Sunday, December 11, 2011

Abu Dhabi: Stirling effort for Uruguay to win world endurance gold

WAM photo - Full Article
Amith Passela
Dec 10, 2011

AL WATHBA // Martin Stirling gave his family, who had made the long trip to the UAE, two reasons to celebrate yesterday with victory in the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors.

The 15 year old from Uruguay rode Vendaval to win the 120-kilometre race, and then helped the South Americans take the team gold at the Emirates International Endurance Village.

The biennial championship drew 79 riders from 29 countries and 48 completed the race, which was run over five loops of 33km, 27km, 24km, 20km and 16km.

Stirling guided the nine-year-old bay gelding to victory ahead of Australia's Allix Jones on Castlebar Moonlight. Oriana Ricca, his Uruguayan team member, took bronze on Hunter Toro.

"It was a very fast-run race," said Stirling. "The weather was nice and cool but the track was difficult, particularly the first three loops with some sharp climbs and downhill trail, and some deep sandy areas to negotiate.

"Having come out of the toughest stages, I was confident. I wasn't far off behind the first horse in the second last loop. My horse was in good shape when I went into the last 16km and then went all out.

"To win was a great achievement and to win the team gold as well was really fantastic ... To win the world junior title in the UAE is my biggest and most memorable."

Stirling's parents, his two brothers and baby sister travelled with him along with Magdalena Odriozola, the owner of Vendaval.

"Martin's my neighbour," said Odriozola. "It's just four horses we have and train in the farm. Vendaval was a birthday gift to me. Martin used to ride the horses and today he rode a great race to win...

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