14 May 2017, Royal Windsor, UK ~ Royal Windsor Great Park grounds were once again the location of one of the most picturesque of UK endurance rides on Friday, 12 May. Royal Windsor Endurance supported by the Kingdom of Bahrain held three rides, attended by the Queen and other Royals.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) scooped the top four places in the CEI2* as Saeed Hamoud Saeed Al Khayari riding Dahi finished first in a ride time of 04:47:48. Bahrain’s Ali Abdulla Mohamed Al Subaie took the top place in the CEI1* on Henham Romeo in 03:46:24 and Sarah Davenport won the national 40Km class in a time of 02:18:56 on Blakeswater Wilfred.
Al Khayari was delighted and said after the ride: “I had a really good ride today and it was a great result for UAE in the CEI2*. It’s a real honour to ride this lovely course in Windsor Great Park and to win at Royal Windsor is very special.”
This was the fifth edition of the Royal Windsor Endurance event, but the first to include both a CEI1* 80Km and a national 40Km ride, alongside the regular CEI2* 120Km. An overall field of 101 horses (exactly double that of last year) from 12 nations were ridden through Windsor Great Park, taking in Ascot Racecourse and a number of famous landmarks.
Competitors came from UAE, Bahrain, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Ireland, Uruguay, and Poland. Great Britain was extremely well represented with a total of 64 starters including 17 out of 21 riders in the 80Km. Beth Langley finished second in that class on HS Ametista in 04:25:22 and said of her result:
“I’m really pleased with my result. She’s a great horse so I was hoping for a good ride. The course is lovely but deceptively difficult and technical to ride. There has been an amazing atmosphere here and it was really nice to have the graded riders (who were really good) and see them out on the course. Luckily my boyfriend and family have all been here helping today so they will all get to see my presentation from the Queen tomorrow – but I do feel like I need a showing groom to help get her ready!”
Ground Jury President, Ian Williams (GBR), said: “Today we’ve seen a true picture of endurance across all levels with the opportunity for international riders to compete at the highest level and for national riders to experience the thrill of these first class facilities. The wonderful cooperation of people across all levels of experience and ability and between nations is a great marker for the future of the sport.”
Endurance GB Chairman, John Hudson, said: “It was fabulous to have our national ride included in this now prestigious event and such a wonderful opportunity for our riders to ride in this setting. The feedback has been very positive and it’s a day that will live long in the memory.”
Royal Windsor Endurance Director, Nick Brooks-Ward said: “We had a really good ride here today. The rain overnight meant the going was perfect and welcoming the novice riders enhanced the already very special atmosphere. As ever we are hugely grateful to the Crown Estate for allowing us to ride through Windsor Great Park, to the Kingdom of Bahrain for their support and to the volunteers, officials and everyone who makes this event the success it is.”
Of the starting field of 103, 54 horses completed the rides (53%), with the remainder either retiring or failing to meet the stringent vetting criteria required to qualify for their next phase of the competition.
Presentations took place at the Royal Windsor Horse Show and all results can be found here:
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