GOING THE DISTANCE: Zac Sample, 12 pictured here on Milo, is the youngest competitor in this year's Tom Quilty endurance ride. INSET: The Tom Quilty Cup will be on display at Stirling's Crossing.
GOING THE DISTANCE: Zac Sample, 12 pictured here on Milo, is the youngest competitor in this year's Tom Quilty endurance ride. INSET: The Tom Quilty Cup will be on display at Stirling's Crossing. Sarah Sullivan

REVEALED:Tom Quilty full program of events

ENDURANCE is a family sport and there are several families who will take to the tracks in the Tom Quilty this year.

Kenilworth local Brook Sample, who holds the record for the most Tom Quilty wins with seven, will be joined by his two sons Matthew, aged 15, and Zac, aged 12.

The Lochtenbergs, from Imbil, will see Linda, Olaf and his daughter Tahlea, aged 14, take to the tracks.

Zac Sample will be the youngest rider to take off into the pitch-dark Imbil State Forest at midnight with just a headlight and horse for company but there are several other children close to his age taking part.

The children have already completed a 160km ride in order to qualify for the Tom Quilty Gold Cup and they can't wait to take on the most prestigious ride on the calendar.

The oldest rider to tackle the course this year is Toowoomba rider Ken Gordon at 76.

Ken has previously completed a Tom Quilty ride, getting a buckle in 2015.

The original Tom Quilty Gold Cup, which was named after R.M. Williams' close friend Tom Quilty who donated $1000 in 1966 to create the trophy, is held in the Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach, Queensland.

Tom Quilty cup 2019 feature. The Tom Quilty cup which was named after R.M. William's close friend Tom Quilty who donated $1000 in 1966 to create it,  is held in the 'Stockman's Hall of Fame' in Longreach.
Tom Quilty cup 2019 feature. The Tom Quilty cup which was named after R.M. William's close friend Tom Quilty who donated $1000 in 1966 to create it, is held in the 'Stockman's Hall of Fame' in Longreach. Contributed

This year the original trophy will be on display at Stirling's Crossing.

The Tom Quilty was first held in Queensland in 1998.

Four riders who participated in the Kenilworth event will again ride in the Tom Quilty this year in Imbil.

Endurance riding offers controlled, long-distance rides that require competitors to cover large distances across diverse terrain with line honours going to the horse and rider crossing the line first.

However, the winner of the Tom Quilty Gold Cup is the first horse and rider combination from either the heavyweight or middleweight divisions.

Riders have 24 hours to complete the 160km ride but the winners hope to complete the ride in 10 to 10.5 hours (excluding vetting time between legs).

The fastest time recorded in the history of the Tom Quilty Cup was eight hours, 14 minutes by Mark Haigh in 1996.

The who's who of Australian endurance riding will converge at this year's event.

Defending champion Kristie Taprell will be back in the hope of getting her fifth TQ win along with the 2016 winner Debbie Grull, 2015 winner Ben Hudson and 2013 winner Brook Sample - who will this year aim to continue to build on his record with his eighth Tom Quilty win.

Participants for this year's Tom Quilty will be travelling from Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia and internationally from Canada, Japan, the USA and Estonia.

Horses must pass a number of veterinary checks along the way as well as after completion to ensure they are fit and in a condition that would allow them to continue.

The health and wellbeing of the horse is of utmost importance and there is an incredibly strong bond between horse and rider.

More than 20 vets attend the event to ensure the welfare of the horses before and after the ride as well as four vet checks during the ride.

These vets will travel from across Australia as well as New Zealand, the USA, Portugal and Thailand.

In 1993 endurance rider Trevor Knight wrote The Ballad of Tom Quilty which has been played at midnight at the start of the race ever since, either performed live or broadcast over the sound system.

Trevor will attend the 2019 Tom Quilty Gold Cup to perform his song live both on Thursday, July 11, and again at midnight at the start of the ride.

EVENT PROGRAM

*Subject to change

MONDAY, JULY 8

Noon - Stirling's Crossing Equestrian Complex ride base opens

TUESDAY, JULY 9

4pm - Vet ring walk through

THURSDAY, JULY 11

Noon - Weigh stations open

2pm - Nominations open

4pm - Vet ring walk through and all participants on site

5.30pm - VIP Welcome drinks

7pm - AERA presentations

FRIDAY, JULY 12

8am - Nominations re-open

9am - Pre-ride vetting (aim to close at 3pm)

4pm - Last walk through if needed

5pm - Pre-ride talk

11pm - Pre-start formalities including performance of The Ballad of Tom Quilty

Midnight - Tom Quilty 2019 Gold Cup starts

SATURDAY, JULY 13

12.30 -1pm - Winners expected to cross the line

Midnight - Tom Quilty 2019 Gold Cup closes

SUNDAY, JULY 14

9am - Best conditioned workouts and the Pat Slater Cup workouts

11.00am - Top 10 rugs

12.30pm - Presentations

6.30pm - Tom Quilty 2019 dinner

MONDAY, JULY 15

5pm - Ride base closes.

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