The tribes who ruled the world

Alex Embiricos is doing a 1000km Mongol Derby long distance horse race in Mongolia for charity.
Alex Embiricos is doing a 1000km Mongol Derby long distance horse race in Mongolia for charity.
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Alex Embiricos has set herself the target to be the first woman to win the 1,000km Mongol Derby.

Based on the ‘pony express’ service Genghis Khan set up, she will ride native Mongol ponies for about a week, changing ponies every 40km and navigating herself across the Mongolian steppes.

Just taking part is a tough task to set yourself for charity and for most people the odds of winning would be poor. But if Alex, from Bradfield St Claire was a racehorse we would say she had the breeding and form.

She is directly related to the first British woman to break the sound barrier while she, her mother and her grandmother have all won Newmarket’s Town Plate. In fact, her grandmother Eileen Joel was the first woman to win it in 1925.

The family have also owned top racehorses, including her father Nick Embiricos who owned Aldaniti who won the 1981 Grand National ridden by cancer survivor Bob Champion.

Alex added: “I rode in my first point to point in 1986 and retired two years ago, having won 60 races here and in the States. I trained approximately 50 winners.”

She has also done some cycle challenges but said: “Since I retired from racing I’ve been in need of something to get my teeth into and I wanted to do something on a horse.”

She saw something about the Mongol Derby, so she looked it up and was accepted as an entrant. The semi-wild Mongol ponies are very different to racing’s Thoroughbreds, but while they are small, they are renown for being tough and are descended from the ponies Mongol warriors rode.

Naturally, Alex is planning to raise money for The Bob Champion Cancer Trust, of which she a trustee, but also for the Injured Jockeys Fund and St Nicholas Hospice. She hopes to raise £10,000.

But first she has to get the £7,595 entry fee, while also starting her training for the event next August.

Ex-Royal Engineer Andy Rowlinson is training her, not only physically and mentally but in skills like navigation with GPS and compass and survival knowledge.

She will also be taking part in several gruelling events starting with the Mucky Races in Bures on Sunday.

To sponsor Alex visit