National riders Phat Makara and Sim Narith, representing the Phnom Penh Equestrian Club, won the 30km and 20km events respectively in the inaugural Royal Angkor Endurance competition, hosted by Happy Ranch Siem Reap under the patronage of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni on Sunday.
Several riders from the Thai Equestrian Federation and Thai Polo Club joined more than a dozen Cambodian riders, including members of the bronze medal-winning national squad at last year’s SEA Games in Malaysia.
Among the clubs sending entries were the Cambodian Country Club, Phnom Penh Equestrian Club, Areyksat Club and Siem Reap’s Happy Ranch.
“We were greatly honoured by His Majesty King Sihamoni granting us his patronage for this first edition, one which will chart a new path for this exciting branch of equestrianism we are determined to excel in,” said president of the Cambodian Equestrian Federation Mona Tep.
“The King in his blessing expressed his eagerness for this part of Cambodian culture and ancestral tradition to be maintained. The late King Father Norodom Sihanouk was a ‘cadre noir’ of the French Ecole de Sumur and was the force behind Cambodia’s equestrian revival. We at the CEF would like to cement that legacy by taking the sport to the Olympics again,” the federation chief said in opening remarks.
On the competition front, Makara astride Joe in the more demanding 30km used his experience and regional exposure to good effect by finishing ahead of his national teammate Long Sopheaktra riding Golden from Happy Ranch. Thai Polo club’s Voratide Wongkraso finished third on Marie from the stables of Happy Ranch.
In the shorter version, Narith on Boy kept at bay Hoy Sophearith on Malis, with third place claimed by female rider Nol Kimhee, who was riding Coco in a race in which two riders were disqualified.
Several organisations backed the event in various ways. While Horseware provided clothing, mats and saddles, Phnom Krom eco resort offered a beautiful location for the events.
Other supporters included Temptation Hotel, Evalilance, KPIG, Royal Angkor and Phnom Penh Hospitals and Pharmacie de la Gare