Horsedeals.com.au - Full Article
Australia's national endurance horse riding championship, the Tom Quilty Gold Cup, will have 252 starters at midnight on Friday June 7 at Kilkivan in south-east Queensland.
While organisers had hoped 300 riders and their horses would nominate for the 48th Quilty - the nation's best test of true horsemanship - flooding earlier this year resulted in several key qualifying rides being cancelled or postponed.
This meant many prospective first-time Quilty riders hadn't successfully completed a prior 160km ride in time to qualify for this year's ride.
However, the event host, the Kilkivan Endurance Riders Club (KERC), is chuffed with the 250+ nominations from across Australia and overseas for the punishing 160km-long endurance pursuit.
"We reckon this is pretty darn good," said KERC president, Vern Berry, who saw the ride base at Kilkivan showground devastated by floodwaters in January.
Vern said the five legs of the rigorous Kilkivan track were in good condition, and lots of hard work by many volunteers had resurrected the showground's facilities, which are now ready to accommodate next week's influx of around 2000 people for the Quilty.
This means a five-fold increase to Kilkivan's population as riders, their strapping teams, support crews, family and friends, organisers and volunteers set up camp at the showground. Spectators at the event will further swell the township's numbers over the weekend of June 8-9.
Nine international competitors are flying in from the US, the UK, Japan and New Zealand, and an 18-strong contingent is crossing Bass Strait from Tasmania before heading north to Kilkivan. Two riders and their entourages are driving across from Western Australia, with another two coming up from South Australia, and many more are converging on Kilkivan from Victoria, New South Wales, and as far north as Herberton in far north Queensland.
This year 18 juniors (aged 12 to 17) and 234 seniors will enjoy the riding conditions of Queensland's mild winter and the historic aspect of the course's third leg, which covers part of the Cobb & Co Heritage Trail...
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