May 5, 2013, Windsor, UK ~ On a very cool day with high winds and occasional heavy showers 48 competitors representing seven countries galloped away from the start with the splendid back drop of Windsor Castle.
This was an historic occasion as it was the first time that an endurance ride was included in the events of Royal Windsor Horse Show that was celebrating its 70th anniversary.
The majority of the route was over the Queen’s private Estate of Windsor Great Park. The going was exceptional, over beautifully mown grass and sandy tracks. The mildly undulating course passed several famous statues and set another first when part of the first loop was set around the steeplechase course at Ascot Race Course that will host the famous Royal meeting next month. It also passed Cranbourne Tower, the birthplace of Eclipse in 1764, an outstanding British thoroughbred racehorse undefeated in the 18th-century winning 18 races, including 11 King’s Plates. After retiring from racing he became a very successful sire.
It was disappointment for the sponsors Bahrain when their leading rider HH Sh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa was eliminated after the first leg and his brother Sheikh Khalid after the third. Another favorite was HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum who retired after the second loop.
The sun had arrived for the final vetting that was watched with great interest by Her Majesty the Queen accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall. The final result was greatly effected by veterinary inspection First to cross the finish was Abdullah Ghanim Al Marri but his horse, La Crysada, trotted up lame handing first place to his UAE compatriot Rashed Mohammed Al Baloush riding Buchanero who had crossed the finish only a few seconds later. Second place was awarded to another Dubai rider Saeed Ahmed Jaber Al Harbi riding the Australian-bred Castlebar Kadeen. The next to finish was a leading UK rider Tricia Hirst who had set the pace over most of the ride but unfortunately her horse Vlacq Diamond Sparkle was eliminated metabolic. The next to finish was the Belgium rider Elisa Arnould, daughter of the Belgium team manager Pierre Arnould, but she was also denied third place, as her horse Shana De Rendpeine was lame. So eventually third place went to the British rider Dace Sainsbury, riding Carol Legg’s 15 year old French Lieutenant who finished in 04h 48m 32s (24.954kmph). This combination had won on over this distance in March.
1st in Rashed Mohammed Ibrahim Al Baloushi riding Bucanero,UAE( 2006 grey gelding) av speed 26.416k/h, finish time: 04:32:34
2. Saeed Ahmed Jaber Al Harbi riding Castlebar Kadeen, (1997 grey mare), finish time: 04:39:39
3. Dace Sainsbury, UK riding Fench Lieutenant, (1998 chest gelding,) finish time: 04:48:32.
In total twenty-six finished, the last UK rider Davis Hawes with the Argentine bred Zt Richshakfy in 06h 54m.48s (14.031kmph) more than 2hr 22m after the winner.
Full Results: http://www.endurance-timing.net/event_news.php
Report and Photos by Gilly Wheeler http://www.photogilly.com/