The Tom Quilty Gold Cup is a gruelling 160 kilometre horse endurance race, and is one of the toughest rides in the country, where only half of the entered riders managed to finish this year.
Yet Victoria Bonham rode her 13 year-old gelding Bridle Track Bogart to a 33rd place finish in the ride, on the course at Lexton, Victoria on October 7.
Bonham was more satisfied to have finished, completing the ride in a time of 18 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds.
“It is more than finishing the race, it is to complete it,” she said.
“We finished mid field and only fifty per cent finished.”
Bonham credited Bridle Track Bogart, who she said went beautifully throughout the ride, with ease, considering the course was wet and boggy.
The course had been battered by rain the month prior to the race, with other 300 millimeters falling, meaning sections of the course had to be realigned.
Bridle Track Bogart was also presented with a rug due to completing 3000 kilometres of riding by the Australian Endurance Riders Association, at a presentation night before the Tom Quilty.
Bonham has been riding all her life, growing up on a farm at the Bridle Track and currently owns 15 horses.
She considers her husband, Chris Noonan, her biggest help, being her driver, farrier and support and without his assistance, Bonham’s ride would not be possible.
Bonham was not the only Bathurst entry in the Tom Quilty, with 12 year-old Tahnaya Mercieca riding her 15 year-old pure-breed Arabian gelding Malleegrove Qaarma.
Unfortunately, Mercieca was unable to finish the Tom Quilty after her horse was given a lame L3 rating.
At only 12 years-old, Mercieca entered at the youngest age possible, after having all other qualifying requirements for several years.
The endurance ride was established by R. M. Williams and named after his friend Tom Quilty.