Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Endurance Wars: The Phantom Menace

Neil Clarkson. March 11 2015. Horsetalk.co.nz

There has been a disturbance in the Force – an anomaly so extraordinary that the endurance community is still trying to comprehend exactly what it could mean for the sport.

Social media has been abuzz since British equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson unearthed what would seem to be an impossible coincidence in the results of two races in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Cuckson, in her March 6 piece published by the Daily Telegraph, raised questions about the results officially posted on the FEI website in respect of the two races, both of which provided qualifiers for the rich President’s Cup, run over 160km.

One was a 120km race on January 21 in Dubai; the second an 80km event on December 23 in Abu Dhabi. Cuckson noted that finishing rates for the fixtures were much higher than the local average.

But, most controversially, she identified some quite remarkable similarities between finishing times and loop times with previous races.

In fact, the results logged on the FEI website for the leading 47 horses in the December 23 race are identical to those of the 10th to 56th-placed horses from a race at Bou Thib on November 21-22.

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