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Endurance riders set for top race

BAHRAIN's endurance horseride team continued their preparations for the World Championship which is scheduled for tomorrow starting at 5am Bahrain time at the Dubai Endurance City.

A total of 183 horses from 48 countires are taking part in this one-day event, the biggest equestrian endurance event in the sport's history which will cover a distance of 160 kms.

The Bahraini team is led by Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa of the Royal Endurance Team and includes Breef first vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Al Khaldiya Stable, Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa of Al Talia Stable, Shaikh Salman bin Saqer Al Khalifa of Ahmed Al Fateh Stable and Royal Endurance Team riders Hamad Al Meraisi and Yousef Taher.

The UAE is hosting the event for the second time and the opening ceremony was held last night attended by all members of the Bahraini delegation.

Tomorrow, the horses and riders will take on the six-stage race across the UAE's punishing desert terrain. The finals will culminate in a closing ceremony with an awards presentation on Saturday.

Shaikh Nasser said amongst the favourites will be the UAE team, led by Dubai Crown Prince and Defence Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Another UAE team member Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Maktoum is one the hot contenders to retain the individual title he won at at Jerez in Spain.

Each nation is allowed to enter riders as a team of four or three in the teams' competition, while riders can also compete as individuals. The UAE, by virtue of being the hosts, have 12 entries, while all the other countries are allowed six.

In the team competition, the UAE will be strongly fancied to do well although France are again expected to be among the favourites having won the team gold in Jerez.



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