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| 18 March, 2017

Teenager Al Merri crowned endurance champion

Riders compete in the 160 km Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Endurance Cup in Dubai January 10, 2015. Dubai's government-owned developer Meydan Group has boosted the prize money for Saturday's Endurance Cup to almost $2.6 million and announced a series of European races to promote endurance riding, it said on Thursday.
REUTERS/ Martin Dokoupil

Riders compete in the 160 km Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Endurance Cup in Dubai January 10, 2015. Dubai's government-owned developer Meydan Group has boosted the prize money for Saturday's Endurance Cup to almost $2.6 million and announced a series of European races to promote endurance riding, it said on Thursday. REUTERS/ Martin Dokoupil

Reuters/ Martin Dokoupil

Saturday, Mar 18, 2017

Dubai: Teenager Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri scored the biggest victory of his career when winning the CEN 120km Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup 2017, one of the premier events on the endurance season in Dubai.

Riding SM Jota Curado the promising rider completed the four loops at the Dubai International Endurance City, in a time of 4 hours, four minutes and 39 seconds to end the season on a high note.

Sponsored by Emirates Airline, the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup was the highlight of the week-long Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Festival, which featured a total of four rides.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai along with Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, greeted the first few riders to complete the race, including Mohammad Al Merri.

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The young rider who represents the F3 endurance stables started competing at the age of just 14 has come a long way in a tough and arduous sport.

“I am very pleased with the result. Credit goes to my horse Jota Curado who is very strong and has improved with every race, and he has a great future ahead,” said a delighted Al Merri.

“The endurance season is over now, but we will plan ahead, and hope to replicate the success from this special race.” Al Merri was unlucky in Yamamah endurance Cup for mares earlier in the week when his horse was lame.

The first group of competitors set off on the four-loop course at 7am, and leading the pack at the end of the 39-km long first loop was local rider Mansour Salman Hassan Al Sabri aboard Techno De La Bassanne, representing the Al Bararri Stables.

Al Merri started steadily, to finish the first loop in eleventh.

However, in the remaining three loops the UAE rider picked up pace, and remained at the top or close to the leaders.

Having recorded an average speed of 29 kms per hour on his horse, Al Merri picked up the pace in the final loop stepping up to 38 kms per hour.

The M7 Endurance stables and trainer Abdullah Al Subose were responsible for the second and third placed pairings in the ride.

Just ten seconds behind the winner was Rashid Theyab Ganem Al Mazroui aboard ten-year-old Al Theeb. They started slowly, to finish the first loop in 24th place, but picked up the pace in the loops that followed, improving to seventh, fourth and the second.

Right behind him was stable mate Humaid Matar Rashid Al Mazroui who came in third, aboard nine-year old Shahab.

A total of 323 horses, from 41 countries featured in the starting line-up for the 2017 running of the prestigious Dubai Crown prince Endurance Cup.

By Leslie Wilson Jr Racing & Special Features Writer

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