VP attends race as Owais clinches Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup - GulfToday

VP attends race as Owais clinches Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup


Sheikh Mohammed at the main race of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Endurance Festival in Dubai. WAM

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, attended the main race of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Endurance Festival at the Dubai International Endurance City in Seih Al Salam on Saturday.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, was also present at the event where 243 riders from 46 countries participated in the main race.

F3 Stables rider Salem Saeed Al Owais snatched the 160-km Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup title after finishing the race in 06:24:00 hours followed by Martina Spelanzon from M7 Stables finishing in 06:24:15.

Owais grabbed the coveted trophy following a masterful ride aboard the 12-year-old Castlebar Cadabr, a handsome Purebred Arabian representing the powerful F3 Endurance Stables.

Saeed Ahmed Jaber Al Harbi took third place aboard Longrun Mikami, to complete a one-two finish for F3 stables.

“This was my dream,” said Owais. “I came so close last year and was determined to come back stronger this time. I put a plan in place and followed it all the way through.”

Owais said he has always been inspired by Sheikh Mohammed, a former endurance world champion himself.

The ride was the culmination of the Sheikh Mohammad Endurance Festival which began with the 120km Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Ride for Ladies (Dec.27), followed by the 120km Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Ride restricted to private stables (Dec.28) and the prestigious 120km Gamilati Cup for mares (Dec.29).

The event is an annual tribute to the profound impact Sheikh Mohammed has had on the sport of endurance riding and global equestrian sport, in general.

Former star winners of the Endurance Cup include Sheikh Hamdan, a multiple winner of the event.

Last year UAE’s Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri aboard Lockelea Starwood Comet, staved off the challenge from an impressive 345 competitors from a record 46 countries.

Meanwhile, Territorial looks to bounce back from a rare below-par effort in the G3 Nakayama Kimpai, with Elation also lining in the 10-furlong highlight at Nakayama, Japan, on Sunday.

Six-year-old Territorial (Katsuichi Nishiura/Kota Fujioka) failed to beat a rival in the G3 Challenge Cup over the same trip at Hanshin in November but won or placed on all six of his other appearances in 2019.

The Teofilo entire recorded two Stakes wins and gained a first Listed victory when rallying gamely for a head verdict in the nine-furlong Cassiopeia Stakes at Kyoto at the end of October.

Elation (Masakazu Ikegami/Hiroshi Kitamura) also enjoyed Stakes success in 2019, scoring by a neck in the mile Shunkyo Stakes at Nakayama.

The eight-year-old returns to Nakayama for his first attempt at a mile and a quarter after coming home third in the nine-furlong Listed December Stakes at the course on Dec.15.

Harry Sweeney, President of Godolphin in Japan, said: “Territorial has been a very consistent performer for us in 2019 and, in addition to winning three times (including a Listed race), also placed second twice and was additionally third.

“However, his only time last year not to make the frame was his one and only outing in a Group race in which he finished last which is not a particularly encouraging harbinger for his upcoming event. He is drawn in stall one and presumably will hope to save ground on the trip. He will need some luck to make the frame.

“Elation is an eight-year-old entire colt about to make his 24th career start but only his second in Group races. On his first and only start in a group race in November last year, he looked outclassed but redeemed himself somewhat on his next run when finishing third in a Listed event.

“He has previously been campaigned at distances from a mile to nine furlongs and this will be his first outing at 10 furlongs. In truth, he is the lesser of the two Godolphin horses in this race and is a long shot.”

Dover aims to build on a productive 2019 campaign as he goes for a first G3 success in the Kyoto Kimpai over a mile at Kyoto, Japan, on Sunday.

The Keizo Ito-trained seven-year-old bookended last year with a pair of clear-cut Listed victories over the same distance, most recently when scoring by a length and three-quarters in the Capital Stakes at Tokyo in November. He also captured the New Year Stakes at Nakayama in January, 2019, when he was eased near the line for a three-length success.

Dover, who is partnered by Yuichi Fukunaga, produced two creditable efforts in Group company in 2019, including a close eighth behind Tower Of London in the seven-furlong G2 Keio Hai Spring Cup in May.


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