An exciting weekend of dedicated endurance riders and their horses was to be found at St Helens, Tasmania for the 47th running of Australia’s national endurance event, the 160km Tom Quilty.
Founded by the legendary Australian RM Williams, the first Tom Quilty event was held in 1966 in NSW. The event was named after Tom Quilty, the man who donated $1000 to make the Tom Quilty Gold Cup, which would be presented to the winner of the event. The event has run each year since then, and continues to be Australia’s national event, with riders flocking from across Australia (and at times internationally) to attend.
This years Quilty saw 115 riders entered attempting to gain their Quilty Buckle. This is a smaller number then usual for the national event, but many mainland riders were hesitant to travel their horses to Tasmania and chose to skip this event and aim for attending the 2013 Tom Quilty which will be run from Queensland.
The riders that did attend the event were rewarded with absolutely gorgeous riding weather, the sun shone gaily throughout the weekend with many lovely photo opportunities being offered! The Quilty is renown for being a ‘wet’ ride and riders often joke that the number of dry Quilty’s can be counted on one hand. Being winter, and being Tasmania it was still a very chilly weekend, but the sun was most welcome and made the event a pleasurable experience.
The race was won by well known endurance rider Brook Sample riding the very experienced endurance gelding Brookleigh Excalibur. They cantered across the finish line to win the race in spectacular style in a time of 9 hours and 14 mins. Both Brook and his horse have competed previously in the Quilty with Brook now holding 12 buckles and having an impressive 6 wins. A momentous effort from an exceptional horse person, this achievement can be most appreciated when you look at the full results with only 54% of people entered in the event successfully completing .
Brook Sample and Brookleigh Excalibur with the Tom Quilty 2012 winners cup
Sunday saw the top 5 riders in each division presenting for the Best Conditioned awards, as well as 10 riders presenting for the Pat Slater Cup.
Top 5 Juniors:
Alice Mitchell / Beer Street Takone (Best Conditioned)
Sarah Parker / King Park Aberdeen Pelion
David Anderson / Karrana Crackerjack
Amelia Napier / Bellawongah Holly
Ellie Maddick / Armidale Flash Jack
Top 5 Lightweights:
Jacopo Di Matteo / Lockleigh Park Wildfire (Best Conditioned)
Wendy Dower / Castlebar Tempest
Jennifer Annetts / Churinga Goldfire
Antonia Gilbertson / Kurrajong Shadad
Linda Blanchard / Galoubet
Top 5 Middleweights:
Brook Sample / Brookleigh Exalibur (Best Conditioned)
Bradley Hill / Lockleigh Park Sparks Afire
Akhmed Pshunov / Tarrangower Crecendo
Matthew Sample / Brookleigh Ricardo
Debbie Grull / Lauralyn Notorious
Top 5 Heavyweights:
Dennis Foley Jr / Jack
Robbie Walsh / Free Spirit Czar (Best Conditioned)
Mark Johnson / Sharah Lateefah
Elizabeth Laurie / Kholonial Farrington
Gerald Nicklason / Wongawal Digger
Jeremy Ford / Ruby Running Bare
The Tom Quilty is now over for another year, with many riders leaving ride base smiles from ear to ear for their success, and other riders leaving with the sigh of anticlimax, thinking ahead to next year when they can have another shot at that elusive Tom Quilty Buckle.