By Steph McNicol
Three Lancefield riders will compete alongside 300 others in a 24-hour endurance challenge for the title of the 2019 Tom Quilty Gold Cup winner.
Starting at midnight on Friday, riders and their horses will take on the tracks of the Imbil State Forest, west of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, to complete the 160-kilometres challenge in the dark.
Kim Noble will compete in her 10th Tom Quilty Gold Cup competition, this year alongside her two daughters, Samantha and Alison.
“Last year the competition was in Tasmania and I came second in my division, which meant I was in the top 10 overall,” Ms Noble said.
“I have actually only started riding again about two weeks ago. I had to have surgery after I was in a car accident.”
Ms Noble said she enjoyed competing and training alongside her daughters.
“When you’re riding your horse just before midnight with your two daughters by your side and music blaring through the speakers, it just brings tears to my eyes,” she said.
Samantha, 24, and Alison, 15, have been riding horses before they could walk.
“I’ve been riding my whole life. Mum would put me on the horses before I could walk,” Alison said.
Alison said she was both nervous and excited for the competition.
“At the competition, even when you’re not riding there’s a good community of people involved and having your friends there makes it 10 times better,” she said.
Samantha said her favourite part of the event was the atmosphere.
“The atmosphere of the whole event is the best. It’s just so big and so is the build-up to it – the best way I can describe it is like a big party atmosphere where everyone is looking forward to starting,” she said.
Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex owner Matthew Sample will host the event for the first time and said he was delighted to welcome the crowd, which would make up one of the biggest events of the Tom Quilty Cup’s 54-year history.
“We’re excited the 2019 Tom Quilty Gold Cup is coming to Imbil and expect our local population of around 900 will at least triple in the week leading up to the event,” Mr Sample said.