x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Baloushi brothers' double delight

The al Baloushi riders from the Al Reef Stables are on the crest of the wave in endurance.

DUBAI // The al Baloushi riders from the Al Reef Stables are on the crest of the wave in endurance. They celebrated a double to take their tally to five winners and a second from six races. Sultan al Baloushi led a superb 1-2 finish with his cousin Omair al Baloushi in the FEI 120-kilo- metre Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Challenge in Dubai and the younger brother Rashed, 14, won the 100km Boudthib trophy for the junior and young riders in Abu Dhabi.

Yousef al Baloushi, who trained all the winners, said he did nothing special in churning out the victors. "Sometimes you need a lot of luck in this game and right now it seems to be with me. I thank God for that. "This is the best ever start we have had. The horses that came first and second have done nothing better than today's finish. "And the one that won in Boudthib was also winning for the first time. So it's all going well for us. we are very excited and cherishing every moment."

The trainer al Baloushi, who was denied of a win in last weekend's race by his Abu Dhabi rival Ali Khalfan al Jahouri from the Al Wathba Stables, had to make the exit at the end of the penultimate loop in yesterday's race when the part-Arab mare Lauralyn Sisette was vetted out for lameness. "She is new for endurance and got very nervous," added al Baloushi. "She was hard to control and ran at a crazy pace.

"The rains had made the conditions underfoot a bit heavy in some parts of the course and difficult for the horses." Sultan, on the 12-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding Sharahd Talik, and Omair, on Hurst Ibn Hamed, crossed the finish line together in just over five hours for Al Reef. Khalifa Ghanim al Marri on the seven-year-old Purebred Arabian mare Azurra was a further two minutes behind in third for the Fazaa Endurance Team.

Al Reef's Mohammed Jasim Rahimi was fourth on Corleone and the Dubai-based Spanish world champion Maria Alvarez Ponton was fifth on Halim for the Emirates Stables. Meanwhile, Rashed completed back-to-back victories in the event for the junior and young riders. He rode Al Galahn to victory in over four hours and three minutes with Hamdan Mousa al Hammadi over a minute behind in second on Rhiannons Nimbi for Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum.

The Al Reef also occupied the third and fourth spots with Munthar al Baloushi (Kasalo) and Ahmed Ali al Yahyaei (Spoutnik). apassela@thenational.ae