Sept 18, 2013, Abu Dhabi ~ Photos and Text thanks to Gilly Wheeler
From the birth of endurance in the UAE the Al Shafar family have been serious competitors and benevolent sponsors both home and abroad. Watched by his father Mohammed Ali Al Shafar won the 2013 Presidents Cup in impressive style, always in the leading group and making his move over the final 16km, crossing the line in a ride time of 6hr 6m 24s (26.201kmph). His 11 yr old French bred gelding, Orman De Cardonne, looked alert and full of running as he finished 44 seconds ahead of the 9 yr old Polish bred, Farak, whose rider, 13-year-old Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri, was aiming for a double having won the JYR Presidents Cup last month.
Al Shafar won his first ride in 1997 in the UAE but he was one of the pioneering UAE riders in the USA. In 1996 he finished 10th in the Race of Champions in Utah and two years later was 23rd in the Tevis.
It was a splendid weekend for the Al Shafar family as Mohammed’s brother had trained the winning horse of the Sheikha Fatma Bint Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Ladies Endurance Cup. This 12-year-old gelding, Magic Glenn Harpoon, was bred in Australia by HH Sh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and had his early endurance training with Meg Wade.
Neither of the two invited USA riders managed to finish the President’s Cup. Devan Horn from Texas was eliminated at vet gate two as CJS Maverick trotted up lame. She continued to crew for her compatriot Jessica DiCamillo from New Mexico, who traveling very conservatively in the last group of riders. Unfortunately her horse DJB Black Al Badi was eliminated metabolic at vet check five.
Her mother, Karen DiCamillo, commented that she did well up to the 90 mile mark, but the big Texas horse just got too hot. The two girls held back at the start leaving five minutes after the mass start. They rode together over the first two legs. “We had a wonderful time and would love to be invited back”, they said.
The leading invited international rider to finish was Maria de Carmo Farraia Cruz from Portugal who finished 41st on the bay stallion Africano, two hours after the winner.
Photos by Gilly