SHAIKH Nasser bin Hamad Al Khallifa yesterday clinched the World Endurance Horse Ride Championship for the seven-year-old horse category in Babolna, Hungary.
The Royal Endurance Team captain steered Dhab to victory in this challenging 120km ride, which saw prominent riders from Hungary, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and France in the fray.
It was a morale-boosting win for Shaikh Nasser and his team, who are in the final phase of preparations for the FIA World Championship that will take place on August 25 at Euston Park near Thetford in the UK.
The Hungary rides are the last event for the Bahraini team, who have been camping in Europe for the last two months, during which they participated in several rides.
Shaikh Nasser completed the four-stage ride with a total ride time of five hours, 31 minutes and 10 seconds, and with a 21km per hour speed average.
The Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president was followed by French rider Mosti Laurent (5:44:23) in second place on Asiha.
Dupont Vincent, also of France, rounded off the podium by coming third overall on Khandjar.
Bahrain were also spearheaded by two of their most prominent riders - Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Abdulrahman Al Saad.
Shaikh Khalid, the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation president and captain of Al Khalidiya Stable steered Iklil to finish in 11th position in 6:09:12, while Al Saad was 13th in 6:10:44 on Karoj.
Commenting after the race, Shaikh Nasser expressed pride over this victory, adding that he was also pleased with his team's overall performance as the Bahraini trio came third overall in the team event behind champions France.
He noted that the team is keen to take advantage of the ride ahead of the world championships, which will be over 160km.
In the world championships, featuring a total of six stages, riders from 44 countries from all around the globe are due to take part.
On his part, Shaikh Khalid said he was pleased to come back to European races after a long break, stressing the significance of these warm-up events for the upcoming championship where world-class riders will be looking for glory.
Meanwhile, the championship concludes today with the eight-year-old horse ride, where Shaikh Nasser, Raed Mahmood, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa and Jaffer Mirza will be in action.
n His Majesty King Hamad yesterday sent a cable of congratulations to Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman, Bahrain Olympic Committee president and Royal Endurance Team captain Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa for winning the World Championship for seven-year-old horses.
His Majesty paid tribute to Bahraini riders, lauding their keenness to ensure that Bahrain's flag flies high in all sporting arenas.
His Majesty also hailed the outstanding results they had achieved in different regional, Arab and international races.