; Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development and Chairman of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare; Shaikh Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Advisor to His Highness the President and Chairman of Camels Association besides a number of officials and endurance sports lovers.

Niac Armor wins Endurance Cup (/assets/oldimages/endu_1602014.jpg)The winners on the podium of the Endurance Cup ride. — Supplied photo

UAE rider Nasreen Khasro Ali Khalid, riding chestnut gelding Baraka Farid, showed the way to finish the first loop ahead of the others with 117 riders who successfully passed the first vet test. The young lady was followed by Aya Abdulla Reda and Khalifa Ali Khalifan Al Jahouri in a sweeping start of the Wathba Stables.

Aya Abdulla took her nine-year-old crossbred mare Exclusiva to lead, followed by Khalifa Ali as Nasreen Khasro was relegated to third.

By the end of loop three, Aya continued to lead and Khalifa maintained his second position on the heels of the front runner as Ghanim Said Salem advanced to third and the early leader Nasreen slipped to the seventh place. And at that stage, 29 riders were disqualified which is equivalent to 23 percent of the total number of the 128 riders who have started the race.

However, by the end loop five, Al Jahouri reversed places with Aya and hit the front for the first time as the finish line appeared on the horizon. Meanwhile, 128 riders started the gruelling race under favourable winter weather conditions and hit into the heart of the desert.

The winner walked away with Dh300,000 plus a car and the Shaikh Mansour’s festival Rolex, the first-runner up Dh200,000 plus a car and the second runner up Dh100,000 plus a car. The winning team received a car besides a share of the Dh1,500,000 prize-money which will be distributed among all the riders who finish the race. All the top five finishers were invited to attend the upcoming World Arabian Horse Conference London 2014.

The 15-year-old winner dedicated the success to the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director General of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club commented: “The race was very strong and everything went according to plan. The weather was fine and helpful.”

Lara Sawaya, Chairman of Ladies Racing Committee in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) noted that under the directives of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the endurance and flat races have been brought together to make the utmost benefit from the support of the festival.

“Invitations have been sent also to 50 endurance personalities to attend the big event. The race was great and the attendance of their Highnesses the Shaikhs has motivated the riders.

“The details and surprises of the ‘One World Endurance + Flat Races’ will be announced during an international news conference on Sunday at the Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah on Sunday.

“The races will be staged in various European countries and will be attended by Ian Williams, chairman of the FEI Endurance Races,” she said.

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