The opportunity to host the biggest ever endurance ride in Europe is one that should be cherished according to Nick Brooks-Ward after hundreds flocked to Euston Park for the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival.

More than 400 riders from 35 nations descended on the venue for the ultimate test for horse and rider with the richest prize fund on the continent up for grabs.

Endurance horse riding is a mixed gender sport and competitions are split into three distances, 80km, 120km and 160km.

The competition took place throughout one day and the winning horse is the first one to cross the finishing line while stopping periodically to pass strict veterinary checks which deem the horse fit to continue.

Once the horse crosses the line, its heart rate must be within a certain level and must pass a series of final health checks otherwise the competitor is eliminated.

And Brooks-Ward, the event director, was thrilled with the outcome of the weekend, which was free of charge to spectators.

He said: “This is the biggest ride ever staged in Europe, the prize money going towards the best conditioned horse is a record prize money in Europe and also it is an incentive to travel here to compete in His Highness’s Cup.

“What makes it different is the sheer volume of people we’ve had to cope with here, the sheer volume of horses and 35 different nations all speaking different languages. That is what has made it different, it’s very exciting.

“We tried to make this available to all and everybody to have a good time, on Friday we threw a party with around 1,250 and everybody had a fabulous time.

“They are all talking about it through the weekend which has put everyone in a great mood, we laid on some fabulous entertainment for them – it was a great party atmosphere with great bands.”

Sweden’s Annelie Eriksson emerged victorious form the 80km race as she pipped UAE’s Al Abdulrahman Belghuzooz by just one second with a time of 03:47:48.

There would be success, however, for the UAE in the longer distances with Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi also winning by just one second to compatriot Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri with a time of 04:44:20.

Just two seconds separated the top three in the 160km race as Salem Hamad Saeed Malhoof Al Kitbi emerged triumphant with a time of 07:35:33 to beat Eulalia Gonzalez Guardia.

Horses are strictly checked before even being allowed to compete in an endurance race and during the competition, a crew of five will make sure the horse is in good health to continue.

Brooks-Ward stressed the horses welfare is paramount with the competition hosting some of the leading equine surgeons in the world.

He said: “Horse welfare is the most important factor, and rider welfare, let’s not forget that. We have 27 vets all representing different nations, all different skills, all different abilities – so we are covering everything.

“HH Sheikh Mohammed is undoubtedly the biggest supporter of endurance in the world, quite possibly horse racing as well, in fact I am sure horse racing as well.”

HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival UK Endurance Masters was the largest Endurance event ever to be held in Europe. For more information