December 28, 2013, Abu Dhabi ~ On Saturday over 137 riders representing every major endurance stable in the UAE made the opening line-up of the grueling challenge, and it was Ghanim Said Salim Al Owaisi from Nad Al Sheba stables astride Sandine Assassin who landed the 120km CEN Emirates Endurance Championship at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba on December 28. The winner covered the distance in 4 hours 16 minutes and 50 seconds at an average speed of 28.03 km/hour to cross the finish line one minute ahead of runner-up Rashid Mohammed Al Baloushi on Qurun Armorand and behind them came Sheikh Hamad bin Dalmook Al Maktoum on Printemps De Marot. The first three horses to finish were Anglo Arabians.
The race was held under the directives of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and attended by buy dignitaries including His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and chairman of the Ladies Racing Committee in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) joined by Ashraf Zeitoun, representing the sponsors Arabtec the official partner of the festival alongside the UAE lady jockey Anoud Al Suwaidi gave away the prizes and trophies for the winners.
The winner drove away a brand new car and a golden sword, the first runner-up received a silver sword and the second runner-up walked away with a bronze dragger. The full amount of Dh500.000 in prize-money was distributed among all the riders who have successfully completed the race.
HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan was proud of the event: “The events and activities of the festival have contributed to the promotion of the Arabian horses and encouraged the breeders and owners to be represented in the various equine events,” he said.
Lara Sawaya previewed the calendar for 2014: “The fixtures of the new season of the festival’s events would be announced in a special news conference at the Eastern Mangroves Jannah at the festival’s wing in Abu Dhabi on Friday. The conference will be held to announce Union’s Cup for the private stables only (for local citizens). The race will be held on January 4 at the Emirates International Endurance Village. The details of the endurance championship in Portugal which will be held under the umbrella of the festival from April 25 to 27, 2014 will also be announced.”
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is organized 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 for Youth and Sports Welfare and Fegentri with Arabtec Holding PJSC as the Official Partner and Emirates airlines as the official carrier and sponsored by Invest AD, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Al Rashid Investment, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH 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 and Racing Post.