Brothers-in-law Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum of The United Arab Emirates shared victory in the Royal Windsor Endurance 120km CEI** competition yesterday.
“We wanted to make both fathers happy – His Majesty King Hamad and my father-in-law His Highness Mohammed Bin Rashid – by crossing the line together,” said Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad, who was riding Onirik de Becheral.
“He [Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, riding Yamamah] was four minutes ahead of me and when I caught him up we had a bit of a chat. We decide to grab hands and cross the line together.”
The pair crossed the line in 4:52.30. Sheikh Hamdan’s father, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was also a starter on Aghaab, but stopped on course.
Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa is married to a sister of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, and the joint win allowed family pride to be more greatly spread.
The start of the ride was blessed with warm early-morning sunshine as a field of 44 started out on the first loop. The course included a stretch on the turf in front of the stunning Ascot Racecourse Grandstand, before sweeping around the edge of Windsor Great Park. The three loops that followed took in iconic landmarks within the park, including Jubilee Statue, Prince Consort Statue and The Long Walk, and also treated riders to spectacular panoramic views of Berkshire and Windsor Castle.
The victorious Sheikhs had been part of the leading pack from the outset. They had broken away from the rest of the field quickly, but their stronghold became particularly evident by the second loop. Towards the end of the race, the leaders, who were predominantly the winners’ fellow countrymen, were averaging speeds of over 24km/h, with the winning average speed recorded as 24.615km/h.
“It was a great race for me, particularly as I was eliminated last year,” said Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamed after finishing. “I loved the race, the track and the competition.”
Sheikh Hasher Bin Mohammed Thani Al Maktoum took third for the UAE with Satanik Larzac, while Bahrain claimed fourth and fifth courtesy of Yacoon Yousif Yacoob Al Hammadi (Plage El Milora) and Hood Ebrahim Ali Husain Bucherri (Sheer Arleta FL Ewalraid). French rider Alexandre Monbrun, who had been right with the winner all the way, faded to sixth on Al Baran, finishing in a just over four hours and 54 minutes.
The highest placed British rider was Harry Ingram, who finished 12th on Bronze Nahdir with an average speed of 21.445km/h.
There were 30 completions over all.