PROUD HOST: Matthew Sample won the Tom Quilty Cup in 2009 and owns Stirling's Crossing Equestrian Complex.
PROUD HOST: Matthew Sample won the Tom Quilty Cup in 2009 and owns Stirling's Crossing Equestrian Complex. Matt Bennet

Imbil to host major endurance horse event

AT MIDNIGHT on July 12, Stirling's Crossing Equestrian Complex at Imbil will play host to Australia's most prestigious endurance event, the 54th Tom Quilty Gold Cup.

The 160km ride is the premier event on Australia's endurance calendar and there is great prestige associated with completing the ride, hence the tagline: To complete is to win.

This truly iconic Australian event is steeped in history and has great stories to tell.

It was established in 1966 by Erica and R.M. Williams who loved long-distance riding and their Arabian horses, and now, 54 years later, more than 300 riders, aged from 12 to 76, will again head into the Imbil forest at midnight to tackle one of Australia's toughest challenges.

The event is one of the biggest national championship endurance rides in the southern hemisphere, and is expected to attract riders from across Australia, which will make it one of the biggest Tom Quiltys in history.

Matt Sample, owner of Stirling's Crossing Equestrian Complex, said he was excited about the event, which will take place next weekend.

"We're thrilled to be hosting it in Imbil for the first time and expect to have between 2000 and 3000 people travelling from all corners of the country and internationally to participate, whether as a rider or as part of the support crew,” Mr Sample said.

"This will triple the population of 900 in the picturesque Mary Valley town of Imbil on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.”

Sample won the Tom Quilty Gold Cup in 2009.

The Sample family has a long history in endurance riding, with Matthew, his brother Brook and father Bob having collectively taken home more than 30 buckles for completing the gruelling ride.

Between the three riders they have won the Gold Cup more than any other family, accumulating nine wins.