England’s Eustin Park World Endurance Championship Test ride, held July 24 near Newmarket, drew an international crowd to try the Championship course.
July 24 ~ Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum took top honors, winning the 160 km Open ride on Pony Express Hipolyte in a ride time of 7:40:06 pacing at an average speed of 19.65kph. Second in was Saed Al Ameri riding Pappo, with Sheikha Maryam Al Aqsimi on Nadirha Du Breuil third. The UAE finished riders 1 – 8 in a group within 1 second of each other. Spain’s Alex Luque Moral riding Ikland was the first on-continent rider to finish, 15 minutes later. Team USA saw their rider, Becky Hart on Juma’s Team Oued El Kebir Larzac, finish in 13th place with a ride time of 8:43:47. The 160 km had six loops of 38, 29, 30, 20, 23 and 20 km and 21 out of 51 starting riders completed the ride. Eliminated on loop three were Maria Alvarez Ponton riding Bajzar and UAE Crown Prince, HH Sh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum riding Shaddad.
The US finished a great day as Heather Reynolds, Cheryl Van Deusen and Devan Horn completed the 120km 2*FEi ride. Reynolds finished first on Opium Lord in a ride time of 5:26:03 with Van Deusen on Dacora in 20th place. Horn finished first in the Young Rider division on Tawmarsh Muharram. The 120 km ride had five loops of 29, 30, 20, 23 and 20 km and finished 21 out of 38 riders.
Reynolds was offered the nine year old, Opium Lord (Ismael D’Aurabel x Lady Charriere) hours before the race started and would meet her horse before the race on Sunday morning. Her instructions were to go with the group. “At my third vet check I saw Sheik Mohammed and thanked him for letting me ride such a wonderful horse,” she said. “He told me to just enjoy myself and have a good time.”
Reynolds found her horse “completely professional” and read him well during the ride. “When I came in to my second to the last vet gate there were still five horses in the lead group,” she said. “By the last vet check there were four. When I left the last vet check there was only one that would be able to be near me as my horse recovered so fast. Opium was the first to recover at every vet check. I had a 3.5 min lead. It was a 12 mile loop. Around mile six the other rider caught me. When he did I sped up a bit more. His horse had to work so much harder than mine to make up the 3.5 min and now had no time to rest but had to accelerate. When we were in the last 1/2 mile we started to pick up the pace and by a little more than a 1/4 mile left we gunned it. My Anglo was much faster and I was able to pull him up a bit and still cross the line an easy 15 lengths ahead.” Reynolds wanted to express her thanks and admiration to Sheikh Mohammed for his generosity in lending her Opium Lord, the winning mount.
The US group was supported by USEF Endurance Director, Vonita Bowers and newly appointed endurance Chef d’Equipe, Emmett Ross as well as top US riders, Valerie Kanavy, John Crandell, Deborah Reich and Melody Blittersdorf.
Euston Park will be the site of the 2012 August 25 World Endurance Championship.
Euston Hall is thought to be first mentioned in a history dating to 1087 as a manor belonging to the Abbey at Bury St Edmunds. There was a manor house here throughout the Middle Ages and in 1578 Elizabeth I stayed here with the Rookwood family on her way to Norwich.