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Royal Victory

BAHRAIN'S Royal Endurance Team rider Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa won the 160-kilometre event of the Thetford race, held yesterday in England.

It was the first European endurance victory for Shaikh Khalid, who is fast improving as one of the kingdom's best riders.

The Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) first vice-president completed the distance in a dominant eight hours 19 minutes and 12 seconds, which was more than half an hour than his closest rival. It was also a close mark to the winning time of Royal Team leader and Breef president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa in Thetford last year.

Shaikh Khalid was congratulated for his victory by Dubai Ruler Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Shaikh Nasser. Both Sheikh Mohammed and Shaikh Nasser withdrew from the race in the second stage due to an injury to their respective horses.

Shaikh Khalid said that he dedicates his hard-earned win to His Majesty the King.

Finishing second in the 160km event was Royal Team member Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, who clocked a time of 8:56:24, while Shaikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the UAE placed third in 9:31:21.

Meanwhile, Bahrainis Yousef Taher and Ghazi Al Dossary finished sixth and eight respectively in the 120km race at Thetford. Taher had a mark of 7:00:54, while Al Dossary came in in 7:19:37.

Mohammed Ahmed Al Subose of the UAE won in 5:20:35.

Gulf Daily News BAHRAIN'S Royal Endurance Team, led by Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, will be taking part in the Thetford Endurance Race in the UK tomorrow.

The event, which will feature races over 160 kilometres and 120km, is part of the Royal team's preparations for the International Federation of Equestrian Sports (FEI) World Endurance Championship, which is scheduled to take place in Terengganu, Malaysia in November later this year.

Both Shaikh Nasser and Shaikh Khalid will be competing in the 160-km event, along with Shaikh Daej bin Salman Al Khalifa, Mohammed Abdulaziz, Ahmed Abdulla and Yousef Taher.

Meanwhile, the Bahrainis taking part in the 120km race will be Mohammed Abdulsamad, Ghazi Al Dossary, and Jordan Galas.

Shaikh Nasser, the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president, said that tomorrow's race will be the Royal team's final event prior to the world championships.

Shaikh Nasser also decided to compete in the 160km race with the main Royal team members, who will participate in the Malaysian event.

The race will be the second endurance meet being participated by the Royal team in Thetford. Last month, the team took part in a similar competition, with five of its top riders finishing among the top 10 in each of the categories.

Shaikh Nasser and Shaikh Khalid took part in the 120km race then, along with Shaikh Daej. Shaikh Khalid completed the race sixth overall, while Shaikh Nasser came in ninth and Shaikh Daej 10th.

Abdulaziz, on the other hand, came fourth in the 160km race, while Taher was fifth.

The medical check for tomorrow's race will take place this afternoon, to be held under the supervision of the FEI.

The event will be the Bahrain's third participation for the season. The first was the Bahrain Cup in England, while the second race was in Austria.