BAHRAIN Royal Endurance Team rider Isa Abdulla Al Hazza raced to a dominant victory yesterday in His Majesty The King's Cup Endurance Horseride Championship, held at Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir with His Majesty the King in attendance.
Riding his horse Duke Ya'aahad, Al Hazza was among the event's leaders from start to finish. He eventually completed the gruelling 120-kilometre event with a winning time of four hours 58 minutes 26 seconds and an average pace of 24.126km/h.
His Majesty King Hamad later presented Al Hazza with a royal sword as part of his prizes as the winner.
Yesterday's race was sanctioned by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), organised by the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef), and sponsored by Western Gulf Advisory.
Al Hazza led three other members of the Royal Endurance Team to finishes within the top four.
Abdulrahman Al Saad was the runner-up and Abdulrahman Al Zaed third, while Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa was a strong fourth.
Al Saad, riding Kintamani Ragindi, completed the event quite a distance behind Al Hazza in a time of 5:13:58. He registered an average pace of 22.932km/h in claiming second place.
Al Zaed, mounted on Cedar Ridge Original, did well to battle back from behind to take the final podium position in 5:27:56. He raced with an average speed of 21.956km/h.
Supreme Council for Youth and Sports first deputy chairman and Breef president Shaikh Khalid was riding his horse Tarabic Carl to claim an impressive fourth position. Shaikh Khalid finished in 5:44:46, and averaged a solid pace of 20.884km/h.
FEI member Abdulla Al Asfour, riding Rushcreek Ovid, came fifth overall just two seconds behind Shaikh Khalid; while Shawamek Stable rider Khalil Abdulsamad Abdullatif on Chesterfield came sixth in 6:00:02.
Rounding out the finishing order amongst the leaders was Jaffar Mohammed Ali representing Al Ajiyal Stable. On Zidan, he completed the race in 6:06:48.
Also competing in His Majesty's event was Royal Endurance Team leader Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who is also the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president. Shaikh Nasser, however, was forced to withdraw from the competition during the first stage, following an injury to his horse The Statesman of Cheveaux.
Meanwhile, Royal Endurance Team's Ali Yousif Baqer won the junior category of the race. Riding Derrom Sabre, Ali had a finishing time of 5:24:00 while going for an average speed of 22.222km/h.
Hussain Al Nayef of Asayel Stable was second. Riding his horse Jassem, he finished just two seconds behind the victor.
Claiming third place was Shaikha Najla bint Salman Al khalifa riding Cal Kafee. Shaikha Najla, representing Ahmed Al Fateh Stable, completed the event in 5:32:12.
After the race, all three top junior riders were presented their respective trophies by Shaikh Khalid.