KSA: Saeed Al Naimi from Qatar sealed a sensational victory in the 2024 Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup on Saturday afternoon, overcoming a strong challenge from runner-up Fares Abu Ras of Saudi Arabia to win the flagship international endurance event in AlUla.
Al Naimi completed the challenging 120km route on his ride to Guilen Fantasia in a classified time of 05:22:01, finishing 1:14 ahead of Abu Ras and 23:19 minutes in front of Hamad Al Tamimi from UAE, who completed the top three.
Incredible individual displays of speed, stamina, and strategic pace management by the trio saw them take top honours ahead of a 200-strong field that boasted the world’s greatest, most renowned riders.
The riders featured in the CEI 2* competition represented 50 counties with a total SAR 15 million prize pot on offer. A new world record for an endurance event, these factors – together with regional royalty, VIPs, and global audiences in attendance – further highlighted the ever-growing prestige of the Endurance Cup in this record-extending fifth edition.
Organised by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) in partnership with the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) and the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF), the event was an outstanding occasion like always at AlFursan Equestrian Village – providing inspiring shows sportsmanship and equestrian excellence as promised.
Prince Abdullah bin Fahd bin Abdullah, President of SAEF, added: “We extended our congratulations to Saeed Al Naimi and every rider who competed – their performances helped pave the way for an experience that audiences will remember for many yearsAfter his famous victory, Saeed Al Naimi said: “I’m really proud to have won this competition and competed against so many talented riders from different countries - it was a very difficult contest, but I’m delighted to have made it back first in the end. The track was challenging throughout, but I loved riding out there. The experience was great, and I’m already looking forward to coming back in the future.”
Underlining RCU efforts to empower and involve the AlUla community as part of its wider equine objectives, five local riders also participated in the 2024 edition as part of the development program under RCU’s equine strategy – which offers training, advice, technical support, and events experience.
Next up at AlFursan Equestrian Village is an additional 160km CEI 3* competition tomorrow. A prelude to the 2026 FEI World Endurance Championships in AlUla, 67 riders – including one from AlUla – will compete with a prize pot of SAR 5 million on offer.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup is one of the marquee sports events in the AlUla Moments Calendar of events and festivals, spanning a large number of other heritage sports events such as the AlUla Camel Cup, AlUla Falcon Cup, the Tent Pegging World Championship and Horseback Archery World Cup.