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TAS Country : June 21st 2012
32 Tasmanian Country Friday, June 22, 2012 News LONG HARD RIDE: From top left, a vet checks the heart rate of the winner, Brook Sample gets a nod from Brookleigh Excalibur, Debra Grull on Lauralyn Notorious who finished eighth and Jacopo Di Matteo on Lockleigh Park Wildfire who finished second Sampling success, yet again KAROLIN MacGREGOR PICTURES: Karolin MacGregor and Matt Bennet (www.mattbennet.com) HISTORY was made on Tasmania's East Coast last week when Brook Sample crossed the finish line first to win his sixth Tom Quilty Gold Cup endurance ride. Mr Sample rode his 15-year-old gelding Brookleigh Excalibur over the 160km course in a time of just nine hours, 14 minutes, 16 seconds. The pair won the middleweight section and earned Mr Sample a sixth Quilty title, which has not been achieved by anyone else. This year's Tom Quilty was held at St Helens on the East Coast. Riders from across the country and overseas travelled to Tasmania for the event, which saw 115 horses and riders line up for the traditional midnight start. Mr Sample and his family have been involved with endurance riding for many years and said he was thrilled to have won his sixth Quilty. ''I'm very happy,'' he said. ''It was a very good course with nice long stretches where you could get going, but there were also quite a few technical parts where you had to have your horse on its toes to get through.'' Mr Sample said getting through a major ride like the Quilty involved a lot of preparation and strategy. ''A lot of it comes down to knowing your horse and strategising how you ride, especially in the last couple of stages. ''You need to run a little bit behind the leaders, but not too far away that you can't catch them.'' Even after crossing the finish line, Mr Sample and his support crew faced a nervous wait to find out if Excalibur would pass the critical final vet check, to be declared the winner. Health of the horses is an integral part of the endurance competition. The win was also a significant achievement for Mr Sample's horse, which has now competed in three Quilty events, winning two and plac- ing eighth in another. Mr Sample said Excalibur was a very forward-moving horse. ''He pulled for the first four legs,'' he said. ''He just loved to get out there and get moving which is exactly what you want in an endurance horse.'' At 15 years of age, Excalibur still had a few competitive years left, Mr Sample said, but he did need careful management to keep him at his peak. ''I try not to run him too hard through the year and I ice his legs every day when he's worked,'' he said. Mr Sample said it had taken him six months to prepare Excalibur for the Quilty. Second across the line and the winner of the lightweight section was Jacopo Di Matteo from Italy riding Lockleigh Park Wildfire, who com- pleted the course in 9hrs 29min 33sec. Second in the middleweight section was Bradley Hill on Lockleigh Park Sparks Afire, while third in the middleweight went to Akhmed Pshunov, riding Tarrangower Crescendo. In the heavyweight section, Denis Foley and Jack took out first place, while Robbie Walsh and Free Spirit Czar came second and Mark Johnson and Sharahd Lateefa third. In the lightweight section, second place went to Wendy Dower and Castlebar Tempest and third place to Jennifer Annetts and Churinga Gold- fire. The junior section was won by Alice Mitchell, riding Beer Street Takone. Second place went to Sarah Parker and King Park Aberdeen Pelion; David Anderson riding Kar- rana Cracker Jack came third.
June 14th 2012
June 28th 2012