Tom Quilty Gold Cup set to triple Imbil’s population

Prestigious endurance horse ride brings economic impact of close to $2m to region

In July this year Australia’s most prestigious endurance horse riding event will come to Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex, expecting to bring over 2,000 visitors to the Imbil area and provide a significant economic benefit for the region.

Over 350 riders and their support crews will converge on Imbil with many expected to stay for five to seven days to best position their horses to complete the challenging 160km ride through the Imbil State Forest.

The economic impact for the region is expected to be close to $2 million based on conservative estimates which do not include the substantial funds being injected into the local economy by event host, Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex.

Complex owner and founder of Stirling’s Crossing Endurance Club Matthew Sample said he was delighted to be hosting an event that would have such a positive impact for local businesses.

“We want to put Imbil on the map as a premier equestrian hub in Australia ― particularly for endurance riding ― and we don’t underestimate the opportunity this provides for local businesses too,” Mr Sample said.

“We love this region and want to support those within our community who can help us make our visitors feel welcome and experience the beauty and hospitality of the Mary Valley for themselves.”

“This event is steeped in history and recognised internationally by the endurance community. Initial indications are that this will be one of the biggest Tom Quilty Gold Cup rides in its 54-year history with riders coming from as far as Tasmania and Western Australia, as well as from overseas.”

“Those involved in endurance riding are very passionate about their sport and this event is definitely the highlight of the endurance calendar annually. Having the opportunity to host it at Stirling’s Crossing ― which is Australia’s first purpose-built endurance facility ― and being located in such a desirable tourist destination is proving to be a winning combination and we’ve been overwhelmed with enquiries even though we are still a few months out.”

The event will be hosted between 11-14 July with the ride commencing at midnight on Friday 12 July, riding into Saturday. Riders participating will be aged between 12 and 70 and have 24 hours to complete the course, returning to the ride base several times during the event for vet checks and to replenish their horses.

“Endurance riding creates the most incredible bond between horse and rider and when participants set off into the forest in the middle of the night, the energy and excitement is palpable ― both for the riders and the horses,” said Mr Sample, who was himself a joint winner of the 2009 Tom Quilty Gold Cup along with brother Brook.

“This sport is very family friendly and we are confident that those coming will enjoy much of what the Mary Valley and Gympie region has to offer. It’s the last weekend of Queensland school holidays so some may travel here the week prior to enjoy some time in our warm climate whereas those from New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia will be in the middle of their school holidays and may choose to extend their stay after the event.

“It’s a great opportunity for local businesses to welcome these visitors and add to the economic impact of the event and we encourage them to be involved. We are also looking for over 120 volunteers to help us make the event happen so if anyone wants to get on board, please visit our website and register your interest.”

The 2019 Tom Quilty Gold Cup will be officially launched at the next Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex event in the first weekend of May. More information on the Tom Quilty 2019 website.

Photo caption: 2018 Tom Quilty Gold Cup winner Kristie Taprell (credit Denise Keelan Photography)