Mongol Derby RACE REPORT: Day 3 – Tuesday 7th August

Today’s Headlines: 

  • Devan Horn still out in front but lead reduced – at one point down to just one hour 
  • Chasing pack of 4 have cut Devan’s lead
  • Top 6 on the leaderboard all female riders
  • Trailing group from Day 1 now up with a pack of 15 riders in remarkable recovery

Race Commentary

Katy Willings, Mongol Derby Race Chief:

“Up front we have Devan Horn who is camped out between Horse Stations 9 and 10, so she has passed through the first penalty station (9) and hasn’t incurred single penalty, everything she’s done has been perfect.

Leader Devan Horn’s mount kicks up the dirt leaving horse station 7, 6th Aug 2013

Leader Devan Horn’s mount kicks up the dirt leaving horse station 7, 6th Aug 2013

[Riders can be penalised for a range of rule incursions from riding after the permitted hours through to a veterinary penalty if their horse is deemed not to recover sufficiently quickly during the inspection at each Horse Station and therefore has been pushed too hard during that leg. When these penalties are issued they are served out at Penalty Stations, the first of which is at Horse Station 9.]

Race Manager Maggie Pattinson saw her pass through Horse Stations 7 and of course 9 where she’s stationed to look after the penalty arbitration, and she said “I can’t fault her, she’s bullet proof”, which is high praise indeed from Maggie.

Left to right: Georgina Johnston, Kristen Melis and Lara Prior-Palmer head out with a local herder from horse station 5, 6th August 2013

Left to right: Georgina Johnston, Kristen Melis and Lara Prior-Palmer head out with a local herder from horse station 5, 6th August 2013

Her lead has been cut; it’s now far less than the advantage she had at the end of yesterday’s racing. The chasing group of four is also camped out tonight, they’re about 6km short of Horse Station 9. They are chasing hard and recording strong average speeds and keeping the pressure up so the race is very much on up at the front.

It’s looking like a great night for camping out under the starts instead of the massive downpours we’ve seen the last two nights.

There’s a large group of 15 riders at Horse Station 7 and I’m really impressed with the recovery and progress made by Shelley Bates, Tamara Hudleston and Paddy Woods. They’ve picked themselves right up from being plum last and way out back on the first day to nicely in the main bunch by the end of the third. They’re with a group that represents over half the field at Horse Station 7 so  any of those riders could attempt to break away and move up the leaderboard.

We didn’t have any big dramas today which is great news. Although when Lynne Gilbert chose one of her horses at a station earlier today, a herder got on the horse and was promptly thrown off. The horse buggered off chasing a herd of mares and couldn’t be retrieved for about an hour. When the horse was finally back under control Lynne made a wise decision to choose a different horse before riding on.

Chloe Phillips-Harris in hot pursuit of leader Devan Horn leg 8, 6th Aug 2013

Chloe Phillips-Harris in hot pursuit of leader Devan Horn leg 8, 6th Aug 2013

Alison Wilson managed to get quite lost in the mountains between Horse Stations 4 and 5 while riding on her own. I had sent one of the crew to go and find her but she managed to find her own way out. She lost about an hour or so in the process, but that really is classic Mongol Derby stuff!

Unfortunately we’ve had another retirement from the race. Lydia Wood has withdrawn due to illness and is now back in Ulaanbaatar being looked after.”

Richard Dunwoody, Race Photojournalist:

“We’ve been following the leaders and saw Devan again today – she’s done remarkably well. She doesn’t hang around for long at horse stations, she’s through quickly. I believe she’s through 9 where we are by the lake, a fantastic campsite, the best of the lot.

She’s doing a mighty fine job and making unbelievable progress. She looked great when I saw her at Horse Station 7 and has obviously been choosing good horses along the way.

Kristen Melis and Lara Prior-Palmer on leg 6 of the Mongol Derby, 6th Aug 2013

Kristen Melis and Lara Prior-Palmer on leg 6 of the Mongol Derby, 6th Aug 2013

She had a bit of a problem with navigation on one leg last night that cost her some time.  She camped out in the end but got to the next Horse Station easily enough this morning. At one point this morning her lead was down to just one hour, but I think now she’s stretched that back to about two hours over the chasing pack.

Chloe and Clare were both into Horse Station 6 and Devan was close enough that she could see them arriving into the station behind her so she definitely knows they’re on her heels.

There hasn’t been any major events or incidents today but one or two riders did end up on the floor. Lara ended up on the floor after her horse stuck its foot into a marmot hole, but she was fine and the horse was fine, so that was good. Chloe  Phillips-Harris had a flyer between 7 and 8. She said it must have been a Nadaam racing horse  and it certainly looked like it.

Lara Prior-Palmer gallops to catch up after a fall, 6th Aug 2013

Lara Prior-Palmer gallops to catch up after a fall, 6th Aug 2013

Devan is going to be chased hard by the group of four right behind her. The way she’s riding at the moment she’ll be very difficult to pass, but you just never know. Such is the Mongol Derby you can have a bad leg or suddenly get an incredibly slow horse, or worse you could incur a penalty so things are by no means straightforward or predictable in this race.

Chloe Phillips-Harris and Clare Twemlow ride out of horse station 6, 6th Aug 2013

Chloe Phillips-Harris and Clare Twemlow ride out of horse station 6, 6th Aug 2013

Contrasting with yesterday when it was bucketing down it’s been great weather today. I have to say yesterday I did feel for the riders, it was abysmal early on, and because of the weight allowance they can’t bring too much stuff with them to keep them dry. They were keeping clothes in their bags instead of wearing them so that they could have dry clothes to wear in the evening, but as a result some were getting very cold out there. I did feel a bit sorry for them at times.

But I think you’ve got to be mad to do the Mongol Derby so they were just proving that!”

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