After a day 6 dominated by unruly horses, day 7 will be remembered for some great riding. The back four riders of Ann-Therese Helgesson, Jade Sevelow-Lee Michelle Jarvis, and Alison Wilson spent the night out in the mountains but according to Anna, vet at HS17 they arrived 'strong and cheerful'.
'Bullet' Our head horseman Unenburen said this of Jade as she thundered past. Apparently she'd requested a fast horse which explains the message she sent at the end of the day:
Two other riders reported to be flying were Musse Hasselvall and Mikael Eriksson who took just 2 hours 20 to ride from HS17 to HS18. Heather Russell and Chris Berkers also rode well, through HS19 gained at least an hour on Anita and Rose.
Plaudits need also to be rained upon Bonnie Hutton who rode well today despite fracturing her hand in a fall yesterday. Through the day she has in fact picked up speed, with interpreter Dari remarking "That chick is TOUGH". Tough indeed.
At the front of the field Sam Jones also had a good run on the straight flat section from HS26 to HS26; so good in fact she's opted to press on and camp out tonight. It doesn't look like she's found herders to stay with, so she's facing a cold damp night under the stars. As Derby Chief Katy says "This lady is a smashing navigator and unfazed by riding alone".
Behind her Chris Maude, Jamie Peel and Rob Skinner arrived late at HS26 and so will all take a 14 minute penalty before they can ride tomorrow. The report from HS25 when they passed through was their mood could best be descried as 'sombre'.
The front runners further spread with Brent Albuino and Barbara Smith opting to end the day early stopping at HS 25 at 19:14 losing over an hour of riding time. It's taken a whole week but finally the leaders are thinning out.
We could have a winner tomorrow by mid-day, depending on whether Sam's gamble in staying out tonight pays off. The 45 minutes of extra riding could prove crucial as could the penalty of the riders immediately behind her.
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