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Slow and Steady wins the Race


Expert horseriders from around the world are set to take part in an endurance race in the desert – and it’s free to watch

Abu Dhabi ain’t no one-horse town – and an exciting cross country horse race is set to prove it.

HH The President of UAE Endurance Cup, a 160km race for international riders, will be held on Saturday 14th February at Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.

Endurance riding was established by the late president, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan – hence the cup’s name.

The Cup was first staged in 2000, and Abdullah Khamis Ali Saeed from the UAE clinched first place.

In 2014, 125 riders took part and Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri was first past the post.

Now in its 16th year, the race draws an audience of over 1,000 who flock to watch riders from across Europe, Qatar and the UAE compete for glory.

Registration for riders is now closed. But anyone can turn up to watch – for free.

The day before the race, on 13th February, participants are required to attend a pre-ride inspection for their horse from 2pm to 5pm to ensure they are fit to race.

The race will start at 7am on 14th February.

The course is made up of five loops – blue, yellow, green, red and white. Blue and yellow are each 40km, green is 32km, red 28km and white 20km. There are water stops every 250m and mandatory rest periods to ensure the horses remain healthy. Riders must complete all loops.

Khalifa is set to ride again on Niac Armor – but will he triumph once more? Keep an eye out around 2pm when the first rider is expected to reach the finish line. The last is expected to finish around 11.10pm.

Ten cars and cash prizes are up for grabs. First prize is a Range Rover and the prized gold cup, while riders who place second to tenth will win a Nissan Patrol. The rest of the riders will each win AED 60,000.

Try it yourself

Think you can handle an endurance ride? Experienced riders can take a 16-week course at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club in Al Mushrif. AED 2,350. Each class is for up to eight riders and lasts 45 minutes. Kids six to ten Sat-Thu 4.30pm and 5.25pm, over tens and adults Sat-Thu 6.20pm and 7.15pm. For more information contact: 02 445 5500 [email protected] www.adec-web.com


Sarah Riches


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