Friday, July 16, 2010

Australia: Tom Quilty Gold Cup National Championship Endurance Ride - Full Article

7 July 2010

The Tom Quilty Gold Cup National Championship Endurance ride was held in Manilla from the 24th to the 27th of June 2010. Manilla is a small, picturesque town located in North West New South Wales at the junction of the Manilla and Namoi Rivers. The population of around 2200 was doubled during the week of the Quilty.
Around 300 riders, their horses, their support crew and volunteers converged on the Manilla Showground and surrounding areas. Entries were received from New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia as well as New Zealand, the USA, the UK, Namibia and Japan. Rigs and floats of all shapes and sizes set up camp for the week, enjoying some unseasonably warm winter weather.
292 Horse and Riders set off from the Manilla Showground at Midnight on Friday the 25th of June to a full moon and the sound of Trevor Knights Quilty Song. Hundreds of locals gathered with the hundreds of volunteers and strappers to see the horses off and wish them luck. They were treated with the spectacular sight of horses and riders crossing the low-level bridge over the Namoi River with the reflection on the water lit up from the light towers. They then watched the mass of horses flow along the opposite side of the river, with torches shining as they wound their way out into the darkness.
The first and second legs traversed 43km along local gravel roads through farm land before crossing the Manilla River and returning to the Showground along the banks of the river. The first riders completed these two legs in around 4 hours. These legs provided a safe track for the large number of horses travelling in the dark.

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