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Mohammed Al Abbar and Gelny supreme in World Championship Young Horses


X-bionic sphere, Samorin, Slovakia. Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 September 2018. This was the venue for the 2018 World Championship Young Horses where 47 starters covered the 120km in four loops of 36, 36, 30 and 18km.

An important rider who didn’t sign present was defending champion Sabrina Arnold, last year’s winner in Brussels with Tammam La Lizonne. Her dramatic comments: “We were really busy with training for the WEG where we had three horses. And after all the disaster in Tryon I need to think where I want to go in endurance … maybe it is time to stop.”

Leading after the first loop was Julia Montagne – FRA (Shamy de Bozouls) but since it was a big group at the front it was not very clear where the power was. Julia would eventually slip outside the top three, however she was able to finish with a ninth place.

New leader for the second and third loop was Mohammad Atta – QAT (Aiz Shaqab) who started the final loop with an advantage of close to two minutes on Mohammed Al Abbar – UAE (Gelny). Al Abbar on his turn was closely followed in those final kilometres by a group of riders led by Kleinova Dominika – SVK (Victus S).

As expected average speeds increased and finally it was Mohammed Al Abbar who crossed the finish line first, with a very small margin on Khalid Al Nuami – QAT (Demonjoi Al Shaqab) who rode faster than the winner coming back from a fourth place. The final podium place was for early leader Mohammed Atta awarding Qatar with a second and third place.
Winner Mohammed Al Abbar: “I got this mare when she was four years old and I qualified her gradually. I am the owner, trainer and rider of this horse. I sent the horse to Elisabeth (Hardy) and I feel she is a very good trainer, better than so many others. We did the one star this summer in Pisa and then here. It was always planned to do this race although it was her first 120km. The race was very nice besides an incident in the third loop where a gate was closed and those behind us were able to catch again which is not fair. The last loop was very difficult with a lot of horses starting together. It was difficult till the end and we galloped together and finally I got it.”

Champion trainer Elisabeth Hardy after she also won as a rider the previous week the CEI3* 160km in Florac: “Mohammed sent me this mare from Dubai, she arrived at my stables beginning of June. The objective was the World Championship in Samorin. This race was perfect for Gelny because it’s flat and she has amazing potential with the canter and the speed. The mare belongs to Mohammed and he did the perfect race today, I think both mare and rider deserved this win. It’s amazing to see my two mares I have in training winning in one week two completely opposite races, Samorin and Florac. They did the same training … But they are also two opposite mares in their abilities … I am not only happy, but of course proud of the work done by my team these last few months.”

A force which cannot be ignored is the Slovakian Supeková family who travels around the world and are a potential to reckon in the juniors with sisters Lucia Jun and Michaela whilst mother Lucia was best of the family with a sixth place.
Lucia Supeková Senior: “Great race, amazing feeling when I was crossing the finish line hand to hand with my daughter Michaela, but in the same time I was wondering about my second daughter, where she was? How was she doing? It is really hard to explain that feeling, but endurance is not a sport, it is a life style for us, we love it so much, my husband Rastislav is helping us a lot from the managing point of view. It was a great year, yet we are already planning the schedule for the next event. We are traveling around the world and traveling for races, but Samorin and x-bionic sphere is our home. Best races ever are organized over here, it is our home, we love it.”

Closing words are for Richard Ungerhofer, President of the event: “First of all we are really happy that we were able to organise this kind of event. We are so happy we welcomed almost 50 horses from 15 countries around the world. We proofed again, that our team can organize these types of events on high level. Congratulations to all riders and horses, especially to the winner. Thank you to everyone.”

On Sunday a regular CEI2* 120km was scheduled and her we saw glory for a local rider and team.
Honour was for Miriam Malá – SVK (Sonic de Vilaformu) who was leading from the second loop onwards, thanks to a good recovery. Her fight for the first three loops was with Jozsef Toth – HUN (Koheiln Regolo) who in the end would just miss out on the podium with a fourth place. Second place was for Josefina Rolt – ARG (Yasira) who started the final loop in seventh place.
The final podium place was for Teodora Szosz – HUN (Boroka) who had all day long one foot on the podium.
Miriam Malá was very strong this race with a horse owned by Mario Hoffmann, the driving force behind the Samoan venue.  Mario himself got eliminated after the first loop the previous day for irregular gait.
Comments of the winner, Miriam Malá: “Every race you want to win, but at the start of this one I didn’t even think about winning.  The horse Sonic was great, he ran easily through the whole track, I was really happy after the last vet check. This was my last race this year. Really good race, with great atmosphere and organization. Congratulation to xbs people.”

Photo credit: x-bionic sphere / Dalibor Prokes