A record 65 riders started the third of four Endurance Rides at the glorious Euston Park in Suffolk, UK. This edition of the Longines presented Euston Park Endurance Rides, supported by Emirates Airlines, was HH Sh. Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Endurance Festival.
The FEI ride attracted entries from 17 nations including Italy, Hong Kong, Spain, Slovakia, India, Iraq and South Africa and once again comprised four classes: the CEI1* 80km, CEI2* 120km (Young Rider and senior classes) and the CEI3* 160km. The CEI3* boasted entries from three of the top ten FEI ranked open riders, including world No.1 and 2012 World Champion, Maria Alvarez Ponton (ESP). Also starting was superstar horse, Intisaar who may have felt quite at home at Euston Park, having been crowned World Champion here in 2012.
Weather conditions were favourable; warm, dry and bright but with a stiff breeze all day long and just one brief shower in the mid-afternoon. There had been huge amounts of rainfall in the days leading up to the ride – which caused the flooding of one water crossing and sections of very soft-going, necessitating course diversions – so the going was very variable however, riders reported that the course rode extremely well.
Foreign Veterinary Delegate, Piotr Szpotanski, commented after the race: “I was very impressed with the condition of the horses. Riders took care and in general speeds were sensible. We had very few eliminations in the 80 and 160km classes in particular and despite the humid conditions there were only very minor issues that were quickly treated.”
The winners of the four classes were:
CEI1* 80km – Saeed Mohd Khalifa Al Mehairi (UAE) riding Chahine in a total ride time of 03:14:07 (average speed 24.73kph)
CEI2* 120km – Mohamed Aida (ALG) riding SC Zeus in a total ride time of 04:49:40 (average speed 24.86kph)
CEIJ2* 120km – Fakhra Humaid Obaid Al Muhairi (UAE) riding Astafendi in a total ride time of 07:21:47 (average speed 16.30kph)
CEI3* 160km –Sh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum (UAE) riding Tinka La Majorie in a total ride time of 07:55:55 (average speed 20.17kph)
The prize fund of £54,500 was, as always, awarded entirely based on FEI’s Best Condition Awards [Article 822] and the winner of the CEI 3*, Sh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum was also presented with a Longines Master Collection watch.
The top Prize Winners of the Best Condition Award in each class were:
CEI1* 80km – M Anahi Sur ridden by Arjun Singh Ugham Singh (IND) sharing the prize money equally with HS Drift ridden by Carri Ann Dark (GBR)
CEI2* 120km – SC Zeus ridden by Mohamed Aida (ALG)
CEIJ2* 120km – Astafendi ridden by Fakhra Humaid Al Muhairi (UAE)
CEI3* 160km – Ulkan De La Teoulere ridden by Fauiz Al Turkomani (KSA)
Full results can be found at www.eustonparkendurance.com
Of her Best Condition result, Great Britain’s Carri Ann Dark, said: "This was such a surprise! We just came here for training really because the horse I was supposed to bring wasn’t quite right. We meant to bumble round and have some fun. He (HS Drift) loved it. I’ve never asked him to gallop and we raced flat out at the end and then they called Best Condition soon after we vetted, but he was perfect. I’m so proud of him.”
Nick Brooks-Ward, Event Director at The Hpower Group, said: "Our very grateful thanks to HH Sh. Hamdan for allowing us to host his Endurance Festival here at Euston Park with a world class field from 17 nations and numbers one and two in the world. We have seen some supreme equine athletes, who are the ‘Mo Farahs’ of the equestrian world, competed with the upmost respect and concern for their welfare."
“Endurance is truly a team sport and I would like to say thank you to our riders, crews and trainers for providing some excellent competition. Huge congratulations to all our winners.”
The final Longines presented Euston Park Endurance Ride, supported by Emirates Airline will take place on 13 August 2016.