The highly anticipated and renowned President’s Cup of UAE took place in Abu Dhabi, on the 8th of February, 2020. This race is a dream for any rider around the world, taking part in a 160 km journey across the desert of Al Wathba. In this edition, there were 4 different Countries selected and invited to compete in this challenging endurance race: Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, and Portugal.
The race began at 6.30 am, it was still dark and the horses started cantering through the fog at dawn. The visibility was minimal, but still, the courageous binomials persisted throughout their risky journey. The riders could feel the low temperatures of the desert air before sunrise, yet their enthusiastic horses cantered at impressive speeds to kickstart their adventure. Aside from the reduced visibility, the pure sounds of the horses, their breath and footsteps on the humid sand could advise the crew of their arrival to the crew points.
It was a large group of horses leading the race for the first 4 loops, horses from different stables, and riders from across the world. The race developed smoothly with every participant steadily enhancing their own pace. It was just before entering the penultimate loop, that a group of around 10 horses, together began to lead in the front, adding an exciting twist to the last loop. The brave energetic racers arrived all together and recovered within similar timings.
After more than 9 hours of enduring the competition, six horses flew through the last loop of 20 km. In the last 8 kilometers, some of the horses reduced their speed, and 4 horses maintained their outstanding speed at more than 30km/h. Finally, after the last curve, before stepping to the straight track of 2km, and heading to the final line, two horses of Al Wathba stables, gradually lead the distance from the rest. At the 160km point, towards the end, they both began cantering, effortlessly invigorating and setting the final tone of the race. They were then followed by two horses of F3 stables with approximately less than 1-minute distance.
The podium was for Layla Alredha (Al Wathba Stables), riding Jig malambo, a cross gelding originally from Uruguay, this race was his first 160 km in his sport career, with a previous podium the month prior in a 120km in Sh Mohd B Zayed Al Nahyan festival in Abu Dhabi. In second place was, Masa Tonbakji (Al Whatba Stables) riding Abu Cko Persik, gelding, originally from France, pure Arab, son of the well-known stallion Persicko and Nadouchka de Cesar. This horse took home first place in the previous month, in the 100km Ladies Cup at Sh Mohd B Zayed Al Nahyan festival in Abu Dhabi. His career remains as robust as his grand performance. In third place was Abdulla Ghanim Al marri (F3 stables) riding Volkane Feuillee (Medunec X Gomina II), a mare originally from France, angloarab, holding an impeccable performance track record in all the competitions she has participated in.
From the 5 top horses in this competition, one was a pure Arabian horse and the other four were Anglorabs. In comparison to the 2019 Presidents cup of UAE edition, which concluded at an average speed of 25.7km/h, by Lockelea Starwood Comet, from F3 Stables, we were pleasantly surprised with a more impressive speed victory of 26.4km/h in this 2020 edition.
Once again, the long-awaited annual President’s Cup of UAE offered a spectacle of high-quality binomials and indescribable emotions.
Setzi team is looking forward to more exciting seasons and adventures, cantering through the UAE.