Monday, November 10, 2008

[WEC Reports] The Aussies: 12th FEI WEC 2008

12th FEI World Endurance Championship 2008 by Sharon Meyers

What a roller coaster of an adventure this ride has been.

Maria Alvarez Ponton won the ride. Her bay French-bred Arab gelding Nobby (Best Conditioned) is only a little fellow but is neatly put together - an athletic horse. They traveled at 21.41 for the final leg.
Second: Agustin Vita, UAE.
Third: Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, UAE.
Fourth: HH Sh Majid Bin Mohd Al Maktoum, UAE.

The Australians vetted through to a huge cheer. The horses looked as though they could go out on another leg! Penny Toft and Don placed 18th and Kristie McGaffin and Tierview Maverick 19th. A sterling effort all round. The Australian contingent worked hard throughout the night and morning.

Derek Armitage and Moorah Park Mickerby, Matthew Sample and Brookleigh Ricardo, Brook Sample and Brookleigh Excalibur and Meg Wade and China Doll did not complete the ride.

Penny Toft and Don and Kristie McGaffin and Tierview Maverick both completed in 18th and 19th position. Their big striding horses ate up the course and they came back to base looking extraordinarily well after each loop. The Australian crew did a sterling job strapping the horses, as did the roving crew meeting the riders out at the crew points. A great team effort from everyone. Our team consisted of Penny, Kristie, Meg and Matthew.

It was a tough ride with the weather conditions that prevailed at the time. A huge storm hit the area with lightening strikes and thunder claps that hurt your ears. Lighting struck the media tent and the Aussie base. The Aussies received a nasty electric shock including Kristy and Maverick. The thunderclap that followed was unbelievable – we all jumped out of our skins! Fortunately Matt and I were not in the media tent at the time when it was struck by the lightening. I believe two American horses were knocked off their feet while out on the track as a result of a lightening strike.

I was surprised at the speed that Spaniard Maria Alvarez Ponton travelled at throughout the ride. It was obvious from the start she was out to win the ride. Her support team at the crew points were like a well-oiled machine – they never missed a beat. Maria never stopped, they just ran along side throwing water over the horse and doing what was necessary. One the first loop her speed was 20.45, second loop 17.56, third loop 19.44, fourth 15.83, fifth 17.71, sixth 16.80 and seventh 21.41. Maria led for all loops except Loop Two where she came in second. I went and had a close look at her horse Noddy while waiting for Best Conditioned. He is a lovely purebred Arab gelding with kind eyes, very athletic looking, well put together and quite small. For the pedigree conscious he has three crosses to Nabeg. Noddy looked as though he could go out again, a credit to his rider and team.

The Team Results
First – UAE
Second – Qatar
Third – Bahrain
Fourth – Portugal

More...
Photos by Matt Bennet

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Posted By Merri to WEC Reports at 11/11/2008 01:15:00 AM

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