Friday, February 22, 2013

Australia: Quilty qualifying round is new event on Far-A-Way Easter Endurance Carnival in Mary Valley

Endurance riders at the Easter carnival in the Mary Valley will get their last chance to qualify for the famous Tom Quilty Gold Cup National Championship event being held in Kilkivan this year.

The new feature event - a 160-kilometre “Tom Quilty Queensland Qualifier” was added to the Far A Way Easter Endurance Carnival, FAW president Geoff Fisher said.

“With the annual rotation of the Tom Quilty around Australia, it will be six years before Queensland riders again have the chance to compete in their own state,” Mr Fisher said.

Endurance horse riders from across Australia will join international competitors at Imbil this Easter to compete in a huge endurance riding program developed by event organiser, Far A Way Riders Association (FAW).

Events ranging from 20km to 320km see the Easter carnival as the annual highlight for many Queensland endurance riders and others from across Australia.

It is anticipated that more than 300 competitors and their horses will camp at the Imbil Showground over the holiday period along with their support crews and families. This event will add to the busy Easter weekend population of Imbil by more than 1000 people.

The signature Easter Endurance Carnival event is the 320km marathon spanning four days, and an experienced team of equine veterinarians headed up by Jon Fearnley, the 2013 Tom Quilty Gold Cup Head Veterinarian, will be working throughout the carnival to assess and ensure horses’ fitness to continue in the competition. Many competitors say that it is fortunate that riders are not given the same scrutiny.

First timers are encouraged to “come and try” in the 20km introduction event which Mr Fisher said provided a great opportunity for those who wish to give endurance a try as experienced pace riders provide support throughout the event.

Other events include a 120km mini-marathon event, two 80km Open events and two 40km training events.

Mary Valley locals figure highly on the national level with Kenilworth rider, Brook Sample, a six-time winner of the Tom Quilty Gold Cup, including in Tasmania in 2012.

The Sample family will have four generations at the Easter Endurance Carnival. Peter Pike also a Kenilworth rider and longtime FAW committee member will again defend his record winning run in the 320km marathon event.

From its humble beginnings at Kenilworth in 1987, the Far A Way Riders Association has become a powerful force in Australian endurance.

Twice it has organised and hosted the Tom Quilty Gold Cup event, and has also hosted FEI internationally affiliated championship events at Imbil.

This year FAW is focusing on the Easter Endurance Carnival events, the Sparkler afternoon/evening event in September and a series of education and training days throughout the year.

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