Yamamah Led From the Start in Tough 160km Challenge
28 August 2014, Sartilly, France ~ HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum took the 2014 World title with the 15-year-old mare, Yamamah (Kurrajong Concorde), bred by FEI Award Winner Meg Wade of Australia) in a ride time of 8:08:28.
Silver on the podium was Marijke Visser from the Netherlands on Laiza De Jalima with the ride time of 08:19:07. Qatar took Individual Bronze with Abdulrahman Saed Al Sulaiteen riding Koheilan Kincso.
Wet weather in the lead-up to the 160km ride made a already highly-technical route even more challenging. Throughout the day Yamamah kept the lead over a grueling and mud-ridden course through some of Normandy’s most beautiful and challenging scenery.
On the fourth loop, Sheikh Hamdan felt the challenge from the Dutch rider. A five minute delay during the fourth vet gate put further pressure on the 12-minute lead, but as the heavens opened above Normandy once again, Yamamah emerged under the thundercloud as the overall winner in a time of 08.08.28.
Due to the difficult footing, the attrition rate of the Normandy competition was high, leaving only three teams in contention for medals with three riders each. Spain captured gold with a total riding time of 28:56:02. France gained the silver in 29:08:44, 12:42 minutes behind Spain, giving Switzerland the Bronze with 29:42.54.
Veteran Jaume Punti Dachs (45), endurance trainer for the Newmarket based stable of Sheik Mohammed’s Darley stud, led the Spanish team riders Jordi Arboix Santacreu and Javier Cervera Sanchez-Arnedo. Punti Dachs’s wife Maria Alvarez Ponton could not defend her individual title from Lexington 2010. She retired on the course.
France’s experienced Jean-Philippe Frances, riding the youngest horse on the French team showed the way to Denis Le Guillou and Robin Cornely, riding the course in 8:12:37.
The Swiss team’s bronze is the second team success after silver in Aachen 2006. Claude Nordmann, Chef de Mission for the Swiss Team, gave all the credit to Barbara Lissarrague, finishing fourth individually. “She has done her utmost for the team. They all rode together after we had lost the first two riders of five rather early on the course.” Lissarrague led team mates Sonja Fritschi and Andrea Amacher towards the finish line in Sartilly.
Photo Pamela Burton