NEWS FROM THE 2009 FEI YOUNG RIDER AND JUNIOR WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Babolna (HUN), 4-6 September 2009
FACTS AND FIGURES
Total distance 118km (loop 1 - 35m; loop 2 - 24km; loop 3 - repeat of loop 1; loop 4 - repeat of loop 2)
Overall completion rate: 72%
Individual winner: Hussain Ali al Marzouqi (UAE) / Sergai - overall speed 22.46kph; overall time 05:15:10
Team gold: France - 100%, overall time 16:20:05
Best condition: Lamiah el Oued ridden by Lucie Marin (FRA)
Fastest Vet Gate Presentation time: Castlebar Sobia ridden by Sheikh Abdullah bin Faisal Al Qasimi (UAE) - 36 seconds at Vet Gate 3.
FIRST TIME IN HUNGARY
The fifth FEI Young Rider and Junior World Endurance Championships took place from 4 to 6 September 2009 in Babolna, Hungary. The run up to the competition was hot and dry with temperatures reaching 34 degrees during the week prior to the competition. Whilst Hungary have previously hosted Driving Championships this was the first time they had attempted the organization of an Endurance Championship.
The 23 countries entered into the competition were hosted in the stunning surroundings of the Babolna Arabian Stud founded in 1789 and famous for breeding the Shagya Arab. The Pre-Ride vetting took place on Friday 4 September morning with the metabolic examination conducted in the stables and the trot up taking place under the beautiful Hungarian sun. 93 horses were presented and all passed fit to start the 120km course.
THE COURSE IS MODIFIED
It began to rain heavily in the afternoon and this continued throughout the night. The track became so wet and boggy that the Organising Committee had to make some dramatic changes. The start of the ride was put off by an hour to try and avoid the last of the torrential rain and hail forecast for early morning. Also changes had to be made to the track, one loop was abandoned and therefore the remaining 2 loops were each to be ridden twice, reducing the Championship to 118km. All riders and teams were complimentary of the change and appreciated the efficiency of the OC and Officials.
Saturday dawned grey but almost dry - a relief to all! A brisk breeze was blowing giving the best conditions possible to dry out the track. The competitors were counted down and at 8am on ride day morning the near 100 combinations crossed the start line to compete against the track, the elements and the clock.
Loop 1 was 35km long and saw the first riders arriving in after just 1h45 - whilst this speed was not dramatically fast, the horses did well to cover the tricky ground at a good pace. The top ten was dominated by the UAE but Portugal, Spain, Great Britain and Hungary were also represented by one rider. Just four horses failed to qualify for the second stage and presentation times for those successful were impressive.
HIGH COMPLETION RATE
Good form continued throughout the ride. Loop 2 was the nicest loop and just 24km long, Loop 3 was a repeat of Loop 1, and Loop 4 a repeat of Loop 2. Speeds were certainly respectable considering the difficult terrain the horses had to cover. Only 24% of the entrants failed to qualify most of which succumbed to the tough 35km 3rd Loop but the ride had an overall completion rate of 72%, some 15% higher than the average Championship.
The UAE continued to dominate throughout the day, however old rivals France were hot on their heels. Some surprising results were seen at the end of the day with great performances coming from some of the smaller endurance nations. Both Hungary and Sweden featured in the final top ten Individual rankings, a first for both nations.
UAE SECURE INDIVIDUAL GOLD WHILE FRANCE ARE THE TEAM CHAMPIONS
The eventual winner was Hussain Ali al Marzouqi from the UAE partnering his mount Sergai to an overall speed of 22.46kph. Just behind him was team mate Sheikh Abdullah bin Faisal Al Qasimi with his hugely successful chestnut mare Castlebar Sobia. This is his third podium position in three consecutive Championships. He finished just 2 seconds behind Al Marzouqi in a total riding time of 05:15:12. This talented mare had partnered Sheikh Abdullah's brother Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Faisal Al Qasimi to fourth place in the 2007 FEI World Championship for Juniors and Young Riders in Argentina.
Just 5 minutes after the first two riders saw three French riders approaching the finishing line. All three crossed the line in seconds with Laetitia Goncalves taking the Bronze Medal. Jean-Louis LeClerc, French Chef d'Equipe, was delighted with the Team's performance. They had a 100% completion rate with 4 riders in the top 10, and all finishing within just 40 minutes of the Gold Medal time.
Following their impressive performance France secured Team Gold with an overall time of 16:20:05 beating their nearest rivals, the UAE, by some 20 minutes. The host nation did themselves proud and won Team Bronze in a total time of 17:35:19 much to the elation of the home crowd. 12 of the 17 team nations managed to finish with at least 3 riders successfully completing the 118km.
France, team World champions. Additional photos are available from the FEI Photo Catalogue © Gilly Wheeler
The Best Condition competition took place on Sunday morning and was awarded to French horse Lamiah el Oued ridden by Lucie Marin. The pair crossed the line in 05:20:02 in 4th position. The youngest rider to complete the course was Australian Alexandra Toft riding her mother's horse Bremervale Justice to a very respectable 17th position with a speed of 20.2kph. The fastest presentation time of the day went to 2nd placed Castlebar Sobia (originally bread by Australian Meg Wade) who took just 36 seconds to present at the third vet gate. Her total Vet Gate presentation time over the three Vet Gates came to just 2 minutes!
Full results available HERE.