Lara Prior-Palmer – first woman to win Mongol Derby

UK sportsmen and women are on a roll.  They are gathering medals and merits left right and centre.  Really good for British sport.

Lara Prior-Palmer is in a league of her own.  In winning the Mongol Derby, she created several records in one fell swoop.

Lara Prior-Palmer will go down in history as:

  • 2013 Winner of world’s longest horse race.
  • First Briton to win the Mongol Derby.
  • First Female Rider to win the Mongol Derby
  • The youngest person to win the longest horse race.

Well done Lara. Bravo!!!

You are GlobalGranary’s Sportwoman of the Year!


Lara Prior-Palmer – first woman to win Mongol Derby

A 19 year-old from Hampshire became the first female rider to win the Mongol Derby – known as one of the world’s toughest horse races.

Briton becomes first woman to win Mongol Derby
Lara Prior-Palmer chasing Devan Horn on the last leg of the Mongol Derby Photo: Richard Dunwoody

Jolyon Attwooll

11:22AM BST 12 Aug 2013

Lara Prior-Palmer also became the first British rider and the youngest person to win the race since it began in 2009.

She claimed victory in the 1000-kilometre race in dramatic circumstances, with the American woman Devan Horn actually crossing the finishing line first on Saturday.

However, race rules stipulate that each rider’s horse must pass a veterinary inspection at the end of each leg, and Miss Horn’s horse’s heart-rate did not recover in the required time. She was issued with a two-hour penalty, which handed victory to her British rival.

Prior-Palmer, who is the niece of Lucinda Green (six times Badminton champion), wrote in the Telegraph prior to the race that she “wasn’t scared of anything at the moment.”

The course is a recreation of Genghis Khan’s ancient postal system of 25 horse stations across the Mongolian steppe.

Riders change their semi-wild Mongolian horses at each station, and stay with the local herding families that run the stations and provide the horses.

Lara said: “I can’t really believe it … I came into the first station last because my horse was so slow and I had to walk him in. I thought that would be the end of my Mongol Derby.

“I knew that there were 30 people and nearly all of those 30 wanted to win and I really just wanted to finish.

“If you compare my first few days to my last few days I was going so much slower … and suddenly I just got the hang of it and how to ride the horses and what to do to catch up with the rest.”

Richard Dunwoody, the official race photojournalist and former champion jockey, said he’d witnessed “phenomenal riding” and that both front-riders had “set a scorching pace”.

Half of the 30 riders who started the race have now withdrawn, with only 15 now expected to complete. Many have fallen off or been bucked off their semi-wild horses or sustained injuries.


What is the Mongol Derby

  • 1000km horse race across Mongolia
  • 30 riders compete
  • Race takes in a mammoth network of 25 horse stations across the Mongolian steppe
  • Riders change their semi-wild Mongolian horses at each station approximately 40km apart

Source: BBC

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