2004 Tom Quilty Gold Cup
|2004 Tom Quilty Gold Cup - 23rd Oct 2004|
Winning riders Michael Taylor and Curringa Domino and Joyce Corbett and Reeflex.
39th National Championship Endurance Ride
23-24th October 2004
By Julie Wilson
The Tom Quilty Gold Cup is described as the "marathon of endurance riding". The 160km or 100 miles to be ridden in one day is a test of both endurance and horsemanship. Two hundred and five riders headed off at 5 am to try and meet the challenge of the first "Quilty by the sea". There is only one winner but every rider who completes the course within 24 hours receives the Quilty Buckle, hence the events motto, "to complete is to win". To prevent horses from being over ridden, or competing lame a stringent series of veterinary checks is included as an essential part of the ride criteria. The event this year attracted riders from around Australia and overseas including The United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia and America. These riders were treated to some of the most picturesque countryside Australia has to offer, with the course moving through local vineyards, forests, and a 20 km stretch along Middleton Beach to the mouth of the Murray.
The event was based at the Port Elliot showground, which became home to over 1000 visitors. Port Elliot is a charming village approximately 91 km south of Adelaide, situated on the Southern Ocean between Victor Harbour and the Port of Goolwa. "Europeans moved into the area around Port Elliot as early as the 1830s and 1840s. The town was surveyed in 1852 and named after Sir Charles Elliot who was the Governor of Bermuda, Trinidad and St Helena at the time. By 1855 the port was dealing with 85 ships a year and in 1861 the 'Altrevida', a ship of 457 tons, became the largest ship ever to enter the port. However, in the space of a decade, seven ships were wrecked trying to navigate through the difficult rocky outcrops off the coast and it was decided that Victor Harbour would become the major port on the south coast." The area's history makes it a fitting venue for these adventurous riders who have formed a unique bond with an animal and head out into the darkness to conquer the challenge put before them.
The Quilty this year broke from the traditional midnight start to the starting time of 5am as it was thought safer. However, it was felt by many riders that this only advantaged faster combinations and left tired riders out in the dark with very few fellow competitors to offer assistance if needed. The Quilty to be conducted in Tasmania next year will revert back to the midnight start and the more traditional mid year date.
It was commented by both competitors and spectators that the 2004 Quilty was well organised and the venue excellent. A problem with the water truck becoming bogged on the way to deliver water to horses on the beach leg was unfortunate and cool weather conditions prevented this from becoming a tragedy.
Line honours this year went to the Queensland pair of Michael Taylor riding Curringa Dominno and Joyce Corbett aboard Reeflex in a time of 10 hours 15 minutes. Peter Toff and Electra BBP Murdoch who came over the line in third place, took out the first positon in the Heavyweight division as well as best-conditioned horse. It was an impressive performance on a once "recalcitrant beast". What makes the Quilty different from any other event is the kudos given to just completing. Two remarkable performances came from 13 year old South Australian rider Jessica Aistrope and her horse Sheridan Park Kariim who finished in 18 hours 26 minutes to receive her first Quilty buckle and a rider old enough to be Jessica's Great Grandmother, 69 year old Sue Parsons from NSW who completed her 19th Quilty in a time of 16 hrs 58 minutes riding Karumba Quixote.
Next year the "Quilty family" meets for the 40th Anniversary Cradle Mountain Chateau Tom Quilty Gold Cup, which will be based at the picturesque town of Sheffield located on the North West Coast of Tasmania on the 10th, 11th and 12th June 2005. The organising committee is focused on achieving the following aim: "To present a 21st century world class event, whilst upholding the traditions forged in the first Tom Quilty Gold Cup". Lets hope they can meet their objective.
|Photographs Supplied By|
Julie Wilson Equestrian Photography
PO Box 167
Warburton Victoria 3799
Phone 03 59 662668
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