BY DON MAHONEY
Local riders came to the fore winning all but one division in the Mudgee Endurance Club's 80 kilometre ride at Cooyal last Sunday.
A massive 130 riders took to the Cooyal course over the weekend with 15 in Saturday's social ride and on Sunday 87 rode in the 80 kilometre ride and 28 in the 40 kilometre training ride.
Middleweight rider Mette Sutton, who will ride in South Africa in July, won the ride for the third consecutive year on "Tuldar The Magician" and also took out the fittest horse award.
Suton said she had to make up ground after being placed 10th at the half way mark.
"In the final leg 'Magic' picked up his pace and rounded up the leaders one by one and was over the line first and still able to pass the fitness tests in great shape.
Garry Bennett continued his recent strong results when he rode "Karabil Yaningi" into second place behind Sutton in the middleweight division.
Gloria Mills won the lightweight division and her mount, "Glendos Sabodie" gave her the double when he was announced the fittest horse in the division.
Mills and 'Sabodie' were also awarded the perpetual trophy for the First Anglo Arab. Mills went into Sunday's ride with three previous wins in the event
The Braithwaite trophy for the first junior was taken out by Ben Hudson and his horse was also the fittest horse in the division, which had six riders.
Other local juniors to finish were Alanna Byrne and Leanne Maynard.
A highlight of the ride was the 2470 kilometres clocked up by the local combination of Bernice King and "Noble Novaar Destiny".
Scott Devonport was the only visiting rider to win a division when he was successful in the heavyweight division.
Club spokesperson Pat Dickinson said that the club was pleased to also have one rider from Perth (Western Australia) and, for the first time a rider from Namibia.
"Unfortunately our visiting international Gawie Viljoen was unlucky on the day when his mount (supplied by Keith, Bev and Mette Sutton) was lame at the end of the first leg and was vetted out," Dickinson said.
"Gawie said that despite the vet out he enjoyed his time at the Cooyal ride.
"The weather was wonderful and we had few problems other than one visiting rider who suffered a fall near check point two, was unconscious for 40 minutes and was taken to hospital.
"The rider was admitted to Mudgee Hospital for overnight observation.
"The club would like to thank Peter Lynch from Botobolar and his crew who assisted after the fall and Keith and Bev Sutton who cared for the rider’s three children and Mette Sutton who ensured the rider was reunited with her children after discharge from hospital."
The Club had many supporters headed by head vet Ray Gooley who reported there no vet outs on heart rate or metabolics, which he said was pleasing.
The Cooyal Progress Association did a great job of preparing the base at the Cooyal Park and on Saturday night catered for more than 100 dinners.
The Cooks Gap and Cooyal fire brigades manned the check points while Hartley Sutton checked the course on a motorcycle prior to the start to ensure all markers were in place.
The next endurance ride in the district is the Gulgong ride on Sunday June 14.