Record numbers for Imbil Tom Quilty Gold Cup
HORSE RIDING: The annual Tom Quilty Gold Cup to be hosted this year by Imbil's Stirling's Crossing will be one of the biggest in the event's 54-year history.
More than 2000 people have converged on Imbil this week as 300 competitors prepare to take to the track at midnight for the 160km endurance ride.
Stirling's Crossing Equestrian Complex owner Matthew Sample Snr said he and his team were delighted to host the event for the first time.
"The who's who of endurance will be here with defending champion Kristie Taprell hoping to win her fifth title being joined in the field by 2016 winner Debbie Grull, 2015 winner Ben Hudson and 2013 winner Brook Sample who hopes to continue to build on his existing record of seven Tom Quilty Gold Cup wins," Sample said. The juniors will be on show for this year's event.
"This year we have the highest number of juniors in the event's history taking to the track which is great news for the future of endurance. We have 29 juniors competing, including three 12-year-olds, three 13-year-olds and five 14-year-olds, who all successfully completed a 160km ride last year to qualify for this event," he said.
"We have around 70 per cent female riders participating in the ride which is a good reflection of the gender balance in the sport overall.
"It's a real family sport and with people arriving during the week it's been wonderful to see families and groups of riders sitting around camp fires in the evenings sharing stories about Quilty's past and their preparations for this year's ride."