27 June 2016, Euston Park, UK ~ Endurance riders from 12 nations set-off on the second of four Euston Park Endurance Rides on 19 July 2016 presented by Longines and supported by Emirates Airlines.
Competitors from the United Arab Emirates were victorious in the three open classes over 160km, 120km, and 80km but the headline result of the day was the win by the twenty-one year-old Briton Caitlin Theodorou, winner of the CEI 2* 120km Young Rider class who achieved her aim to qualify her horse My Marco for the Young Rider European Championships in Portugal this September. A total of 62 horses crossed the start-line in the four different classes; with 33 starters in the CEI 1* 80km, 19 in the CEI 2* 120km, 2 in CEI 2* 120km JYR, and 7 in the CEI 3* 160km. 28 horses finished. Although the weather was ideal, cool with a light breeze, it had been a very wet week and consequently the ground was heavy and this contributed number of eliminations of which only three were metabolic.
CEI 3* 160km
The CEI 3* 160km went to Saif Ahmed Al Mozroui (UAE)riding Ramaah (Fenwick Sunset Tryst), ride time07: 58:35(27.23 kmph). Al Mozroui won the 120km ride at Windsor this year with this 12 year Australian-bred gelding.
CEI 2* 120km
The CEI 2* 120km was a victory for Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri (UAE) riding Zulo, bred in Portugal, with a ride time 05:25:29 (22.12 kmph). Best Condition went to 2nd placed Perplex De Vere, a 9-yr-old gelding bred in France.
CEI 2* 120km JYR
The winner of the CEI 2* 120km JYR was Caitlin Theodorou (GBR) riding the 9-yr-old Welsh Part-bred My Marco in a ride time of 07:00:20 (14.27 kmph). My Marco was also awarded Best Condition.
To the great surprise of Theodorou, she was the only combination to finish this class at Euston Park on this day, Theodorou scooped the entire £11,500 prize fund available for the Best Condition Award. All the winning Best Condition Horses were given a basket of carrots all grown locally in the fields around the endurance route.
Theodorou, a Geography student at Manchester University, said: “I’m in complete shock! I just never expected this and My Marco really gave it his all. He has a heart of gold and didn’t put a foot wrong. He was bred as a show jumper but just loves endurance and has such guts. This has been my dream for so many years and this was my last chance to make it happen [qualify for JYR Championship] but I never imagined it would and at a great event like Euston Park.I actually can’t believe it. And then I heard about the money and it’s just amazing! I must thank my Mum, who does everything for me and deserves this win too.”
The winner of the CEI1* 80km was Hamad Obaid Rashed Al Kaabi (UAE) riding the French-bred Belik with a ride time of 03:45:28 (average speed 21.29 kmph). Ismael Mohammed, the trainer of this 7-yr-old that also won Best Condition commented “Our goal was qualification for this years 7-yr old World Championship in France. Belik surprised everyone by winning today and has a promising future in the world of endurance.” This was the second victory for Al Kaabi at Euston this year having won the 160km ride in May.
The event director, Nick Brooks-Ward said: “We had 49 millimeters of rain on Thursday night necessitating a route change including removing a river crossing that had flooded. Given the circumstances, the attrition rate is understandable and I’m pleased that all the horses, except for one that suffered a cut leg and was sent for treatment at the Newmarket Equine Hospital, finished safe and sound.”
Text and photos by Gilly Wheeler