A JOCKEY conquered the world's longest horse race to complete a heroic comeback from knee surgery.

Annabel Neasham, from Bicester, finished joint winner of the 1000km Mongol Derby alongside Australian rider Adrian Corby yesterday morning.

The pair took seven days to complete the gruelling endurance race, riding more than 20 semi-wild horses across challenging terrains from giant sand dunes to freezing mountain passes.

Winning the event is an achievement in itself, but Ms Neasham did so after having Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) surgery and admitted crossing the line was a welcome relief.

She said: "People say when they finish, they could easily do another 1,000km.

"Well, I think I’m good with this.

“My knees were buggered after half a day.

"I had an ACL reconstruction and I really felt that."

The 27-year-old is currently working with her co-rider on a racing yard in Australia and the duo timed their run to the finish perfectly.

Ms Neasham came through the field to overtake American rider Devan Horn on the event's penultimate day and her and Mr Corby kept their lead to the finish.

It was an exemplary finish to an event widely seen as the toughest test on the planet for equestrian endurance riders, which is based on the ancient horse messenger system used by Genghis Khan.

The race is designed to mimic a time that led the warlord to say 'it is easy to conquer the world from the back of a horse'.

A massive network of horse stations enabled Genghis Khan to set up the world's first long distance postal transmission system.

In just a few days, messengers could gallop from his capital Kharkhorin, in Mongolia to the Caspian sea.

More than 800 years on, 44 riders from as far afield as Pakistan and Uruguay recreated the journey with the 10th edition of the Mongol Derby.

Jockeys spent more than 100 miles in the saddle each day, changing horses every 25 miles at checkpoints strung out throughout the country.

Riders were left to their own devices, with no marked course, no food and no accomodation provided - just a satellite tracker with an emergency button.

Instead, competitors were very much alone as they navigated the vast Mongolian wilderness of high passes, huge valleys and river crossings.

Ms Neasham overcame these challenges to emulate fellow British rider Lara Prior-Palmer, niece of six times Badminton champion Lucinda Green, who won the race in 2013.

But the Bicester jockey revealed one of the toughest aspects of the experience was adapting to everyday life in the Asian country.

She said: "I tried to embrace the culture but I didn't like the food.

"I ate enough that I wasn’t hungry but that was probably the toughest thing.

"Also it was tough not showering - as soon as I got off the horse I had a shower.”

p Visit mongolderby.com for more information.

Brit crosses line as joint winner of the world’s longest horse race

The Mongol Derby, the world’s longest horse race at 1000km, concluded in Mongolia today, with Brit Annabel Neasham, crossing the line as joint winner after a week of thrilling racing.

This was the tenth year the Mongol Derby has run; a race based on the ancient horse messenger

system used by Genghis Khan in a country where the horse is king, utilised for everything from

cheese and meat production to transport and a symbol of wealth.

The race is the toughest test on the planet for equestrian endurance riders. Whilst the horses are

changed every 25 miles, at checkpoints strung out throughout the country, the riders must endure

being in the saddle for up to 125 miles a day and face the challenges of riding over twenty different

semi-wild horses, with varying temperaments and bucking abilities, the inevitable falls and mishaps

along the way and navigating through challenging terrain, from giant sand dunes to freezing

mountain passes.

This year’s race saw a global field of 44 riders, from as far afield as Pakistan and Uruguay, line up at

the start. 24 year old Devan Horn, from Houston Texas, took the lead early determined to go one

better than she did in 2013, when she was pipped at the post by Brit Lara Prior-Palmer, niece of

Lucinda Green, six times Badminton champion. On the penultimate day of racing Devan was passed

by 27 year old Annabel Neasham, from Bicester in Oxfordshire, riding with Australian Adrian Corby

(whom she’s currently working with on a racing yard in Australia).

The pair then managed to keep their lead, with Devan hot on their heels, to the finish line, showing

exemplary horsemanship skills throughout, despite the hardships and challenges they faced along

the way.