19 June: Riders from 12 nations set-off on the second of four Euston Park Endurance Rides, presented by Longines and supported by Emirates, in Suffolk today. Competitors from the United Arab Emirates were victorious in the three open classes and a Briton secured the Young Rider crown.
In winning the CEI 2* 120km Young Rider class, Caitlin Theodorou (21) from Mid-West Wales in the United Kingdom, and her mount, My Marco, have qualified for the Young Rider European Championships in Portugal this September. But better still, as the only combination to finish the class, Caitlin scooped the entire £11,500 prize fund available for the Best Condition Award; an amount that ensures she can afford to get there.
Caitlin, a Geography student at Manchester University, said: “I’m in complete shock! I just never expected this and ‘My Marco’ really gave it his all. He has a heart of gold and didn’t put a foot wrong. He was bred as a show jumper but just loves endurance and has such guts. This has been my dream for so many years and this was my last chance to make it happen but I never imagined it would and at a great event like Euston Park. I actually can’t believe it. And then I heard about the money and it’s just amazing! I must thank my Mum, who does everything for me and deserves this win too.”
A total of 61 horses crossed the start-line in the four different classes run; with 33 starters in the CEI 1* 80km, 19 in the CEI 2* 120km (and two additional Young Riders in that class) and seven riders in the CEI 3* 160km. 21 horses finished. Although the weather was ideal; cool with a light breeze, it had been a very wet week and consequently the ground was heavy and this contributed to a 54% attrition rate.
Euston Park Endurance Director, Nick Brooks-Ward said: “It was a very good day and the riders handled the conditions well and rode responsibly. We had 49 millimetres of rain on Thursday night necessitating a route change including removing a river crossing that had flooded. Given the circumstances, the attrition rate is understandable and I’m pleased that all the horses, except for one that suffered a cut leg (and is now being treated at the Newmarket Equine Hospital), finished safe and sound. I’d like to give particular thanks to the FEI Technical Delegate, John Robertson and the Course Designers who did sterling work to ensure the courses were safe and competitive.”
Ride results from each class can be found here: http://eustonparkendurance.co.uk/results
The last two rides are scheduled for July 16 and August 13.
Text and photos: eustonparkendurance.co.uk