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[RC] Tom Quilty Gold Cup ride report, part 1 - Jay Randle

Hi All
WOW!  The 2008 Nanango Tom Quilty Gold Cup ride has been run and won by Meg Wade on China Doll!  With over 200 entries, dozens of volunteers, hundreds of spectators, and a cast of thousands of strappers/crew/kids/families/supporters, this ride will go down in history as one of the most exciting Quiltys EVER!
The Splendacrest Team arrived at the Nanango Showgrounds on the Wednesday before the event, and settled the horses in.  During the day our foreign riders also arrived, to be amazed at the scene before them!  Takeshi Ito, Satomi Kitamura, and Riyo Noyori (all from Japan), and Kim Fuess and Charisse Glenn (from USA), were joined by Liz Cullam (from Western Australia), and welcomed to the Splendacrest camp.  And what a campsite we had!  A large marquee, complete with flashing coloured lights and all the comforts of home, together with a secure and well-laid-out yard area for the horses made up the campsite.
Wednesday evening saw everyone welcomed to the 2008 Quilty with a cocktail party for our friends and neighbours, and much fun was had by all (along with a few laughs)!   Thursday dawned bright and warm:  just a taste of what was to come.  Everyone sorted out their horses and went out for a ride to look at the last phase of the track... a 14km loop.  During the day on Thursday there was also the opportunity for riders to attend a series of lectures hosted by the Australian Endurance Squad, which several of my riders took up and commented on the value of doing so.
On Thursday evening everyone was invited to the AERA Awards ceremony and a dance party to follow, with a very good band playing.  By all accounts this was a most successful evening, and the excitement continued when a stoush with a group of local hoons broke out.  But all ended well, and the music and dancing continued on into the wee hours.
Friday morning was also quite warm, and the final nominations were taken care of.  The entire secretarial team put together by the ride organisers was professional, friendly, warm and welcoming to everyone, and the nomination process proceded very smoothly.  Then it was off to the pre-ride Vetting, with Dr Brian Sheahan overseeing a group of about 20 Veterinarians from all over the country.  A smooth operation was managed by Chief Chief Steward Tom McCormack, ably assisted by Dorte Colja and Jeff Bonham amongst others.
The entire showgrounds then quietened down somewhat as the riders and strappers all tried to get some much-needed sleep prior to the ride commencing at 4am Saturday.  However I also noted many riders up and bright-eyed by 2am, waiting nervously for the start time! 
I relied heavily on my crew of helpers to assist with the saddling and preparation of the 11 horses in my care.  Thanks to Sam Dobson, Alissa and Steph Tulk, Jess Hewitt, Renae and Robert Kuhn, Mal Caldwell, Jan Kittel, Angela Head, Britt and Liz Geddes, Yuko Crease, Diane Wilson, Kristan Kershaw, Gesina and Horst Krause, Deb Jewell, and Kim's friend Cherry, for all capably carrying out their assigned duties throughout the ride!  We couldn't have made it without you all!

Best regards

Jay Randle
"If you want control, get a remote!"

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