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Endurance riders conquer Red Dragon challenge

Margaret McKiddie recently added the Red Dragon Ride to her success in the Summer Solstice

Margaret McKiddie and Bonnie Anne scored another fantastic win at the two-day 160km Red Dragon Ride at Builth Wells. Not content with taking the Summer Solstice in blistering, front-running style, Margaret attacked this tough mountain course with much the same vigour.

She was in strong company, though, and Jo Carter and Autumn – winners of the Narnia and Breamore Rides – and Jackie Gilmore and Roama, who’ve often done well here, weren’t going to let her get away. This trio was tracked by Vicky Brown, who kept the strong-pulling Simply Chloe slightly off the pace to settle her.

By the time they were through the first vetgate, they had started to overtake the backmarkers in the opening 80km class, and continued this relentless pace – in excess of 16kph – into the overnight hold.

Ten horses set out in the second day’s mass start, and Margaret showed no mercy as, again, the bunch of four broke away from the pack. Fine weather had dried out the moor, but the short, polished turf was very slippery and at Rhulen Hill, Jackie Gilmore’s Roama fell, and Simply Chloe slipped badly.

Jackie backed off the pace, but at the next vetgate Simply Chloe was slightly unlevel and was eliminated.

First out were Jo Carter and Autumn with a 4 min advantage, but, as Jo led Autumn up the long pull from the gate, Margaret trotted past and was more than 30 min ahead by the next gate.

She took it steady over the final two big climbs and cantered into the finish alone.

At the final vetting, Bonnie Anne was asked to trot twice, but was given the green light, and a delighted Margaret had won the Red Dragon at a speed of 15.24kph.

Second were Jo Carter and Autumn, contesting theirfirst two-day ride and first 160km, while Jackie Gilmore and Roama came in third.

For Ginny Gidley and Midnight Minstrel, their fourth place was compensation for their vetting-out at the end of the Golden Horseshoe. They finished ahead ofZara Moon, 14, on Yamavar.

Read the full report, including the FEI class, in next week’s Horse & Hound (10 October), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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