Endurance riders rise to Goodwood challenge

  • Local rider Joanne Carter takes the spoils at Goodwood with a winning performance from her 12-year-old horse Autumn

    A howling gale and rain-soaked South Downs proved no match for Joanne Carter, whose Thoroughbred mareAutumn romped round on home ground for a second successive win over the 84km (50 mile) course at the Balanced Horse Feeds Stamin-A Goodwood contest.

    Autumn completed at a speed of 16kph, with Staffordshire-based Jim Lane on his grey Murtada, winner of the 2001 Arab Marathon, coming home in second place at 15.6kph. Vicky Brown’s Angus Macleod crossed the line in third at 15.2kph.

    Twelve-year-old Autumn has more than proved herself this year, with three wins and a second from five race rides. A good start was followed with wins over 50 miles at Narnia and 60 miles at Breamore and a second two weeks ago in the 160km (100 mile) ER event at Red Dragon.

    “I’ve gobsmacked everyone. They’ve all been saying I’d overdone it but I’m not someone who will push their horse. I start out in the middle of the field and then let Autumn set the pace. My philosophy is that we are where we are at the end of the race. She’s a typical Thoroughbred; she just keeps going.”

    On home ground

    Joanne used local knowledge to make the best of the first loop, holding Autumn back as others cantering down the side of the Trundle, knowing that this steep hill can cause difficulties. Her patience paid off. Crossing the line in eighth place to the first vetgate, the mare’s pulse came down quickly and she vetted third.

    Early on the second loop, Autumn was caught by Philip Hirst (Dorocina) and Vicky Brown (Angus Macleod). Ahead were Jim Lane and Murtada and Tricia Hirst with Rohey Evagline.

    Joanne said: “Autumn decided she had had enough of being on her own and the three of us went on together, sharing the lead.”

    Tricia Hirst’s Rohey Evagline was one of a number of horses to go out at vetgate two.

    After another quick presentation, Autumn led out of the second vetgate but had Philip Hirst’s Dorocina and Murtada snapping at her heels. Philip retired shortly after the start of the third loop and the challenge was now on for Jim Lane.

    He caught us, but only for about 10yd. I thought he was just behind us but looked back to see that Jim had got off the horse and was running with it.”

    As she passed checkpoint four, Autumn, crossing the Goodwood road, sensed that she was on her way home.

    “Local people I know were screaming and shouting and cheering at us, my crew was cheering us on and that was it, we crossed the car park and went flat-out.”

    Read the full report in this week’s Horse & Hound (24 October), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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