HUGE WEEKEND OF ENDURANCE AT EUSTON PARK’S H.H. SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM UK ENDURANCE FESTIVAL
SUFFOLK UK, 19 AUGUST:
Euston Park in Suffolk, UK, welcomed an incredible 580 horses and ponies from 33 nations over three days of International and National competition this weekend.
The event, the largest held in Europe this year, boasted everything from a Nations Cup CEIO2*120km to a Pony Club Championships, and everything in between, with prize money and a rider travel and expense allowance totalling £1millon.
Day one of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum UK Endurance Festival saw some fabulous riding conditions and 194 riders taking to the tracks in CEI1* 80km, CEIYJ1* 80km and CEIYJ2* 120km classes. In particular it was a great day for both the UAE and France (one first place and two top placings in Best Condition) but there was a notable British success for Sophie Moorhouse riding Crystal Wissam (Sam) in the CEIYJ1* 80km who scooped second place in both the ride and the Best Condition competition.
Sophie (15) from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire said: “Ride plans and tactics in this sport need to be flexible as lots of things can change throughout the event, but I wanted to start with the main group and maintain a consistent pace during the race. Sam has such great presentation times and I could use this to my advantage at the vet gates. I think his presentation times reflect how happy he was with how we were riding and with the course, which rode superbly, the rain in the days leading up the this event certainly helped the going which was pretty perfect. The way he went out on the last loop (in 4th place) made me realise that we could possibly catch the two horses in front of us and still be traveling within his comfort zone.
“Riding into the finish on this wonderful horse and seeing the flags at the finish and venue lying in front of us is a memory I won’t forget.”
On Day Two it was time for the excitement of a CEI3* 160km and the first CEIO2* 120km Team Nations Cup and Individual ride to be held in the UK, with 183 starters in total.
Twelve teams entered the Nations Cup, representing Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and UAE.
The final standings were:
1st UAE - total riding time 15:14:30
2nd Spain - total riding time 17:10:11
3rd France - total riding time 18:19:51
4th Great Britain - total riding time 20:01:23
5th Czech Republic - total riding time 20:13:44
6th Portugal - total riding time 20:18:58
7th Norway- total riding time 21:50:01
8th Sweden – total riding time 23:00:31
The Individual first placed rider was Shaheen Yayhya Shaheen Khalfan Almazrouei riding Castlebar Tazzani in a total ride time of 04:41:29, and UAE riders took the next five finish places.
Mohammed Essa, Chef D'Equipe of United Arab Emirates Team, said: “Firstly I’d like to thank H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for putting on this amazing event, with the support of Endurance GB and organised by HPower Group in such a beautiful place. Our team performed really well and showed good horsemanship over the 120km course, it’s a very encouraging result as we prepare for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in a few weeks time.”
The highest placed British rider was Carri-Ann Dark, from Devizes, riding Bey Sahli. She said: “I’ve ridden here quite a few times but the course was the best ever, it rode fantastically. We had an amazing time and although he was slow to calm down for vetting he did so well out on the course that we made time up. I did the CEI1* 80km on Friday and a 40k GER on Sunday so it’s been a brilliant and exhausting weekend!”
British rider Katie Bedwin (20) from West Sussex, riding Penhwnllys Samala De Mon, finished the 120km in 63rd place, and in so doing gained Elite Young Rider status and qualified for the World Championships.
Katie said: “We had a brilliant weekend and the results were the icing on the cake. I had a fall when riding in the CEI1* on Friday (still finished!), so it was touch and go whether I was going to be able to ride, but my horse was fit and ready to go and we were so desperate for the qualification I wanted to at least give it a try.
“The course rode very well, and Marley felt great all day, she’s very good about getting on with her job, so the atmosphere didn’t worry her. I was very relieved to finish and for Marley to still be sound and happy. It’s great to have the qualification for Pisa already and now we can concentrate on fine-tuning everything before next year. After we finished, we also realised that was my 10th CEI2* completion, which also means I’m now an FEI Elite young rider - an extra special ending to a great weekend!”
In the CEI3* 160km, the first placed rider was Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri (UAE) riding Sequinte in a total ride time of 07:01:53, UAE also scooped second place and Algeria third.
Sharon du Plessis, Ground Jury President, said: “We had a busy two days with over 370 horses passing through the vet gates. The infrastructure was excellent and coped well with the numbers of entries, we also had an amazing team of officials and vets and I think we achieved my aim; which is always to stage a fair and equal competition. “Although we as officials are doing everything we can to protect the welfare of the horse the main responsibility lies with the athlete and I was pleased with the quality of horsemanship and the atmosphere around the site.
“The course was in great shape and the weather was really kind to us after so many hot weeks. Euston Park always feels like a very special and unique place to be.”
On Sunday, the third and final day of the Festival, eight National classes ranging from a 20km Pleasure Rider to an 80km GER ran alongside the four Pony Club Championships distances.
A Suffolk Punch, a Mule, Shetland and Coloured Ponies helped make up the 203 ponies and horses riding at this huge celebration of national Endurance. The youngest rider must certainly have been Fred Eaton-Evans (son of Treatment Vet, Tom) who undertook the 20km PR Pony Club Grassroots Championships on his trusty Shetland, Harry, on his eighth birthday!
After his successful completion, Fred said: “It took me about two hours and I’m feeling quite tired and relieved. I think it’s the furthest I’ve ever ridden. I’m going to go home and watch Boss Baby.”
The Suffolk Punch, Whatton Einstein was ridden by Sam Moore. As a registered ‘endangered species’ these rare heavy horses have close ties to Euston Park owing to Clare, Countess of Euston’s dedication to the breed.
Clare Valori, Co-Vice Chairman, Pony Club said: “It has been a remarkable opportunity for The Pony Club to be here through the unbelievable generosity shown by HPower. Our members have enjoyed it enormously and I wish I could have bottled the stars in their eyes watching them at their briefing on Saturday evening.
“Not only have they all ridden the wonderful course and been scored on a Performance Formula, but they were also scored for their turn out and how they presented to the vets, it’s been a great learning for them.
“Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and it has been such a positive experience.”
For further details of the Pony Club Championships please visit www.pcuk.org
Nicki Thorne, Chair, Endurance GB, said: “It has been a very special weekend with an incredible, inclusive atmosphere of cooperation between all the nations, and the experienced international and amateur riders and horses. For the GBR team to come fourth in the first ever Nations Cup held in the country was a great result.
“I have loved seeing the amazing variety of horses here, from the highly trained sports horses at the top of their career on Friday and Saturday to every breed variety, shape and size of horse today. All enjoying the same sport.
“It’s also been so positive to welcome The Pony Club here for their Championships, and they’ve dealt brilliantly with the size of venue and number of people. It’s inspiring to see the next generation of Endurance riders learning from others and enjoying the sport. ”
Event Director, Nick Brooks-Ward said: “It’s been such a huge weekend here and a fitting end to another successful season at Euston Park. I can’t thank all of our stewards and volunteers enough, as well as His Grace The Duke of Grafton, the local landowners and residents and the amazing teams of officials that we have welcomed from across the globe this year.
“Euston Park couldn’t happen without the huge support of our generous sponsors, but wouldn’t be what it is without the riders and crew who make these events such fun and biggest thanks of all go to all brilliant horses and ponies that are at the centre of what we do.
“Now we can start to plan for 2019 and in particular look forward to hosting the European Championships in 361 days time!”
The first placed rider in each FEI class was:
CEI1* 80km – Khalaf Ahmad Saeed Al Gaith(UAE) riding Mazyoona in a total time of 2:59:38
CEIYJ1* 80km – Auxane Govindin(FRA) riding Almyr Des Eymes in a total ride time of 3:45:11
CEIYJ2* 120km – Saif Ahmed Mohammed Ali Almazrouei(UAE) riding Venise Des Ormeaux in a total ride time of 4:53:44
CEIO2* 120km - Shaheen Yayhya Shaheen Khalfan (UAE) riding Almazrouei in a total ride time of 04:41:29
CEI3* 160km, the first placed rider was Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri (UAE) riding Sequinte in a total ride time of 07:01:53
The first placed Best Condition horse in each FEI class was:
CEI 1* 80km - Billy du Melay ridden by Alice Fabre (FRA)
CEIYJ1* 120km - Venise des Ormeaux ridden by Saif Ahmed Mohammed Ali Almazrouei (UAE)
CEIYJ1* 80km - Almyr des Eymes ridden by Auxan Govindin (FRA)
CEIO2* 120km - Castlebar Tazzani riden by Shaheen Yayhya Shaheen Khalfan Almazrouei (UAE)
CEI3* 160km - Sequinte riden by Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri (UAE)
Full results are available here: www.tawqeet.ae/events
National riders were ranked on a Performance Formula Criteria and full results will be available here: www.eustonparkendurance.co.uk
Follow all the action from this weekend at: eustonparkendurance.co.uk
The H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum UK Endurance Festival organisers are grateful to event sponsors Emirates Airline, Longines, Azizi Developments, Mubadala and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One for their support.
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Notes to editors:
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