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Hamdan boosts UAE hopes

posted on 22/08/2015: 1943 views



The UAE aspirations at the first edition of the Toscana Endurance Lifestyle 2015 event received a big fillip with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, set to participate in the 120-kilometre race on Saturday.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will also be there to cheer the UAE riders.

Sheikh Hamdan heads into the race riding a wave of recent success having tasted victory in the 120km Slovakian Endurance race last week.

Apart from Sheikh Hamdan's presence, the UAE have plenty to cheer with 40 riders more making a strong bid in the seven-race endurance card set to take place under the spectacular setting of San Rossore Racecourse in Pisa, Italy.

So also, four UAE female riders - Al Mutawa Alreem Omar Abdul Jalil, Al Redha Hind Khalid Habib, Al Saboori Alia Ahmad Mohamed and Al Romaithi Ayesha Darwish - will look to grab the spotlight.

The horses of the riders of the UAE team arrived in Italy on Thursday via a dedicated cargo. After completing the delicate unloading, the horses were moved to the stables of San Frossore Racecourse. They will be engaged in veterinary visits on Friday before making the countdown for the races.

The high number of riders for the races have added to the excitement of the first event of the season here. With 221 riders, 18 nations and all continents being represented, a thriller is on the cards.

Apart from the UAE and hosts Italy, riders from Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, France, Germany, Jordan, India, Ireland, Morocco, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Spain, Sri Lanka and Switzerland will slug it out for top honours.

The organisers have got the venue ready in quick time and are confident of making the event a big success. Within a week, the hospitality area, the vet gate and facilities for horses and riders have been set up - covering a total of 4,600 square metres in addition to the spaces for the spectators.

In the large areas of the historic "house" of Italian horseracing, a temporary village has been built that will host both the protagonists of races and the spectators and their chance to live in direct contact with nature and with the horses.

The charm of San Rossore, park Migliarino San Rossore and the majestic leaning Tower of Pisa will do the rest, feel the organisers.

"It is the perfect place, the track is flat, the ground is very good for the wellness of the horses. The weather will be around 30 degrees on Saturday but the track is under the trees so it will be perfect for the horses."

Sheikh Hamdan is the favourite to win the CEI2* 120km race but the competition will be tough with some of the best riders in the world like two-time world champion Maria Alvarez Ponton (Spain) and French rider Virginie Atger also taking part.

"I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his son Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for lending support to the event,' Gianluca Laliscia, one of the organisers, told the Khaleej Times. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/horse-racing/hamdan-boosts-uae-hopes

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