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Al Marri lands showjumping title

posted on 12/05/2013: 4492 views

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was on hand on Friday to witness the inaugural running of the Festival of the Horse, a new equestrian event devised by his daughter, Shaikha Maryam bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

A huge crowd turned out at Emirates Equestrian Centre (EEC) to soak up the festival atmosphere and witness high-class competitions in the separate Olympic disciplines of showjumping, cross country and dressage.

The show, the first of its kind in the UAE, was designed by Shaikha Maryam to pave the way for an annual, international event.

The main showjumping class was won by EEC's Abdullah Al Marri, an international rider, who has competed under the UAE's flag all over the world. Al Marri, riding Alaska, claimed victory over Arif Ahmed on Tjo O Tjim and third-placed Salem Khamis Al Suwaidi on Feline S.

"Honestly it feels like I have just won the first Dubai World Cup,” said Al Marri. "From small beginnings the Dubai World Cup has grown to become one of the most important race days in the world, and this show could follow in the footsteps of that.

"We have started here today and who knows where it will go from here. I want to thank Shaikha Maryam on behalf of all the competitors for the opportunity we have had today.

Tracy Wyngard-Gill, another EEC rider, won the dressage event on Erkan with a score of 70.6 per cent, while Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club's Susanna Foustok and Tristan claimed second with 69.44 per cent. Christina Calin Thompson from Reem Al Abbar Stable was third with 67.69 per cent.

"Dressage is a growing sport in the UAE,” said Wyngard-Gill. "This show, and the exposure that it will bring in the future could really change the path of dressage in this country. The more people that compete at dressage the better and if we get international riders coming into the country that will only help increase the level still further.”

The opening cross country class was won by Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club's Mohammed Al Nakhi on Pikanjo, while the Pony Club showjumping class went to Abigail Mason and Pepsi from EEC.

As part of the Meydan Group, Emirates Equestrian Centre is overseen by Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC), a body which serves to organise and host quality equestrian sports for the people of Dubai and the UAE in the disciplines of endurance, dressage, showjumping and eventing. – Khaleej Times


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