An incredible 356 riders from 32 nations started The HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival UK Endurance Masters this morning, the fourth ride held at Euston Park this year. Combined with the 150 national entries it makes the weekend the largest endurance event ever held in Europe. The Festival started with a huge party on Friday night for teams, local residents and all those invited in the rides, and closes tomorrow with a host of national graded and pleasure rides.

Riders from as far afield as Australia, South America and the United States travelled to the UK to compete in CEI 3* 160km, CEI 2* 120km, CEIYJ 2* 120km and CEI 1* 80km classes. Seven young Pony Club riders took part in a Lead Rein class over 5km, and were very warmly received by spectators and fellow competitors.

Weather conditions were near perfect, with a cool and mainly dry day. The ground was testing in parts owing to recent heavy rain and on Friday the FEI sanctioned the Ground Jury’s request to organisers to change the CEI 3* from six loops to five to avoid poor ground.

The ride veterinarians confirmed there were no serious injuries to any horses, with just one being transferred to Newmarket for the treatment of a laceration and all others back in their stables of fit to go home.

Tom Eaton Evans – Treating Veterinarian President said: “Given the number of entries, the treating clinic was remarkably quiet, which must be testament to the training and preparation put in by all involved.”

The UAE secured first place in three of the fours classes with Sweden scooping the other. A record 79 British athletes started the ride with many European nations including France and Spain fielding large teams and finishing well. One notable British finisher was Beth Langley riding her mother’s 19 year old, HS Ametista, in its last International competition.

Winners of each class were as follows:

CEI1* 80km – Annelie Eriksson (SWE) riding Jumeira Palm in a total ride time of 03:37:01 (average speed of 22.12kph)

CEIJYR2* 120km – Shaheen Yayhya Shaheen Khalfan Almazrouei  (UAE) riding Zulo in a total ride time of 05:02:50 (average speed 23.78kph)

CEI2* 120km – Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi (UAE) riding Aspenview Amir in a total ride time of 04:44:20 (average speed 25.32kph)

CEI3* 160km – Salem Hamad Saeed Malhoof Al Kitbi (UAE) riding Kilim De Jansavis in a total ride time of 07:35:33 (average speed 21.07kph)

As with all Euston Park rides, the entire €64,500 prize fund for the Saturday rides was awarded based on FEI’s Best Condition Awards [Article 822], as judged by members of the veterinary commission.

The top Prize Winners of the Best Condition Award in each class were:

CEI1* 80km – Alaurza ridden by Ali Abdulrahman Belghuzooz Al Zarooni  (UAE)

CEI2* 120km – Aspenview Amir ridden by Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi  (UAE)

CEI2*JR 120km – As Flor del Pago ridden by Khalifa Jamal Khamis Ahmed (BRN)

CEI3* 160km  – Umrod de Keropartz ridden by Eulalia Gonzalez Guardia (ESP)

Nick Brooks-Ward, Endurance Director at HPower Group Endurance, said: “What a great day for the sport of endurance. The atmosphere was entirely befitting of the ride’s ‘Festival’ title and the cooperation that I saw between competitors of all nationalities was just so impressive. I cannot thank His Grace, the Duke of Grafton, our wonderful volunteers, officials and all those who helped stage this event enough. We are really excited about the national rides tomorrow and delighted that those competitors get to share the facilities and experience of Euston Park.”

The ride was the third and final leg of the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival. The first two legs were held in Barcelona, Spain and Pisa, Italy. The final leg was presented by Longines and sponsored by Azizi Developments. The last 2017 Euston Park Endurance FEI (CEI 1* and CEI 2*) rides are scheduled for Saturday 2nd September and entries are now open.