The GCC’s 2021/22 endurance season may have started a few weeks ago with various 40 and 80km qualifiers, but it was this past weekend when the real racing began. With six endurance races across three nations, the action highlighted once again, why our region really is the global centre for the sport.
This weekend, Dubai, Bahrain and Saudi all launched their first races of the 2021/22 season. In Dubai it was clearly a case of the all-conquering-sons return, with four of the six podium places going to our UAE World Champions fresh from their successes in the World Championships and World Championships for Juniors in Europe.
In Bahrain, the CEI2* 120km Ras Al Bar and the CEI1* 100km Ras Al Bar were both, interestingly, won by relatively new riders, although both rode for Bahrain’s premier teams Victorious and N13. While in Saudi, eliminations were higher and riders choose significantly slower average speeds across both races.
The DEIC 120km Al Wasl Cup for Private Stables kicked off the racing of the season on Friday, with Layla Al Marzooqi taking the top spot on the French bred Camil Des Combettes for Al Kamda Endurance Stables. From the second loop, Layla remained in the top two, thanks to Camil Des Combettes impressive heart rate and the pair’s consistent average speeds of between 27.6 and 26.4km/per hour.
Saeed Al Khayari rode into second place on RO Ulyses for SS Stables, with Abdulla Alamri for Zabeel Stables riding Bomec Du Sauveterre. Fresh from his second-place result in the World Championship for Juniors Abdulla Alamri for Zabeel Stables riding Bomec Du Sauveterre rode into the third spot.
In the 120km Seeh Al Salam ride, all three podium places went to the UAE’s World Champion riders, with Fares Al Mansoori riding Zaizoom for M7 taking first, Salem Malhoof Al Kitbi on Willowmere Encore, also for M7 in second and Mansour Al Faresi on Tatarinu for MRM stables in third.
Bahrain: Ras Al Bar
In the 120km CEI2*, Victorious Stable’s Isa Hameed Dakheel Sarhan Alanezi riding Bitnik maintained his first place throughout all four loops thanks to Bitniks incredible heart rate and Isa’s impressive tempo work, keeping a steady 25km/per hour throughout the first two loops and 24km/per hour through the final two.
Second place went to Mohammed Abdulthamid Al Hashemi riding Afa Tsy Be Du Pech also for Victorious stables and third place to Shahd Waleed Al Ahmed of Al Zeem Stables riding Chams De Lyre.
The 100km 1* also held at Ras Al Bar on the same day was won by Ramzi Mohammed Aref Alnaif riding KF Sahla for N13 stables, while team-mate Nasser Khalifa Mubarak Al Otaiba riding El Majid De Madigou came second and Rashid Ali Mohamed AlDookhi for Anjaz Stables came in third riding Crystal De Liaf.
The Ministry of Sports Endurance Cup: Saudi Arabia
Saudi offered two races this weekend, the Ministry of Sports Endurance Cup 120km 2* and The Ministry of Sports Endurance Cup 1* 100km. Interestingly, the speeds in both these races, when compared to Dubai and Bahrain were lower and most recovery times longer.
Winner of the 1*100km, Saud Al Othman riding Alaliya Al Majzl rode his loops with average speeds between 19.1km and 17.4km per hour, while in the 2*120km winner Ziad Sami Hussain Sabr riding Shaikh had recovery times ranging between four and nine-plus minutes during the first three loops, bringing his average speed from 22.4km per hour on the ride down to 18.63 after recovery.
In the 120km, Abdul Majeed Al Qurashi riding Maestoso First Flute took second place with a well paced 20.4km per hour on the first two loops and 19.2 on the third, moving him from 26th position after the first loop through to second by his fourth and final loop.
In third place Abdulhakim Al Kabeer riding Sahmaa also rode a well-paced race of 20km per hour in the first two loops and 18.4/6 in the final two, however Sahmaa’s recovery times slowed the pair, who still rode from 27th place in the first loop to third by the end of the race.
In the 100km, Fahad Al Osaimi riding Duque came second and Albagamy Mohammed riding GB Abrojo came in third.
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