Mongol Derby 2015 - Race Report Day 6

At the front of the field  Byeronie Epstein and Elise Pointrinal began this morning out on the steppe between HS 19 & 20.

Their riding companions since day 1; Michele Tanaka, Braden Cameron, Ben Wilks and Maxim Van Lierde were half a leg behind, overnighting at HS 19. 

Just before midday Byeronie and Elise reached PS1. With Elise due a 2 hour vet penalty and Byeronie free to ride it was unclear if  Byerone would wait for the girl she'd ridden so well with so far.

Determined to seize any advantage available though, she pushed on. Elise - somewhat unlucky to get a veterinary penalty when the 5 she was riding with didn't - was left waiting, while the chasing four caught up. 

By the time Michele, Braden, Ben and Maxim passed through HS21 Elise's penalty was nearly done and ten minutes later set off in pursuit on a speedy looking paint horse. Chloe reports she was very calm but focused on catching up with the lead. 

Half way to HS 22 Elise had already picked off endurance veteran Braden, who was noticed to be looking exhausted through the last few Urtuus.

 Byeronie missing the racing line through the hills

Byeronie missing the racing line through the hills

Not long after Byeronie seemed to take an eyecatching line through the mountains, a peculiar tactic through the undulating hills and it was difficult to tell if she avoided the racing line by mistake or plan.

If it was a tactical decision it backfired as she reached HS 22 almost at the same time as the chasing group. By the time they left the station Elise was virtually on top of them. By the end of the day all five were at HS 23, Elise eliminating a 2 hour lead in just 2 legs.

Braden didn't quite make the Urtuu and is in a winter cabin tonight sheltering himself from the cold and wet. A circumstance unlikely to improve his spirits tomorrow.

Patrick Sells despite riding well has lost some ground today when his horse went lame en route to HS21. He will take an outside assistance penalty of 1 hour and also falls closer to the group behind him. 

The head of this group is Will Graham who after a tough couple of days has his mojo back and is riding fast.

The whole field are riding at a considerable whallop though, even the rearguard are riding 3 / 4 stations a day which is considerably faster than previous years. The only back-marker looking to be really struggling is Iain Hayter who once again is looking tired and unwell.

At the current pace the 2015 Derby will be won half way through Wednesday. 

A mention should go to Jenna Carr who was forced to retire on day 1 and has been itching to get back in the saddle ever since. She was put back on a horse at HS 16 but got lost in the mountains before she reached the next urtuu. A search party was dispatched to aid the stricken lass who was stuck in wolf country on a cold, wet night.

Sarah Cooksey & Daniel Reeds struggling to control their horses out of HS14

Derby chief Katy will be reporting through the race: @MongolDerbyLive

The Full List of Riders can be found over on the Mongol Derby website.

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Applications for 2016 are open. If you prefer to participate than spectate you can apply here.