Croghan Hill Farm
FEI 3 * 160 km || 5th August 2007
It was going to be a hot day in Suffolk. As the competitors gathered for the 6.00am start it was already 24˚C (75˚F). Whilst for those who had travelled from Europe to Thetford this looked like a typical summer’s day, this early morning temperature was something the British based riders had hardly seen at any time of day this year. As the ride progressed temperatures peaked at 31˚C (89˚F), uncharacteristic for an English summers day but unheard of so far in 2007 which has seen record rainfall and cool cloudy days.
The 160km offered up a varying mix of stubble fields, woodland and grass tracks, some road and a great deal of the uncompromising flint tracks characteristic of the area. The course consisted of six loops varying in length from 40km for the first and second stages to 17.5km for the final circuit. Each stage brought the riders back to the venue for the vet gate.
At Vet Gate One the United Arab Emirate’s Mubarak Khalifa bin Shafya was at the front – a position that he held throughout the ride. His 9 year old Grey Arab Zakar Zahara eventually crossed the finish line some 20 minutes clear of second place Cecile Mosti of France on Khandela des Vialettes.
The winner averaged 18.23 kph. Mubarak bin Shafya’s slowest circuit was the final loop covered in 16.09 kph; his quickest was the third stage (80km-105km) ridden at 19.39kph.
However, for most of the day the leader did not have everything his own way. France’s Jack Begaud, who for the last two years has been the leading rider in the FEI World Rankings, was hard on his heels until around 130km (85 miles) when his mount Highlander suffered a hind limb injury forcing them to retire on course.
Third place went to Raed Mahmood of Bahrain riding Izba du Caussanel.
The first British rider home was Ros Jackson on Nazeeka in fourth place (14.84 kph), followed by Janice Cockley-Adams with Khadidja du Pont, the third successful 160km completion this season for Janice Cockley-Adams and her Arab mare.
Christine Yeoman was next home on her new Argentinean bred horse LM Midday and 7th place was another Briton, Linda Coplethwaite riding First Time. Eighth and ninth places were taken by Qatari competitors, Essa Ahmed Al Mannai on Dragon JT and Abdulla Towaim Al Marri on Shagar 5, who rode together focussed on securing the qualifying standard for the upcoming Open European Championships.