Friday, November 17, 2006

Drought cause tough ride conditions

photo: EQUAL AT FINISH: Pat Dickinson (left) and Noble Navaar Crystal Rose and John Symons and Worobil Baringa who crossed the line together at Sofala on Sunday.

Mudgee News: Friday, 17 November 2006

Mudgee riders had mixed results when the participated in the 30th Sofala Endurance Ride last Sunday.

The 52 riders in the 80klm main ride started off in daylight at 5.30am without the need for torches and headlamps but some of the Mudgee contingent made a late start after they missed their wake up call.

Word is kangaroos caused havoc in the camp overnight and kept them awake and by the time the alarm went off they we sound asleep.

Riders appreciated a well marked track and the humid conditions that developed as the day wore on were tempered by colder conditions with good clud cover.

The course was testing, however, with many climbs and descents on the mountain made difficult where it was rocky while the drought conditions ensured conditions were hard underfoot.

The conditions may have proved too much for Gloria Mills and her mount Glendos Sabodie as they had to withdraw at Wattle Flat when making the return stage of the first leg.

Mills, who has had a super year with her horse and will be the Mudgee club's top middleweight for the year despite Sunday's setback, said she withdrew because she felt the horse wasn 't travelling well.

Those Mudgee riders who did have a good result were Bernice King (Noble Navaar Destiny), Pat Dickinson (Nobla Navaar Crystal Rose and Paddy Smith (Shata) who were all successful in the long ride.

Daphne Phillips enjoyed the return to endurance of her former ride winner Crown Crest Phantom whom she steered around the training ride.

Wendy McLehose (Bruwenic Raina Girl) enjoyed the training ride with her eight year old son Nicholas (Bruwenic Strawberry) who was in his first ride.

Nicholas was so excited at finishing the ride that he was talking of another ride next week.

Another debut rider was Virginia King (Kalentish Tips) who enjoyed her initial endurance experience.

Woody Pilley (Mystery) had a flock of junior riders in tow for the event in his sons Justin (Box Hill Breaker) and Blake (Meroo Downs Dolly) and was also accompanied by the boys' friend Seaton Croake (Reggie) making the ride an enjoyable family event. All these riders completed the 30 klms training ride, which had 33 participants.

In the overall result four riders crossed the line in an equal fastest time of 4 hours 29 minutes.

They were Kate Pilley of Windeyer riding Pancho who was first in lightweight; Jamie Mollema of Bathurst riding Billywillinga Rocky who was first junior and Jennifer Gilbertson of Webbs Creek who shared first middleweight.

Fittest horse in the catchweight (a combination of lightweight and junior divisions) division was Pancho.

The ride was a great success with organisers especially pleased with the number of junior and first time riders taking part a boost for the future of the sport.
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