- Devan Horn’s lead cut to just 10km by chasing Brit Lara Prior-Palmer
- Another 3 riders just one leg (40km) off the lead
- Female dominance at the top of the leaderboard continues
- Riders start taking more tumbles from the semi-wild Mongolian horses but no serious injuries
- Physical strain starting to show across the pack after 4 days of racing
There are 15 riders bringing up the rear of the leaderboard en masse tonight all staying at Horse Station 9; probably the most picturesque of all the stations next to a stunning lake. Tomorrow they’ll enjoy a striking ride around that lake and we’ll see if this large group splits up again.
Another 8 riders made it one leg further to Horse Station 10 meaning that 23 of the 28 riders are just 40km apart. The remaining 5 riders have struck out and earned themselves a clear lead over the pack.
Chloe Phillips-Harris, Clare Twemlow and Kirsten Melis made it to Horse Station 12, but Lara Prior-Palmer who had been riding with them has broken away and is now camping out just 10km before Horse Station 13, where 1st place Devan Horn is tonight.
So just as the lead riders reach haflway, the margins between riders at the pointy end of the leaderboard have been squeezed. But that leading pack of 5 riders is now at least two legs (approx 80km) ahead of everyone else so the initial dominance of the all-female leaders is now developing into a hefty and sustained lead.
Race Commentary: Richard Dunwoody
Former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody is the official race photojournalist. We spoke to him via satellite phone while he was at Horse Station 9 this evening to get his take on Day 4. All the photos posted from the course including in this blog have been taken by Richard as he follows the race out on the steppe.
“There are a few riders suffering with injuries and illness which makes it even tougher out there – the Derby is definitely starting to take its toll. There’s been a few more riders on the deck today as well. I know Hannah Bronwin looked as if she had quite a bad fall, she had a fair few cuts but she’s fine and in good spirits and cracked on well after taking a tumble. Tom Burk’s been having ongoing difficulties with his injured shoulder, Todd Cranney has been ill as has Mondi Kanyana. There’s been a bug around which isn’t helpful when you’ve got 120km to ride every day.
Dylan Delahunt had a loose one today. His horse got loose between Horse Station 8 and 9. Then he came out of 9 and we were following and his horse just seemed to take off!
There’s a big crowd staying at Horse Station 9 tonight so they’re lucky there’s three guest gers which they’ll really appreciate. They’ll also get the best food on the racecourse because we’re right by a lake so grilled fish with chips are being served up. It’ll make a welcome change from all the mutton they’ve been eating for the last 4 days.
The medics are in good form. They’re getting busier because the riders have a lot of stiffness now and are developing more niggles and strains. Put it this way there’s not a lot of moving around between gers once they arrive at the horse station after a long day racing.
Tomorrow morning they have to ride around the lake, which is one of the most beautiful rides of the whole Derby so hopefully it’s dry in the morning and they won’t have to suffer the kind of conditions they saw on Day 2. Generally speaking they’re all doing very well and are in good spirits.”
To see the race standings at the end of Day 4 check out the latest Leaderboard post.