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All the credit should go to my horse, Stirling says

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: It still had not sunk in for the Uruguayan teenager, who kept playing with his two-year-old sister even as journalists threw questions at the new junior world endurance champion.

Martin Stirling, 15, scored a huge win for his country with gold in the individual event, and also made a big contribution to the team's victory.

"My horse Vendaval is a great horse and all credit goes to him," said Stirling, whose parents along with his two brothers and sister were all there to celebrate with him.

"I have come second on Vendaval in the junior championship in Uruguay but to win here in the UAE is good.

"In the final loop I just concentrated on my horse and towards the end the Australian rider gave me a hard challenge."

Stirling's win was the second for Uruguay in the Junior World Championship, their earlier victory coming in the 2006 event in Argentina.

‘Great experience'

"We had prepared well as a team and I am happy for the other riders who helped us win the team gold also," he said, adding that he was bowled over by the facilities at the Emirates International Endurance Village.

"I have heard so much about the UAE endurance riders and this event has been a great experience. We have been here since the beginning of the month and enjoyed every bit of our stay."

Allix Jones, who earned the silver for Australia in the individual and a bronze in the team event, was equally elated.

Her effort on Castlebar Moonlight brought tears to the eyes of the horse's breeder and owner Margaret Wade, one of Australia's top riders sidelined after a horrific riding accident.

"This horse is special as he has been sired by one of the horses gifted to me by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai," said Wade.

Jones, 19, said: "I am delighted with this silver medal. I did try my best to get close to the winner but his horse was too good."

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