The hunting and racing communities are uniting this weekend in their support of the inaugural FEI Newmarket Racecourses British Endurance Nations Cup competition this weekend.
The inaugural Nations Cup is an event for teams of four, plus six individual riders per country. Competitors from Europe, the Middle East, India, Pakistan and Australia, including the reigning world champion Sheikh Ahmed, are expected to take part in the 160km three star race, which takes place on Sunday 27 June, and starts and finishes on the Rowley Mile Racecourse in Newmarket.
The course has been largely designed by the Thurlow Hunt and involves the support of 25 landowners, including senior joint-master Edmund Vestey. Together with joint masters Rowley Fenwick and Robin Vestey, he has carried out much of the legwork in getting landowners and hunt supporters, many of whom will be stewarding at the event, onside.
Newmarket is in our country, and we want to support this event as much as possible. It is a perfect opportunity to cement the good relationship between the Thurlow Hunt and the racing community in Newmarket, said Edmund Vestey.
Riders will set off at 5am on Sunday morning from the Rowley Mile Racecourse, with the first horses expected to cross the finish in the late afternoon.
The FEI Endurance Challenge Trophy, sponsored by Newmarket veterinary practices Rossdale & Partners and Greenwood, Ellis & Partners, will be awarded to the first combination to cross the finishing line on the Rowley Mile, providing they pass the final veterinary inspection.
The ILPH, in association with Hamilton & Partners, will be awarding the Best Condition Trophy to the horse that is considered to have completed the competition in the best physical condition and is judged to be fit to continue.
Local vet, and organiser of the event Fred Barrelet says: This is set to be an exhilarating race between some of the top endurance horses in the world and will demonstrate these animals incredible athletic ability and the skill and understanding of their riders.
Watching them setting off across the heath in the early hours of the morning is going to be an amazing sight, he added.