Racing: Last laps a match for the Squire: Peter Scudamore completes his hardest ever ride to break the 200-mile time trial record with minutes to spare

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The Independent Online
PETER Scudamore, the eight- times champion jump jockey, won the race of his life here yesterday. He beat a 162-year-old record in a 200-mile time trial on horseback, completing the distance in an incredible eight hours, 37 minutes and 51 seconds.

His target was 8hr 42min, set in 1831 by one Squire George Osbaldeston to win a bet. Scudamore put up his feat of horsemanship to raise funds for a Newmarket charity, the Animal Health Trust.

Like the Squire, he rode round 50 four-mile laps on the July course, starting just after 7am. His 48 mounts - Osbaldeston used 28 - were a mixture: Arabs, hunters and thoroughbreds. At the first split time, 48 miles, he was a minute and a half down. At 60 miles the deficit was reduced to 27sec. But some slow horses meant that at halfway he was back to 1min 22sec adrift.

There was a further setback when one horse went lame. Scudamore pulled up (a slight strain was later diagnosed), an outrider with a spare horse sped to the spot, and the lap was completed.

More slow horses followed and the record began to look unlikely. But the best was saved to last; a team from the Kelleway family - their Slight Risk posted the fastest lap, 8min 11sec - and a couple of Hamdan Al Maktoum horses began to redress the balance. After 40 laps he was 7sec up and by the last horse, Ron Boss's Madagans Grey, who went round twice, only disaster could prevent success.

After crossing the finishing line, Scudamore laid himself carefully on the ground as soon as he dismounted, to have massage for cramp from his physiotherapist. He said: 'It was far, far harder than I expected.'

He spent more time in the saddle than the Squire, who was more liberal with his meal-breaks. Scudamore stopped twice for a pee, and took on vitamin drinks on the run during change-overs.

(Photograph omitted)