Ben Hudson wins 50th anniversary of Tom Quilty endurance ride


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Ben Hudson from Mudgee and horse Cap Braveheart with the 2015 Tom Quilty Gold Cup (Cassie Hough) Ben Hudson from Mudgee and horse Cap Braveheart with the 2015 Tom Quilty Gold Cup (Cassie Hough)

A little horse with a big heart has carried Ben Hudson from Mudgee in central New South Wales to his first win at the 50th Tom Quilty Gold Cup endurance ride.

There were 348 riders from across the country entered in the 160-kilometre ride, which is believed to be the biggest event of its kind in the world.

This was Mr Hudson's fourth Tom Quilty ride, having improved quickly from retiring early due to vetting out at his first ride to coming second last year and going one better this year to take home the cup.

After some competitive riding out on the track, Mr Hudson was able to trot over the finish line in a time of 10 hours, 16 minutes and 34 seconds.

"I was over the moon. I couldn't believe the effort my horse put it, it was a pretty good feeling. I was overwhelmed by the people and the support at the finish line," he said.

"It was good to come in steady and know you were ahead, but believe me, we had a bit of speed out on the track."

Mr Hudson said his chestnut stallion, Cap Braveheart, was a true athlete.

Just seven years ago, Mr Hudson was first introduced to endurance riding by his neighbours Hayden and Gail Fisher.

Since then, he had competed at the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) World Equestrian Games in France in endurance last year and now has a Tom Quilty win to his name.

There are rigorous checks of the horses to ensure they are fit enough to start the race  (Cassie Hough) There are rigorous checks of the horses to ensure they are fit enough to start the race (Cassie Hough)

'To complete is to win'

Not everyone in the Tom Quilty was riding to win. For many people, completing the gruelling 160-kilometre ride was enough.

Steve Brown, from Imbil on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, was on his second Tom Quilty ride. Last year he didn't complete, due to vetting out.

He rode an Arab/Andalusian he rescued from being put down by the RSPCA.

"He was malnourished, he was neglected, so they brought him back and fed him and then they couldn't find a home for him, so they were going to put him down," Mr Brown said.

"So I went to have a look at him and they said I could have him if I wanted and I said, 'I have no use for a horse', but I asked what would happen to him and they said he would be put down."

After trying a few horse activities, Mr Brown decided to pursue endurance riding.

"We're both pretty tired. I'm probably more tired than Rebel, but he is tired, so we'll take our time with the last two legs of the ride and hopefully we'll get our first Quilty buckle."

Tom Quilty results

Middleweight class

1 Ben Hudson riding Cap Braveheart in 10.16 - Tom Quilty Gold Cup winner

2 Noel Lockhart riding Lockleigh Park Silver Comet in 10.17

3 Debbie Grull riding Lauralyn Notorious in 11.03

4 Emily Streckfuss riding Webbs Creek Starlight in 11.19

5 Brooke Warner riding Cedar Ridge Fire N Gold in 11.23

Article republished courtesy of ABC News www.abc.net.au

Full article and results visit: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-05/tom-quilty-endurance-horse-race/6528632

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