Lady riders from the UAE did the country proud when four of their riders finished in the top five in the 120-km H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies CEI Two-star Cup which was part of the three-day Sardinia Endurance Festival that concluded on Sunday at the Horse Country Resort area in Arborea, Sardinia, in Italy.
Four rides were part of the Sardinia Endurance Festival and the highlight was the ladies competition in which UAE riders Alyazia Al Romaithi on Holoutaria and Alia Al Saboori on Shamberlain finished hand-in-hand in the 120-km.
Italian rider Isabella Bonetto on Ottello finished third to prevent a podium sweep but the next two were again two UAE riders- Nouf Ali on Aranza and Ayesha Al Romaithi on Oregon- thus making it four in the top five for the UAE.
Alyazia and her horse Holuoutaria, a 10-year-old chest mare, covered the 120-km distance in 6 hours 59 minutes and 30 seconds at an average speed of 17.44 kmph.
The triumphant UAE lady riders dedicated their victory to the UAE leaders.
In the H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup-CEI Two-star ride Carlo Carta, on Franco, led a 1-2-3 finish for Italy with Graziano Branca on Legionario and Nicola Bussu on Peonia Di Barbagia following in second and third places respectively. The winning time for this ride was 7 hours 34 minutes and 23 seconds.
Jonel Coetzee of Namibia on Quello Che Vuoi emerged as junior champion after winning the CEI YJ Two-star 120 km ride, the only one to complete the ride.
Saqr Nasser Al Raisi, UAE Ambassador to Italy, Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies and Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Mussallem Alamri, Director of Al Jazira Stables I and II and Riccardo Giachino, Chairman of the Organising Committee attended the rides and gave away the prizes.
“It was a tough race and the track was very challenging, but we were able to work our way through and get there,” said a jubilant Alyazia Al Romaithi after her win. “The most difficult stage was the second loop where there were many turns and I was forced to slow down. Finally, things began to improve and I managed to increase my speed and win,” she said.
Noura Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the UAE Women’s Union spoke to the winners over the phone and conveyed the greetings of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. She said the achievement underlines the brilliance of the UAE girls and their progressive performances.
UAE Ambassador to Italy, Al Raisi praised the unlimited support of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, to promote the UAE culture and history.
“The UAE girls did well and their very presence at this level is exciting, let alone winning the race,” he noted.
Sawaya said, “This achievement is an honour for all of us. The team has been working hard to organise the horses and in training and their efforts have paid off.”
“We will meet again in Brussels on August 17th, 18th and 19th where the UAE girls reappear in the only race which is reserved for teams, the Sheikha Fatima UAE Endurance Cup,” she added.
Riccardo Giachino, Chairman of the Organising Committee thanked the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival for supporting the Sardinia Endurance Festival and said it was a huge boost for the sport in Italy.