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  • Writer's pictureRachel Haslau and Fran Cleland

Dash for Ned Kelly's green sash ends in dead heat


ABOVE: Matt Marriot and Ross Carbery with Romeo and Bruno. Picture: DIANE BOARDMAN

DESPITE near freezing conditions, the annual Ruffy Mini Enduro hosted by the Longwood Carriage Driving Club was a huge success, with competitors coming from three states to compete for the coveted Ned Kelly green sash.


The routes crossed the upper reaches of Hughes Creek many times over the three days, with competitors travelling 30km each day along different tracks through Victoria’s spectacular Strathbogie Ranges.


The event from May 6 to 8 featured three classes, with time allowances made for the smaller ponies.


The off- the-track Standardbreds of Ron Henson and Bob Punicki showed their speed and stamina over the three-day event, dead heating in the horse category and being declared the overall winners and joint recipients of the green sash.


In the large pony class the winner was Jane Read, posting a very impressive time over the three days. The small pony class was taken out by Sarah McWilliam and Snoopy.


ABOVE: Ron Henson and his Standardbred Oscar. Picture: DIANE BOARDMAN
ABOVE: Bob Punicki and his Standardbred Beau. Picture: DIANE BOARDMAN

Fiona Mottram, with her mini mule, Daisy, was a standout entry, completing the three days in excellent time.


A large contingent of untimed pleasure drivers also enjoyed the magnificent scenery, with many of them planning to tackle the timed Mini Enduro next year.


Drivers and their crews enjoyed a Saturday night dinner provided by the Ruffy community around roaring camp fires.


ABOVE: Jane Reid and Ginger, winners of the large pony section. Picture: DIANE BOARDMAN
ABOVE: Small pony winner Sarah McWilliam and Snoopy. Picture: DIANE BOARDMAN

Meanwhile, in overseas harness news, Boyd Exell continues on his brilliant way, winning the four-in-hand championship at the Royal Windsor Show.


It’s become almost expected that the master coachman will finish on the podium at important events.


Australian driver Ruby Lawrence, 19, is working at Boyd Exell’s stables and was his groom at the show.


Another Australian, Renmark’s Janelle Marshall who is based in the US, gained her qualification for the FEI World Driving Championships for Ponies in the Netherlands, with a first in the three-star single pony division at Tryon.


GALLERY

(Click any image to expand)

ABOVE: All images DIANE BOARDMAN


1. Cath Bateman and Mr Victor

2. Olive Jeffery and Spook

3. Linden Barrey Amulet

4. Marsha Chamberlain and Rosie

5. Debbie Dunn and Jo Jo

6. Ron Henson and Oscar

7. Waiting out the 30-minute rest stop

8. Claire Harris and Crackerjack

9. Cath Bateman and Mr Victor

10. Matt Marriot and Ross Carbery with Romeo and Bruno



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