Wednesday, November 02, 2005

So Easy For Champion Philip

Wednesday 2nd November 2005

Ulster rider Philip Giles from Donaghadee recently won the title Irish National Endurance Champion on his 2* horse Bridgewater Vicki, beating last year's winner by over 10 minutes.

Terri Moore from Wicklow defending her title riding Galeshill Boffin, made a sustained and valiant attempt but was unable to meet the challenge set by Philip on the last 10 miles stage of the race and had to settle for second place.

The riders set out from Tullybrannigan at 8am and headed up into Tollymore Forest. After completing around eight miles around the forest tracks they headed across country over fields, tracks and bridle paths for Castlewellan Forest, returning to Tollymore and Tullybrannigan having completed the first 25 miles of the 50 miles race at a steady pace of just over 16k per hour.

Philip was first to call time for the vet in just over three minutes from arrival, his horse vetting successfully with heart rates, well below the maximum 64bpm, a theme set to continue throughout the day. The second loop took the riders in the opposite direction down around Donard Wood across to Tollymore and back to Tullybrannigan, a distance of approximately 15 miles. The riders still only minutes apart remained in sight of each other throughout this loop returning to the venue together.

Once again the speed of vetting gained Philip those extra precious minutes allowing him to set his challenge in the final loop. At the second vet gate the horses were rested for 30 minutes before a compulsory veterinary representation and departure on their final leg of the race. Philip was off first with a four minute lead over Terri. He cantered up the steep incline out of the venue towards Tollymore Forest just taking time to glance over his shoulder before disappearing out of sight and setting a blistering pace of over 19kph, returning to the finish line from Tipperary Wood just 50 minutes later and putting another six minutes between himself and second place.

Terri immediately rose to the challenge and was unrelenting in her effort to catch him right to the line but unfortunately for her was unable to make any impression on his lead. Third place went to another young rider George Finlay also from Co Wicklow who had been a contender for the title earlier in the day during the first two stages of the race but was unable to keep up the momentum on the final stage. Philip has had a very successful 2005 season crossing the line in first position on three occasions and twice in second out of six starts. However, his season is not yet over as later this year Philip will be representing Ireland at the Young Rider World Championships in Bahrain on 1December 17, and is now concentrating his efforts on the final preparations of his 3* horse Millers Light.

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