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Hilton Herbs Alred's Tower Endurance Horse Ride, 9 / 10 August 2003

Huge Field For Showpiece Event

SOME 300 competitors have entered this weekend's Hilton Herbs Alfred's Tower endurance event tackling distances from 20-miles to a phenomenal 86 miles in one day. The festival of endurance which includes some 14 classes, is sponsored by Hilton Herbs and will raise funds for the charity Spinal Research.

Two prominent names from the horse racing world will be taking part during the weekend. Jump jockey Jim Culloty, best known for his partnership with Cheltenham Gold Cup winter Best Mate, will be riding on behalf of the charity Spinal Research in a team event for Riding Clubs from across the UK on Sunday. Meanwhile, race horse owners and keen endurance supporters Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, have a number of horses entered in the show piece 80-mile (140km) event on Saturday. Sheikh Mohammed is well known throughout the racing world as an owner of top racehorses - he is less well known as one of the world's leading endurance riders and may well be lining up to take on the 80-mile event himself. The first prize in the Hilton Herbs Alfreds Tower ride will be automatic entry to the $US 200,000 President's Cup in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in March 2004.

A host of international level endurance riders from across the UK will be vying for the top prize in the top class, the FEI 140km 3 star event which has a prestigious first prize of automatic and all-expenses paid entry to the $US 200,000 President's Cup in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in March 2004. With around 30 entries, the contest which will probably be the hottest competition in the UK this year, will include members of the Hilton Herbs racing team; Jane James (Rowangay Garnet), Liz Platts (Delchina), Graham Hartley (EA Dadu) and a host of British international stars; Sarah Kelleway (Kosmik) Beccy Broughton (Zapala), Katie Smith (Wala), Tricia Hirst (Vlacq Khamul), Sarah Tyson (Faladin). The event will also include a final selection class for the British Young rider team to contest the European Championships in Rome this autumn. Some 14 young riders will take on the challenge of the 102km endurance ride.
Sponsor Tony Self will ride Hilton Merlin in the horse's first race ride when he lines up for the 82km event crewed by his wife Hilary Self.

The first prize in the second class, the FEI 100km 2 star event, will be an endurance saddle valued at £1,500 donated by Gaston Mercier, a leading saddler in France and former European champion.

The popular British Riding Clubs Championship which takes place on Sunday has attracted 18 teams from across the UK. The event will begin with a display by a team of Paso Fino bred horses.

WHAT: Major endurance horse race featuring riders from across the region
WHEN: 8-10 August 2003
WHERE: Stourhead House, Mere, Wilts
Friday 8 August from 3pm - trot up of horses at inspection in front of Stourhead house
Saturday 9 August: 6am - start of 80 mile (140km) event 6pm (estimate) First horses finish in 80 mile event. Possibility to film horses in action and at vet check throughout the day.
Sunday 10 August: 9.30am British Riding Clubs championship featuring NH jockety Jim Culotty sets off. Approx 1pm - first team finishes in championship.




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