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Sheikha Latifa delight as she returns to winning ways

posted on 04/02/2013: 2051 views

Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum made a triumphant return to the podium at the Emirates Airline Dubai Grand Prix FEI World Cup Qualifier on Saturday, emerging victorious atop Peanuts de Beaufour.

Stepping out last in round two after topping the table in the opening round of the Grand Prix, Sheikha Latifa needed to go clear in less than 51.07 seconds to win the class, and the 27-year-old did just that.

"I'm really happy with the mare because she's come a long way,” said an emotional Sheikha Latifa of nine-year-old Peanuts de Beaufour. "I brought her up since she was five and we went through tough times. And at one point I thought there was no chance I'd be able to ride her.

"So, to actually come and win a Grand Prix here, it's just super. And in Dubai, at home. I'm really happy. She's a super horse, a fantastic horse and when I just ride her well she'll just do everything for me.”

Sheikha Latifa, who was third on the podium 12 months ago, was confident of going faster than Ferenc Szentirmai, who had gone clear on Corenso in 51.07s. The UAE rider eventually went clear in 48.48s to seal victory.

"I knew I could go faster,” said Sheikha Latifa. "With her, she's super-fast. I just only had to keep her balance on the turns and just go.”

Nine riders had progressed to the second round, eight of who were faultless in round one. An eventful round two saw Saudi Arabia's Olympic bronze medallist Prince Abdullah bin Meteb Al Saud go clear on Senorita and two riders later Qatar's Ali Al Rumaihi also went clear, clocking an identical time of 54.67s.

In a bizarre scenario, the pair briefly held joint first place before Ramzy Al Duhami upstaged them with a perfect round in 51.61s. "This happened to me once before in a speed class, clocking the exact same time as someone else. It's very strange,” said Al Rumaihi, who ended up in joint fourth place along with Prince Abdullah.

"I'm pleased with my weekend here in Dubai. The rain and cooler temperatures suited my horse a lot more. It was too hot the first day, which really affected my other horse, Victoria. Ravenna jumped well and I'm looking forward to the next show in Al Ain.”

Mohammed Al Owais, the only other Emirati to make it to the second round, was hoping to replicate his success from his Grand Prix win in Doha earlier this season, but a risky move at the fourth fence meant the 33-year-old was thrown off his horse, Tolita.

"Thank God I am OK,” said Al Owais. "I had a decision to make. Either to just try and go clear and maybe make the podium, or to go with maximum speed and try to win. So I took the decision to try and win and you can see the result.

"Of course the faster you go, the greater the risk. I took a risk and unfortunately it didn't pay off.”

Earlier, the Dh80,500 Longines Accumulator class saw an Emirati sweep after Ahmed Al Juneibi, Rashid Al Rumaithi and Abdullah Al Marri completed the podium. – Sport 360°


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