There was a furious drumming of hooves as the start flag rose. A few riders discovered some control issues with their steeds, but there were only a couple of unplanned rapid dismounts.
These incidents needed reporting, and the only way to do that was with the aid of our chums over at AST Systems UK. Their kit and expertise helped our photographer send today's photo.
Former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody will be sending photos every day from the steppe, and we'll pick our favourite to feature as the Mongol Derby AST Photo of the Day.
Cast your eyes over the full launch report.
To get the Mongol Derby AST Photo of the Day straight to your inbox, sign up to the Mongol Derby newsletter here:
All image rights reserved, please give us a shout if you want to use any of these pictures.