Al Shaqab team’s Faleh Nasser Saleh Bughenaim on Halte A Tout, a 12-year-old chestnut gelding, won the CEI** Al Shaqab CHI International Ride, a 120-km endurance ride, held in five stages at the MesaieedEndurance Village yesterday.
Qatar dominated the championship by taking the second and third places as well. A total number of 58 riders started the ride with 43 completing the race. Qatar’s champion Endurance rider Bughenaim completed the course in four hours 56 minutes and 19 seconds with an average speed of 25.55kmph.
Bilal Bassam Shawqi al-Kharraz on Ithilien Arwen finished a close second in 05:03:57 while Abdulla Tahous Saif al-Naimi on Qualine Al Widde completed the sweep for Qatar while finishing the course in 05:08.01. After the top three sweep by the Qatari riders, Bahrain’s Fahad Hilal Helal Mohammed al-Khatri on Dibawah and Qatar’s Jassim Rashid Mohammed al-Kaabi on Chazar Bandana finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Winner Faleh Nasser Saleh Bughenaim said, “It was a fast race. All the riders wanted to take the lead in the morning. The speed was good. Bilal followed me throughout the race. In the last loop, my horse stayed strong and I comfortably won the race.
“I had used the same horse as in the 2014 race. This time, I felt a bit easier to finish the race,” said Bughenaim, who will be contesting in a few races in Europe and is planning to buy a new horse in France as well. “As you may be aware that I wasn’t classified in August last year. But my coach continued to push me in the training camp. Then we tried to collect maximum possible points in the races that we did.”
“I took the lead from Khalid Sanad al-Nuaimi in the rankings in the last two races. I feel if the coach had not motivated and supported, I won’t have got the top ranking,” added Bughenaim. He also said the racing in Qatar is more difficult than France. “There, we have a nice weather and the mountains. In Qatar, the course is flat but we have to bear a lot of hot weather.”
The Runner-up Bilal Bassam commented: “The race was tough. For a 120-km race, you need a strong horse. Every time when I pressed my horse, he supported. Still I could not get the lead, so I feel I wasn’t fortunate enough to win today.”
Rashid al-Malki, the event manager, said 43 riders took part in the race, which had five stages. “The race was quite fast and the pace reached 25 kms per hour. Every year, the level is going higher and the race is getting faster. I want to thank Al Shaqab for making all the necessary arrangements which ensured the race was quite fast. Another good aspect was that more horses, compared to the previous year, managed to finish the race.”