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Saturday, August 18, 2012
Professional Irish jump jockeys Donie Fahy and Richard Killoran claimed first and second respectively in the latest running of the gruelling Mongol Derby.
The race is a recreation of the ancient horse-messenger system used by Genghis Khan that could relay messages across the empire. The riders take on 1000km of Mongolian steppe on semi-wild horses, swapping their mounts at a network of horse stations set 40km apart.
The race started yesterday week and Donie crossed the finish line nose to nose with South African adventurer Barry Armitage. Barry however was issued with veterinary penalty of two hours when an inspection revealed his horse was lame.
The South African had been in the lead for much of the race but, in a painful twist, his time penalty pushed him outside the top three.
Donie Fahy had spent most of the Derby in the chasing pack but a supremely timed strong run through the last few horse stations and impressive sprint to the finish line brought him victory.
Thirty-four riders started the race, but the Derby is so tough that only 21 are expected to cross the finish line.
Richard Killoran, also a Irish professional jump jockey and Donie’s riding mate for much of the race, crossed the line just 44 seconds after Donie to claim second place.
Austrian rider Michaela Gradinger claimed third place, 55 minutes behind.
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