BREAKING NEWS…BREAKING NEWS…BREAKING NEWS…
The first riders crossed the finish line on Saturday in just 7 and a half incredible days. Remember, they were given 14 days for this race.
And who was the first? Need one ask. The Mongolian rider, Shiravsambo Galbadrakh, who was followed only one minute later by the South African rider Charles Van Wyck. An English Rider, Sabrina Verjee followed Charles by only 30 seconds, while another English representative, Paul Chew came in 1 minute and 30 seconds after that.
Each of their horses, having been presented for the final obligatory veterinary check of the race, have been confirmed as fit and well.
The decision as to who will be the overall winner of the Derby will be dependant once each rider’s overall conduct in line with the Mongol Derby rules of horse welfare has been reviewed and any penalties given for rule-breaking taken into account.
It is a fantastic achievement. Having changed horses at each staging post, they have shown us how Genghis Khan’s incredible postal system worked – he is said to have been able to get a message from Mongolia to Eastern Europe in just fourteen days with horses kept at staging posts every 30 – 40 kms.
The Adventurists and their spirited campaigners have shown that this was more than possbile.
The focus now falls on the remaining 19 riders who are yet to reach the final leg of the Derby.
By the halfway point it was obvious that Galbadrakh and Van Wyck were streaking ahead of the field and that the rest of the field were spread in their wake, with three riders, David Coddington, Jock Munro and Carina Oliver taking the adventure at a leisurely pace at the rear of the field.
Unfortunately two ridersTolo Mestres of Spain and Martin Asplund of Sweden, suffered accidental dismounts on the second day and had to retire regretfully from the race. They are both fine and Asplund has managed to get ahead of the field awaiting their arrival on the finish line – sans horse of course.
An impromtu halfway party was held with New Zealander Dave Murray giving everyone a spirited performance of the Haka – in tights! He is already feeling “depressed” at the thought of the looming finish so much is he enjoying himself.
The six mobile veterinary teams, made up of teams of Mongolian, British, New Zealand and South African vets, have been doing a sterling job checking every single horse in and out of each Morin Urtuu (horse station). They have been extremely impressed with the fitness of the horses and only one out of the 350 horses used so far has come in with a heart rate exceeding the permitted 64. There hasn’t been a dull moment for them for, instead of sitting there twiddling their thumbs whilst waiting for the next horse and rider to come over the horizon, they have been kept busy treating an array of local goats, cattle and horses.