30 horses disqualified as FEI begins clean-up of ‘phantom’ endurance rides

  • Thirty horses, the majority trained in 13 stables owned by the ruling Maktoum and Nayhan families, have been disqualified from the UAE’s most onerous endurance race, the 160km President’s Cup, as the clean-up of the “phantom” rides begins.

    The FEI has commenced the marathon task of deleting 15 faked rides from its database, and adjusting results of real races whose participants were not qualified to start.

    The 30 horses represent 20% of the President’s Cup starters. They include the runner-up, Kalifa, ridden by Suhail Al Ghailani. Hadeer, the ride of world champion Sheikh Hamdan, was not qualified for this or his previous two races with other riders.

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    Twelve of the horses were not qualified for any of their FEI career starts. Two of them were the catch rides of Australian visitors Courtney Freeman and Brooke Warner.

    Others had only ever run once over 80km. These included Embrujo AG, the horse who created a further social media storm when pictured throughout the race wearing duct-taped visors and ear plugs.

    H&H reported in March that at least 13 race rides purportedly staged since 2012 had lifted their results from genuine events. An FEI spokesman said a further two faked rides were finally identified in the official investigation by the Equine Community Integrity Unit.

    The scam unravelled after H&H was tipped off that a President’s Cup qualifier listed as running on 21 January this year did not take place.

    Many hundreds of horses and riders are potentially implicated and decisions about further disciplinary action are awaited.

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