x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Late blow to the UAE's bid

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum's Jazyk is ruled out of the FEI World Endurance Championship with an eye infection.

The UAE's hopes of a double gold in today's FEI World Endurance Championship in Terengganu, Malaysia, received a cruel blow when Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum's first- choice horse, Jazyk, was ruled out of the event because of an eye infection after the pre-race veterinary inspection. The Dubai Crown Prince will now ride reservist Kaysand Farrazah and as a result of the Arabian chestnut gelding's elimination, he has sacrificed his place in the team event.

"I pulled out of the team and will ride in the individual race because Jazyk is not 100 per cent," he said. "We have worked hard for this moment and as a team we have a good chance of a medal. I don't want them to miss out on this opportunity. I will do my best for a good result." Sheikh Hamdan's younger brother, Sheikh Majid, will now spearhead the UAE challenge for the team title on board Spenda Crest Kamouflage, a chestnut gelding, aged 11, who was placed joint seventh in the FEI Endurance Horses' World ranking list.

The three others in the team are Mohammed Ahmed al Subose on Koum Des Jamets, Abdullah Thani bin Huzaim astride Castlebar Kadeen and Mubarak Khalifa bin Shafya on Zakah Zahara. The latter was the first past the post in last year's European Open in Portugal before being disqualified after failing to pass the post-race veterinary test. Sultan Ahmed Sultan bin Sulayem on Tazoul El Parry will be the other rider with Sheikh Hamdan vying for individual honours.

The UAE are still among the favourites in a race that has attracted more than 130 riders from 32 countries. apassela@thenational.ae