A vibrant atmosphere greeted the opening event of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong. Daniel Deusser won the biggest class of the day, proving his great shape to compete for the Grand Slam. Actually, he is the rider pretending to the Indoor Grand Slam Super Bonus, since he won the Longines Grand Prix in Paris, and seems ready to do it again in Hong Kong this weekend.
After an entertaining day of competition, the main event of Day 1 of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong certainly didn’t disappoint, with Daniel Deusser of Germany riding to victory on his top star 15-year-old gray gelding Cornet D’Amour the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy. Presented by Founding Partner the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Masters One event was contested over 1.50m obstacles for a prize purse of US$84,000, with a first round featuring a field of 22 whittled down to a final 10 for a jump-off over a shorter course. Deusser not only went clear in both rounds, but also set the fastest times in both, clocking 71.85 seconds first time out, and then 38.73 seconds to take the jump-off by a margin of more than two seconds. He was characteristically modest about his victory. “To be honest I was a little bit lucky to be fastest in the first round today,” he said. “And my jump-off wasn’t that smooth either, but the horse was really good today.” He finished ahead of second-placed Jérôme Guery of Belgium on Garfield de Tijides Templiers, and third-placed Robert Smith. Deusser particularly loves competing in Hong Kong, having racked up an incredible four victories out of six in the inaugural 2013 event.
The Masters One AsiaWorld-Expo, with excited crowds filling the stands at AsiaWorld-Expo, in anticipation of competition finally getting under way at 3pm. And the action on the course was equally thrilling, with Emanuele Gaudiano of Italy eventually riding to victory on board Einstein in the Table A competition, clocking a time of 61.55 seconds. “Einstein has no experience of 5* events”, said Gaudiano of his highly-committed performance on the nine-year-old gray gelding. “For him it’s difficult to win the other classes, so I really pushed him in this one. This is the fourth year for me here in Hong Kong – I really enjoy this show, and I really hope I can ride in New York too.” Coming in second in the event from a total field of 19 competitors was early leader Jane Richard Philips of Switzerland on Izmir van de Baeyenne, while third place was claimed by the Netherlands’ Gerco Schröder on Glock’s Debalia.
There was a home win for Hong Kong in the second event of the first day of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, when Team Dash, consisting of Clarissa Lyra and VincentHo, came home first in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Race of the Riders. “When I was young I dreamed of being a showjumper, so to have an opportunity to take part in this kind of 5* event is a dream come true,” says Ho. “And to win tonight: I just love it. For Hong Kong, it’s just great.” The competition brought together two much-loved equestrian sports, combining the speed-filled world of Hong Kong’s favourite sport, horse racing, with the subtler skills of control shown in the showjumping arena. The competition,presented by Longines Masters of Hong Kong Founding Partner Hong Kong Jockey Club, paired four leading Hong Kong jockeys with star showjumpers in a gripping team sprint relay over a showjumping course. Contested over seven 0.70m obstacles for the jockeys and seven 1.2m obstacles for the riders, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Race of the Riders was all about entertainment, and it certainly engaged the crowd with a gripping display of jumping against the clock. But while the race might have been an interlude of light-hearted fun for the audience, the competitors were still deadly serious in their desire to come home victorious in the class.
Source: Press Release by Agence R&B Presse for EEM / Longines Masters of Hong Kong
Photo: © EEM / Christophe Tanière