ROYAL Endurance Team rider Jaffer Mirza powered to the lead last night after the opening stage of the 120-kilometre End-of-Season Endurance Ride Championship, held at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir.
The event, organised by the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef), continued into the early hours of today morning. It featured five stages in all.
Mirza, riding Sumara, pushed ahead to the front after completing the 30km first leg in one hour 18 minutes 17 seconds. Teammates Ahmed Abdulla Al Hazza and Ahmed Adel Al Gaoud followed not far behind him. Al Hazza, on Tarabic Carl, completed the stage in 1:18:34, while Al Gaoud, on Oak Glen Seacrest, finished in 1:18:56.
Abdulrahman Ibrahim Al Hawas of Kingdom Stables Saudi Arabia, riding Freedoms Grace, was fourth in 1:19:12. Royal Team member Ghazi Al Dossary, riding Waterlea Evensong, was fifth in 1:20:57; and Homoud Salman Al Shammari of Kingdom Stables, on Anwar Almammlakah, sixth in 1:21:13.
Right behind the early leaders was Breef president and Royal Team rider Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Shaikh Khalid, on Kintamani Ragindi, completed the opening stage in 1:21:27, and began to close the gap with the top six from then on.
The night ride was being held under the patronage of Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Shaikh Khalid. It flagged off at 5pm yesterday, with over 60 riders in the fray. The second stage also covered 30km, while the third was over 24km, the fourth 20km, and the last over 16km.