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Patagonian adventure: Clare King comes second in the first Gaucho Derby

Clare King: "Not exactly the ideal bit position, but that was a deep river with a big current & we were hanging! (Photo copyright Richard Dunwoody)Clare King: "Not exactly the ideal bit position, but that was a deep river with a big current & we were hanging! (Photo copyright Richard Dunwoody)Clare King is now home at Barbury Castle from her adventurous ride in Patagonia - back to husband jumps trainer Neil King and their two children.  And back to the rigours of the coronavirus - the effects of which she had not heard about while in deepest Patagonia - and the shut down of horse racing across the UK.

 

Her ride in the first running of the 500 kilometres Gaucho Derby ended with her gaining second place in the 23 strong field of international riders.

Spool back a few months - why did she enter this rough riders' race?  "I am now a 41 year old mother of two, feeling a bit podgy and lazy and in need of a new challenge! So, against my better judgement, I have committed to the ‘pioneers running’ of the Gaucho Derby."

Clare King (left) relishes a quieter moment! (Photo copyright Richard Dunwoody)Clare King (left) relishes a quieter moment! (Photo copyright Richard Dunwoody)

Coming third in the 2013 running of the Mongol Derby and now second in this new race she has some amazing tales to tell:

"I feel very lucky to have made it through in one piece, with the icing on the cake to finish 2nd!  What a privilege to ride through one of the most remote, beautiful, but at times utterly brutal places on earth."

"The horses were foot sure and carried me up, down and through terrain I would never have believed a horse could cross and my fellow competitors were a great bunch of fun, brave and inspiring people.  There were challenges at every turn including deathly bogs, scree slopes, difficult mountains and camping out."

Just another river to cross: Clare King centre with two more British competitors (Photo copyright Richard Dunwoody) Just another river to cross: Clare King centre with two more British competitors (Photo copyright Richard Dunwoody)

"It was unpredictable at times and a major helicopter medical evacuation of four riders on day three turned a lot of the previously planned race format on its head, but I've had the experience of my life and have gained utmost respect for Gauchos - they are incredible horsemen."

 

"A VERY sincere thank you to all of you who have been so generous in sponsoring me.  I have so far raised over £8k towards my £10k target for the Children's Cancer & Leukaemia Group (CCLG).  Your support really means a lot."   You can still donate to the charity at Clare's fund raising webpage.

This first Gaucho Derby was won by American Marie Griffis who lives and works with horses in the mountains of Montana.

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