By Jenny Sheppard
AUSTRALIAN riders may not have starred in the 100-mile endurance at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, but there was one link to Australia in the championship.
Silver medallist Sheikh Mohammed, of the United Arab Emirates, riding Ciel Oriental, owns the global Darley Stud, which has four Australian properties, one at Seymour and three in NSW.
He also heads his family's Godolphin Racing operations in NSW.
Gold went to Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton, from Spain, riding Nobby, and bronze to Sheikh Mohammed's son Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, riding SAS Alexis.
Although thrilled with the victory, Ponton also credited Sheikh Mohammed.
"It's really a strange feeling because I really wanted Sheikh Mohammed to be the world champion," Ponton said at the press conference.
"I think he deserves it. He's the person doing more for this sport in the world."
Sheikh Mohammed's second-place finish helped the United Arab Emirates team to a gold medal in the Endurance Team World Championships.
Silver went to France and bronze to Germany.
Penny Toft, from Marburg, in Queensland, was the only Australian to finish. She was placed 44th, riding Don.
Other team members were Norbert Radney, from Perth, whose horse was eliminated at the gate 3 vet inspection with metabolic problems, and Matt Sample, from Imbil, in Queensland, who was eliminated at the gate 5 inspection when his horse, Tarrangower Crescendo, was lame.
Aussie reining riders qualify
TWO Australian reining riders, Warren Backhouse and Martin Larcombe, qualified for the individual reining final but missed out on medals.
Backhouse finished 13th riding Wiza Bronze Star, with a score of 216.5 and Larcombe finished 19th, riding Top Prize Prince.
The individual gold and silver medals went to the US, with Canada winning bronze.
Australia did not qualify for the teams final, won by the US from Belgium and Italy.
WEG horses test negative
ALL blood and urine samples taken from horses at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky were negative for all prohibited substances.
A total of 140 samples were taken from 82 or 11 per cent of all competing horses, with blood being taken from all 82, plus urine where possible.
All individual medal horses were tested, as well as one member of each medal winning team.
"This is a great success for everyone involved in equestrian sport and is the best possible endorsement of the FEI's Clean Sport Campaign," FEI president HRH Princess Haya said.
"It also proves the value of the FEI's educational program." (enduranceriding.news)