Alfred's Tower 2004
Wessex - EnduranceGB Major Ride

By - Liz Peplow - Hilton Herbs

(Photo courtesy of Eric G Jones 01747 860625)
Conditions at the start of the ride - this picture was taken at 5.20am on Mere Down.

HAMPSHIRE-based British international rider KATIE SMITH triumphed in the 160km FEI three star Hilton Herbs Alfred’s Tower event held at the National Trust’s Stourhead estate in Wiltshire. The endurance ride, which was a trial for next year’s European Championship event to be held here next August, attracted 42 entries from around the world including reigning open European Champion Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and double World Champion Valerie Kanavy of the USA.

Winner Katie Smith on El Carlia crossing the finish line at nearly 8pm in the evening
(Photo courtesy of Eric G Jones 01747 860625)

Katie Smith, partnering Sheikh Mohammed’s El Carlia completed the race in a time of 11hr55min43sec at an average speed of 13.41km/hr finishing half an hour ahead of fellow British rider, Forest of Dean-based Mary Stubbs with Warrens Hill Chanda. Katie, who notched up her first win at this distance, said the course was “tough but a championship test”. Mary who is crewed by her husband Steve and their twin daughters Sarah and Rachael was delighted to collect the Best Condition award the next day.

Mary Stubbs and Warrens Hill Chanda, 2nd and best condition
(Photo courtesy of Eric G Jones 01747 860625)

Last year’s race winner Ali Mohammed Al Muhairi of the United Arab Emirates completed in third place with Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Australian-bred horse Henley Farm Kibaal.

Tricia Hirst and Vlacq Khamul who were 5th out on course.
(Photo courtesy of Eric G Jones 01747 860625)

Ali Al Muhairi riding Henley Farm Kiball - 3rd.
(Photo courtesy of Eric G Jones 01747 860625)

Former French champion Vincent Dupont completed in fourth place with Canel Du Village and pronounced the course, which covers a 100-mile circuit in six loops across parts of Wiltshire and Somerset and involves land owned by nearly 100 landowners, “tres techniques”.
5th place went to Tricia Hirst from North Wales on her very promising young arab Vlacq Khamul by the AHS Premium scheme stallion Shah Shadow, and in 6th place Tracey Attfield from Sussex on Rosemary Attfield’s Burfield Friday Fox.

4th placed Vincent Dupont and Canel du Villages at the preride trot up in front of Stourhead House
(Photo courtesy of Eric G Jones 01747 860625)

From 42 starters, there were 15 completions.

Sponsored by Somerset-based Hilton Herbs, the two-day Alfred’s Tower ride is now in its 11th year. The popular event attracted 300 horses over the weekend with the focus on Sunday on the British Riding Clubs National Championships. This event attracted 14 teams from across Britain with local teams dominating. Taunton Tigers (Helen Foster, Pauline Greer, Judy Cotterell, Kim Clarke) won this 34km event ahead of the Mid Somerset Team (Sarah Hill, Sharon Spearing, Jan Carey, Christine Dairyman) in second place and the Cornish Camels (Charlene Derbyshire, Jan Kane, Elizabeth Bishop, Barbara Bullion)in third.

Hilton Herbs team rider Jane James from Cornwall won the award for best presentation and handling at the pre-ride veterinary inspection. Jane also provided a horse for celebrity rider Richard Dunwoody, former National Hunt champion jockey who tried his hand at endurance riding for the first time when he took part in the Riding Club championship. Richard rode Jane’s former international star Rowangay Garnet (Alfie) in the 34km event and afterwards said: “Alfie was fantastic. I had a great time and my thanks go to Jane and her crew for looking after me so well.”
Tony Self of Hilton Herbs said: “It was good to see Jane, a member of the Hilton Herbs team, collecting a well-deserved award with her horse Steel Tobias. Hilton Herbs has been very closely involved in the development of the sport of endurance and we were delighted to be able to support the Alfred’s Tower Ride.”

Co-organiser John Hudson said: “This was a very valuable trial run for next year’s European Championship. Our thanks go to the 100 volunteers and to our sponsors who helped make the event such a success.”

Check back soon for more news.

'Endurance Jan'

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