THE weekend of June 7-10 saw the running of the 48th Tom Quilty Gold Cup.
This year’s event was held in Queensland (the event moves from state to state each year) in the small township of Kilkivan in the South Burnett district.
Kilkivan has been hit with three major floods in the last 18 months but despite this the small community managed to host an excellent event with help from sponsors and local government support to rebuild many of the buildings lost in those floods.
Five members of the Tenterfield endurance-riding club attended with their horses plus support crew to take up the national challenge.
They joined 245 other riders from across Australia and several international riders. Greg Lyons was riding Chingford Just Dreaming, Narelle Childs was riding Halo Kazaam, Damien Keys was riding Elfar Karnella, Michael Combe wasriding Nasr and Caroline Windle was riding Sarina Rosetta.
This year, the weather was unseasonably warm, but at midnight on Friday, June 7, riders headed out into the night on the first leg of the five-leg course.
The course without doubt was a true “Quilty” course. The conditions and terrain were challenging which led to a low successful completion rate of only 43 per cent. Many horse and rider combinations actually completed the whole 160km ride and were vetted out at the end of the ride... the horse has to be “fit to continue”.
The gold cup was once again won by Brook Sample on his “warhorse” Brookleigh Excalibur, now 17 years old.
This is the third win for the combination and Brook’s seventh gold cup win, although this year he was challenged right up until the end with a gallop finish with Ahmed Pshunov riding Tarrangower Crescendo this pair vetted out at the final check.
Brook’s riding time was an incredible 9hrs 14 min 52 sec.
Three of the five Tenterfield riders completed the course with Greg Lyons riding Chingford Just Dreaming gaining not only his and Dreamer’s first Quilty buckle but also third heavyweight rider - an outstanding success for Greg and also Dreamer’s breeders Barry and Sue Rhodes.
Three years ago, this mare suffered a life-threatening colic attack and underwent emergency surgery at Oakey Hospital to correct a twisted stomach.
Barry and Sue spent many months nursing her back to good health. She made an amazing recovery post surgery.
Colic surgery is notorious for its high mortality rate and often horses do not get back into competitive work again, but with Barry and Sue’s care and Dreamer’s determination, she battled on.
Six months later Greg took over Dreamer and started to train her. He rode her in several endurance events, all of them successful, the Tom Quilty being the ultimate aim. It was a very emotional time for everyone when Dreamer so successfully completed the course.
Other successful completions were Narelle Childs who now has her sixth buckle from seven attempts and two Quilty buckles with Halo Kazaam also a very competitive and well performed horse.
Caroline Windle gained her fourth buckle from seven attempts, two of which have been on her home-bred mare Sarina Rosetta, another amazing little mare.
Tenterfield Endurance Riding Club holds horse endurance and social rides at their Girard ride base, east of Tenterfield.
There are several web pages with good information www.qeraasn.com.au and if you are interested in joining the Tenterfield Endurance Riding Club we would love to have you come visit and train with us.
Please contact club secretary Philippa Lillyman on (02) 6737 5438 or Michael Combe president on 0429 907 490.