ALULA: Qatari rider Saeed Al-Naimi won the 2024 Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup in the CEI 2 competition on Saturday.Â
Competing in a field of 200 riders from 50 countries, Al-Naimi finished first in the 120 km race ahead of with ÍćĹź˝ă˝ăâs Fares Abu Ras in second place, and the UAEâs Hamad Al-Tamimi in third.Â
With a time of 05:22:01, the winner finished 1:14 ahead of Abu Ras and 23:19 minutes in front of Al-Tamimi.
Following his win, Al-Naimi told ÍćĹź˝ă˝ă how proud he was to represent Qatar in this competition.Â
âMy experience was amazing here in Alula, and Iâm very proud of what I did for my country and I hope we keep going,â he said.Â
Al-Naimi said that as part of his preparation for the race, he rode the track in AlUla twice which helped him overcome the loop that challenged multiple riders.Â
âThe second loop was very difficult â the wide loop, itâs very deep sand and there are lots of rocks, so we needed to be careful and we made it,â he said.Â
âCompeting with 50 countries and getting first place is not easy, so Iâm very happy and proud,â Al-Naimi added.Â
The total prize pool for the 120 km competition is $4 million (SR 15 million).Â
Prince Abdullah bin Fahd bin Abdullah, president of the Saudi Equestrian Federation, presented the awards to the top three finishers in a ceremony that closed day one of the event.Â
âIâm proud; we look forward to having more champion Saudi riders, and in general Saudi equestrian sport is always on the podium,â said Prince Abdullah.
âThe Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup is one of the biggest endurance events on the Saudi equestrian calendar and this edition has shown why such events in the Kingdom are held in such high regard regionally and internationally,â he added.
On Sunday, AlUla will host the 160 km CEI 3* competition in Al-Fursan Equestrian Village, with 67 riders going head to head for a prize pot of $1.33 million.
âThese races that we are organizing now are a part of the preparations for (FEI World Championship) 2026,â Prince Abdullah told ÍćĹź˝ă˝ă.Â
The fifth Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup serves as a prelude to the 2026 FEI World Endurance Championships to be hosted in AlUla.Â