Count­down to the Cup

The Western Star - - Rural Weekly -

AT MID­NIGHT on Fri­day July 12 more than 300 horses and their rid­ers will take to the pitch dark tracks of the Im­bil State For­est on Queens­land’s Sun­shine Coast to tackle Aus­tralia’s most pres­ti­gious en­durance ride, the Tom Quilty Gold Cup.

Steeped in his­tory and in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised by the en­durance com­mu­nity, this Tom Quilty Gold Cup will see rid­ers from as young as 12 and right up to 78 years of age take on the challenge of com­plet­ing a 160km course with just a head­light and their four-legged best friend for com­pany.

This is a story of ad­ven­ture; true grit; the in­cred­i­ble part­ner­ship be­tween horse and rider and a pas­sion for the sport of en­durance, which goes right back to 1966 when R.M. Williams and his wife Erica es­tab­lished the iconic Aussie event.

Matthew Sam­ple, the owner for Stir­ling’s Cross­ing Eques­trian Com­plex which will host the Tom Quilty Gold Cup for the first time, said he and his team were de­lighted to wel­come what many ex­pect will be one of the big­gest event in its 54-year his­tory.

“The who’s who of en­durance will be here with de­fend­ing cham­pion Kristie Taprell hop­ing to win her third ti­tle be­ing joined in the field by 2016 win­ner Debbie Grull, 2015 win­ner Ben Hud­son and 2013 win­ner Brook Sam­ple who hopes to con­tinue to build on his ex­ist­ing record of seven Tom Quilty Gold Cup wins,” he said.

“Also worth not­ing is the high num­ber of ju­niors ex­pected to take to the track for the first time this year which is great news for the fu­ture of en­durance.”

PHOTO: DENISE KEE­LAN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

FINE FORM: De­fend­ing cham­pion Kristie Taprell will be aim­ing for her third Tom Quilty Gold Cup ti­tle in Im­bil .

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