Teenager Lara Prior-Palmer, the niece of eventing legend Lucinda Green, has won the world’s longest horse race.
The 19-year-old became not only the first British rider, but the first woman and the youngest person to win the 1000km challenge since the race began in 2009.
American Devan Horn crossed the line first but race rules stipulate that each rider’s horse must pass a strict veterinary inspection at the end of each leg. Devan’s horse’s heart rate did not recover in the required time and she was issued a 2hr penalty.
Lara crossed the line an hour later and passed the vets inspection, thereby becoming the winner.
“I can’t really believe it. I came into the first station last because my horse was so slow and I had to walk him in,” Lara said.
“I thought that would be the end of my Mongol Derby.
“I knew that there were 30 people and nearly all of those 30 wanted to win. I really just wanted to finish.
“If you compare my first few days to my last few days I was going so much slower and suddenly I just got the hang of it — how to ride the horses and what to do to catch up with the rest.”
Half of the 30 riders who started had to withdraw during the gruelling race.
“It is quite extraordinary,” 6-time Badminton winner Lucinda told H&H.
“I sent her off with my Gatehouse helmet, some Tubigrips and something called Monkey Butt cream that I was given in Kenya for the saddle sores.”
“Before she left I told her ‘you might not finish but it will still be an amazing experience’. So for her to win is just unbelievable, it is a seriously tough event.”
Clare Twemlow, fiancé of National Hunt trainer Neil King, came third in the race.
This year the first five past the post were all female riders.