14 May 2016, UK ~ UAE rider Saif Ahmed Al Mazroui claimed top spot in the Royal Windsor Endurance ride on Friday, 13 May, when his 12 year-old gelding, Ramaah was the runaway winner of the CEI2* event over 120km of Windsor Great Park in England.
Abdulsamad Mohammed riding Derrom Galiem from Bahrain finished second while Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum was third on the 2012 World Champion horse, Intisaar.
The ride, which is part of the five-day Royal Windsor Horse Show in England, was held at Windsor Great Park and proved a truly Royal affair with members of the ruling families of Dubai, Great Britain and Bahrain in attendance.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and his sons, the Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, were on hand as the race unfolded. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum was also present. Visiting the grounds later in the afternoon was Her Majesty the Queen and King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
The CEI **ride was contested over four loops of 33.5km, 33km, 28km and 25.5km. Contestants arrived from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Spain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
It was a cold and breezy morning that greeted participants on competition morning. The weather had been changeable all week and heavy showers had caused Wednesday’s activities at the Windsor Castle venue to be abandoned following flooding in the car parks. But a fine day on Thursday helped dry the ground a little, although it was still soft underfoot as the horses set out at 7am from the official start.
Eight riders represented the UAE on the day, including Sheikh Rashid Dalmook, his brother, Sheikh Hamad Dalmook Al Maktoum, Sultan Shames Saeed Al Maamri, Mohammed Khalifa Saeed Al Mehairi and Ahmed Jaber Saeed Al Habri also flew the flag. Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri, who claimed the 2012 HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup at the age of 17, Al Mazroui and Said Salim Al Owaisi completed the eight.
Other International riders included Jeremey Reynolds from the US riding Chachie (vetted out at Gate 3), and Dorion Lisanne riding JG Fast Tulip (finished 21st).
The ride’s early leader was Bahrain rider, Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Hasan and Meziane De Candlon who entered the vet gate 1.18min ahead of Sheikh Rashid Dalmook riding Intisaar.
The second loop saw the UAE contingent overhaul their Bahraini opponents and Sheikh Rashid Dalmook entered the vet gate 11 seconds ahead of his brother, Sheikh Hamad. Eventual winner, the UAE’s Al Mazroui, was following closely in third.
Sheikh Rashid Dalmook and Intisaar maintained their lead during the third loop but it was the fourth loop that proved decisive. Al Mazroui and Ramaah turned the tables, coming home in a time of 4:41.27, 5.39min ahead of runner-up, Bahrain’s Abdulsamad. Sheikh Rashid Dalmook was a closing third 0.1secs behind in third.
Winning trainer, Ismael Mohammed, who also conditioned Yamamah to victory here in 2014 for Sheikh Hamdan was delighted to have saddled the first and third-placed horses. “This is an excellent start to the summer European season,” he said. “Believe me we came here with our good horses because we were hoping for this result. I have to admit that it was a little bit of a surprise that Ramaah won this. He is a good horse and was a four-time winner two years ago, but he had some problems and this is his first race back.”
Mohammed said he briefed his riders to take care on the heavy ground. “I told them not to go off too fast,” he said. “The Bahrainis started very quickly but we were happy to let them go and build throughout the ride.”
The prize giving for the Royal Windsor Endurance ride will take place on Saturday, 14 May, in the main arena in the grounds of Windsor Castle and will be presented by Her Majesty.
All photos by Gilly Wheeler. Purchase photos at: www.photoGilly.com
~ end report presented by Dubai Equestrian Club