Category Archives: Competitions

Beezie Bags It for USA, but British Girls Are Brilliant

(L to R) Team USA’s Margie Goldstein-Engle, Laura Kraut, Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, Beezie Madden, and Jessica Springsteen. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

The 2020 series got off to a galloping start with a home victory for Team USA in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of United States of America at Deeridge Farm in Wellington, Florida (USA). But despite fielding a crack four-member side, the hosts were pushed to a third-round jump-off by a relatively rookie British team that consisted of just three riders.

And making competition all the more exceptional was the fact that, in this sport in which men outnumber women by a considerable margin at top level, it came down to a clash between two all-female teams, with America’s Beezie Madden pipping Britain’s Alexandra Thornton in the third-round tie-breaker.

“The British girls were excellent!” said double Olympic gold medallist Madden who piled on the pressure with a brilliant first-to go run with Darry Lou in the jump-off.

There were eight teams in action but only USA, Mexico, and Canada were chasing down qualifying points in the North and Central America and Caribbean League series from which two of those three countries will qualify for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 Final in Barcelona, Spain next October. The American winners claimed the maximum 100 points while Mexico collected 80 when lining up third and Canada picked up 60 points when finishing fourth in a competition filled with plenty of excitement.

The open water was the source of the greatest drama, Israel’s Ashlee Bond having to call it a day with Donatello in the second round when the nine-year-old gelding refused to have anything to do with it after giving himself a fright first time out. And Brazilian pathfinder, Cassio Rivetti, took a real soaking there when his 13-year-old mare, Bacara d’Archonfosse, dumped him in it at their second attempt.

Meanwhile, there were impressive firsts for both Canadian 17-year-old Sam Walker (Kelstar du Vingt Ponts) and 22-year-old Israeli rider Teddy Vlock (Volnay du Boisdeville) who collected just four faults in each round on their Nations Cups debut. Israel and Ireland finished joint-fifth while Australia and Brazil shared seventh place at the end of a very eventful afternoon.

Team Ireland, series champions in 2019, shared the lead with Great Britain on just four faults at the end of the first round, but the addition of 16 faults second time out put paid to Irish chances. In contrast, despite having no discard score, the British added just four more when anchor rider Amanda Derbyshire (Cornwall BH), who had been fault-free first time out, lowered the bogey second fence after team-mates Thornton (Cornetto K) and Emily Moffit (Winning Good) both kept a clean sheet.

Now with a total of eight they found themselves on level pegging with the multi-medalled Americans who recovered from single errors for three of their four team-members at their first attempt to squeaky clean runs from Jessica Springsteen (RMF Zecilie), Margie Goldstein-Engle (Royce), and Laura Kraut (Confu) next time out which meant Madden’s services were not required in round two. And Goldstein-Engle was at her gutsy best, returning to battle despite an unscheduled dismount when her big stallion spooked after going through the finish in the opening round.

Madden set the pace against the clock with a great run from the 12-year-old Darry Lou who broke the beam in 33.11 seconds.

“He does love to gallop! He’s actually really super to ride; he’s not delicate so you can wind him up a bit and let him off and he rises to the occasion – he’s a lot of fun to ride!” — Beezie Madden (USA)

Thornton and the experienced 14-year-old Cornetto K also put in a perfect run, but crossing the line 36.34 seconds they were well short of Madden’s winning time.  However, British showjumping got a big boost, Di Lampard putting her faith in three US-based riders – 27-year-old Thornton, 21-year-old Moffit, and 31-year-old Derbyshire – who didn’t let her down and finished runners-up behind a superstar American selection.

In the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when riders are looking to impress, there was plenty to see at this opening leg of the 111th Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ season during which this much-loved series will visit 11 top venues around the world en route to the annual decider in eight months’ time.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Tokyo 2020 Team and Individual Quota Places Confirmed by FEI

Following concerns raised about FEI Jumping Events in France and Syria where Olympic and Longines Ranking points were on offer, the FEI has investigated events at both Villeneuve-Loubet (FRA) and Damascus (SYR).

The investigation into the three events at Villeneuve-Loubet in December 2019 has established that, contrary to the FEI Rules (Article 110.2.3 of the FEI General Regulations), two competitions counting for the Olympic and Longines Rankings were added at each event after the respective Definite Entries deadlines. The updated Schedules for these three events were submitted to the FEI by the French National Federation and were mistakenly approved by the FEI.

As a result, and in accordance with Article 112.3 of the FEI General Regulations, the FEI has retrospectively removed these additional competitions, meaning that athletes who participated will lose their ranking points from these competitions. The Olympic and Longines Rankings have been updated accordingly.

Additionally, the FEI has established that three of the six events at Villeneuve-Loubet in January 2020 also had two classes counting for Longines Rankings points added after the Definite Entries deadline, again contrary to the FEI Rules. As a result, these additional competitions have been removed and athletes that participated will lose their ranking points for these competitions.

The FEI also reviewed the events that took place in Damascus (SYR) between October and December 2019, and while it was clearly established that there was no breach of FEI Rules and Regulations regarding FEI Calendar entries, the event Schedules or the number of events run, the investigation revealed an irregularity with the prize money at three of the events.

The events held in Damascus on 24-27 October 2019, 31 October to 3 November 2019, and 13-17 November 2019 had total prize money that exceeded the limit for a CSI2* and the Schedules for these events were erroneously approved by the FEI. As a result, the FEI has removed one FEI competition at each of these events in order to bring the total prize money within the specified limit, but this has no impact on the Olympic Ranking for Olympic Group F.

The FEI has also reallocated one of the two Jumping team quota slots from the Olympic Jumping Qualifier for Group F in Rabat (MAR) in October 2019, following adverse analytical findings in two members of the Qatari team, Sheikh Ali Al Thani and Bassem Mohammed. Both athletes tested positive for Carboxy-THC, a metabolite of Cannabis, which is a prohibited substance under the FEI’s Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes (ADRHA).

The FEI Tribunal issued a partial decision regarding the disqualification of the individual results of the two Qatari athletes on 15 February 2020. As a result, Qatar loses its team quota place for Tokyo and this has been reallocated by the FEI to Morocco.

The FEI has now confirmed the team and individual quota places across the three disciplines of Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with three nations – Luxembourg (Dressage individual), Pakistan (Eventing individual), and Israel (Jumping team) – qualifying for the Olympic Games for the first time. The new formats have opened the door for more nations to compete at the Games, with Jumping going up from 27 in Rio to 35 in Tokyo, Dressage increasing from 25 to 30, and Eventing rising from 24 to 30. In total, the number of flags has risen from 43 in Rio to 48 in Tokyo.

Latvia’s individual quota slot for Jumping would mean a first Games start after a 32-year absence, having last competed in Seoul 1988. The Czech Republic and Hong Kong, which have both qualified for an individual place in Eventing, are planning to return to the Games for the first time since Beijing 2008.

The deadline to achieve the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) is 1 June, after which the FEI will confirm approval of the FEI Certificates of Capability to the National Federations. The final athlete/horse combinations for the three disciplines will be announced on 6 July 2020.

The Olympic equestrian events get underway the day after the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo on 24 July. Dressage will be the first discipline to hold its competitions (July 25-29), followed by Eventing (31 July to 3 August) and then Jumping (4-8 August). The competitions will take place at the Bajikoen Equestrian Park and the Sea Forest Cross Country venue.

FEI contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

Charleston Summer Classic Cancelled for 2020

The Charleston Summer Classic has been the flagship show of the Classic Company for the past twenty-seven years. “It is with great sadness that I am announcing that the Charleston Summer Classic will not be running in 2020. Due to a combination of challenges, we have decided to take a break this year, a vacation from the ‘show-cation’ if you will,” commented Classic Company President, Bob Bell. “The future of this Heritage Competition will be made in September,” added Bell.

The historic silver and crystal trophies will be moved to the Aiken Summer Classic in June. “We certainly hope that our cancellation of the 2020 show will not greatly inconvenience anyone,” he said.

ClassicCompany.com
GulfCoastClassicCompany.com
Phone/Fax: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

Olympic Year Adds Extra Zest as Wellington Opens Exciting New Season

Rodrigo Pessoa holds the trophy aloft as Team Ireland celebrate victory in Barcelona (ESP). (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

There’s nothing quite like an Olympic year for raising hopes and dreams, and as the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 series kicks off there are plenty of horse-and-rider combinations looking to impress over the coming weeks and months with a view to making that trip to Tokyo. Talent-spotting will be the order of the day for team managers and selectors throughout the early part of the new season, which will take in prestigious events in the Middle East and across Europe as well as North America.

Deeridge Farm in Wellington, Florida (USA) is again the venue for the show-opener of the 11-leg 5-Star series, and hosts the first of the three qualifiers in the North/Central America and Caribbean League Sunday, 16 February. The action then moves to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the single qualifier for the Middle East region later this month. Just two countries from each of these leagues will qualify for the annual Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain in October.

May is going to be hectic, beginning with round two of the America/Caribbean series, at Coapexpan in Mexico, followed by the first leg of Europe Division 1 at La Baule, France followed swiftly by the second leg at St Gallen in Switzerland a week later. And then it’s back across the pond again, this time to Langley in Canada where the last leg of the North/Central America and Caribbean series will take place as the month draws to a close.

From there the Europe Division 1 teams will continue to battle it out for a place amongst the seven nations from this series that will make the cut to the Final. They will visit Sopot (POL) and Rotterdam (NED) in June and Falsterbo (SWE), Dublin (IRL) and Hickstead (GBR) in July, finishing at the British fixture the day before the equestrian events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games begin. The 10 nations competing in Europe Division 1 this season are Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Ireland won the edge-of-the-seat 2019 Final, and the celebrations were noisy because this result also gave them the hotly-contested last team qualifying spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. And although only Canada, Mexico, and USA can chase down the early-season points in Wellington, the Irish will be out in force again.

There is a super-strong field of runners, with a total of eight teams including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, and the USA going in to battle. Big names in the mix include the man who led that Irish team to victory, 1998 World Champion and 2004 Olympic champion Rodrigo Pessoa, who has now returned to the saddle to fly the Brazilian flag once again, and two of his Barcelona-winning team-members, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Paul O’Shea.

Rowan Willis, who produced a superb performance from his mare Blue Movie to finish individually 12th at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA, will be on the Australian team, while the seven-strong Canadian contingent includes 2008 Olympic champion Eric Lamaze.

Great Britain fields an all-female side that includes Amanda Derbyshire and Emily Moffitt, and Team Israel has listed brothers Daniel and Steven Bluman in its squad. The US selection is filled with super-stars including the multi-medalled Laura Kraut and Beezie Madden, but the ones they may all have to fear are last year’s winners, Team Mexico. Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane is the only member of that victorious side listed again this year, but the passion with which this country’s riders compete makes them a serious force to be reckoned with, so this opening leg looks set to be a cracker.

Check it out here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Guerdat Raises the Roof with Brilliant Win in Bordeaux

Steve Guerdat with Victorio des Frotard. (FEI/Richard Julliart)

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat left spectators aghast with his brilliant victory in the 13th leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League at Bordeaux in France.

Riding the fiery chestnut gelding Victorio des Frotard, with which he also posted a superb win in Basel (SUI) as the New Year began, he produced a full-on fearless round in the nine-horse jump-off and couldn’t be caught, despite the best efforts of German runners-up Daniel Deusser and Jasmien v. Bisschop and third-placed Belgian Niels Bruynseels with Ilusionata van’t Meulenhof.

The man who held the World No. 1 spot throughout all of 2019, and who reclaimed it this month after compatriot Martin Fuchs snatched it from his grasp in January, can hardly do wrong right now. Everything came up beautifully for the Swiss star and for the brave Victorio whose confidence seems to be growing with every outing. The horse’s gallop down to the final fence was nothing short of breathtaking, and Victorio is turning out to be quite some find for the London 2012 Olympic Games and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion.

“He’s like a thoroughbred when you see him trotting around – you don’t expect much – but in canter as soon as you let him go, he has a huge stride! He’s feeling really good now, and this gives me the confidence to push and attack the fences even more,” he said of the horse who he has been riding since the middle of last year.

There were 10 French contenders amongst the 38 starters to take on Jean-Francois Morand’s 14-fence first-round track, but only one of the home runners, Rio 2016 Olympic team gold medallist and 2013 individual European champion Roger Yves Bost, jumped clear to make the cut into the second-round race against the clock. And the home crowd went wild when, second to go, he set the early jump-off target with another brilliant performance from his faithful 14-year-old mare Sangria du Coty, who broke the beam in 32.96 seconds.

Two horses later, Portugal’s Luciana Diniz decided to play the percentage game with a beautifully executed but careful clear from the powerful 13-year-old stallion Chacco Blue ll in 39.08 seconds. But, sixth into the ring, Stuttgart winner Pieter Devos went out in front with a great run from Apart in 32.23 seconds and now the Belgian rider’s time was the one to beat.

Guerdat did it easily, Victorio answering every call on every turn and jumping like a cat over the double at the halfway stage of the track. And when the Swiss pair landed over the penultimate vertical and Guerdat asked for acceleration, he got everything he asked for and more. The clock showed 30.82 seconds as they cleared the line, and that really put it up to the last two into the ring.

Deusser wasn’t intimidated and slotted into runner-up spot when breaking the beam with his 11-year-old grey mare Jasmien in 31.59, and then Bruynseels was last to try to nudge Guerdat out of pole position. But despite a great run from his 12-year-old chestnut mare, who looked ready to gallop from the second she came into the ring, their time of 31.71 would only be good enough for third place on a night of truly quality sport.

Talking about Ilusionata, Bruynseels said, “I have her a year and it took time to get to know her. She has a lot of blood and she’s a very special character! Her previous rider told me that he never warmed her up at shows. I tried at the first show where we competed but after two minutes I had to get off! At home she is great to work but at shows she is completely different. Here in Bordeaux is great because we can lunge and ride back at the stables. I only get on her one or two riders before my turn,” he explained.

Deusser confirmed that he is planning to bring Jasmien to the Longines 2020 Final in Las Vegas, USA in April. He’s well-qualified, lying fifth on the Western European League table after his impressive performance. Guerdat still intends to bring Venard de Cerisy to the Final despite all the good results he has had recently with Victorio. “I want to stick with my original plan,” said the man who is bidding to become the first-ever rider to win four World Cup titles.

He won the 2019 Final with Alamo, but last month the horse returned to his Mexican owner and will in future compete with Gerardo Pasquel Mendez in the saddle. Talking about the horse,he started competing in the autumn of 2017, Guerdat said, “Alamo had a big place in our team and was part of our family, but from the beginning I knew he would go back to Gerardo. He was supposed to leave us a year ago, so we got an extra year and that was great. It’s hard to separate from him but I’m happy that I know where he is and I know his groom and rider, that always makes it a little bit easier – but we do miss him!”

The defending champion won’t be lining out in the 14th and last leg of the Western European League in Gothenburg, Sweden in two weeks’ time, but the pressure there will still be immense, with those last elusive qualifying points up for grabs and a lot of hungry riders chasing them down.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

No Jump-Off, No Problem for Salvador Onate in Leon

Salvador Onate and Beautiful Red. (FEI/Rodrigo Ceceña)

Salvador Onate (MEX) did what no one else could in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Leon (MEX). He secured a victory aboard Beautiful Red with a single time fault, as no other rider could leave all of the jumps up over Anderson Lima’s (BRA) challenging track.

No jump-off was needed to determine a winner. Onate and his mount finished on a first-round score of 1 and a time of 83.88 seconds, less than a second over the 83-second time allowed. Arturo Parada Vallejo (MEX) was the fastest rider on the day, finishing second with 4 faults in 78.72 seconds. Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) finished third with Just Nice van het Indihoff; that duo also had a 4-fault score, but their time was slightly slower (79.40 seconds).

“As soon as I walked the course, I knew there would only be maybe one or two clear rounds. In the ring, I knew I had to take my time and that it would be better for me to take my time and maybe have a time fault, and I had to gamble a bit with that.” — Salvador Onate (MEX)

“There were some pretty amazing riders [behind me], and I thought there would be at least one clear,” he added. “It all worked out in the end.”

Onate had nothing but praise for his mount, who has stepped up while his top horse Big Red is en route to Europe to make a bid for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo (JPN).

“She just rose to the challenge,” he explained. “It was a pretty tough course — very technical. She just jumped her heart out. She did amazing.”

The win held special meaning for Onate, as he both owns and resides on the Leon venue property. A year ago, Onate finished second with Big Red in the same event.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “To win a World Cup anywhere, let alone in my hometown — it’s just amazing. I can’t explain how much it means.”

The 2019/2020 North American League hosts its final qualifying event on the east coast in Ocala (USA) on 8 March 2020.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Sydney Collier Earns Reserve Champion Title at AGDF CPEDI3*

Sydney Collier and All In One. Photo by Jump Media.

Wellington, FL – U.S. Paralympic rider Sydney Collier and her mount All In One, owned by Going for Gold LLC, collected top placings during the CPEDI3* held at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival on January 22-26 in Wellington, FL.

Collier made her way on the podium three times, opening with a second-place score of 70.298% in the CPEDI3* Team Test Grade I, before again finishing second on a 73.631% in the CPEDI3* Individual Champ Grade I the following day. She and All In One closed out a spectacular week with a personal best score of 77.80% in their “Kung Fu Panda”-themed CPEDI3* Freestyle Grade I.

“We stepped in the ring and made every moment count. It brought the biggest smile to my face,” said Collier of her performances with All In One throughout the week. Together, they claimed reserve champion honors for the show.

“He’s the horse of a lifetime and every moment I get to spend riding him is the best time of my life,” continued Collier of All In One, or “Alle”, purchased for her in July by top U.S. show jumper Georgina Bloomberg. “I want to thank Georgina for bringing us together and cheering us on as we work towards Tokyo 2020. Also, to my trainer Katie [Robicheaux], a million thank yous for putting our heads, hearts, and hooves in the right direction.”

Bloomberg purchased All In One for Collier to help the determined rider realize a goal to be selected for the U.S. team at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Collier, 21, has represented the United States at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Caen, France and the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, where she finished seventh individually riding Western Rose. In 2014, she won the Against All Odds award from the FEI.

“On my pathway towards Tokyo, I remain dedicated to my goal of winning a team gold medal for America,” said Collier. “Bringing this medal back for the USA would proudly represent every person who has stood behind the three horses and riders on their way to the podium. From the farriers, veterinarians, grooms, sponsors, support staff, and our Federation, the teams that stand behind each horse and rider are the dedicated individuals who make success possible for our country at the games.”

“I could not be prouder to be a part of this journey, as well as be Sydney and All In One’s number-one fan,” said Bloomberg. “There’s no one who loves representing the United States more than Sydney. To see them one step closer to riding for their country at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with such a fantastic performance in Wellington is very exciting.”

“Sydney, ‘Alle’, and I started working together three and half weeks ago,” said trainer Robicheaux of their new partnership heading into CPEDI competition in Wellington. “We had an instant connection! Sydney’s hard work and attention to detail is inspirational. There was a lot at stake for them at this competition and I was extremely proud of how they handled the pressure.”

Collier rides at the Grade I para-equestrian dressage level, in which the tests are performed at the walk only. She began riding as able-bodied at the age of seven, but switched to para-equestrian at age 11 after being diagnosed with the rare Wyburn Mason Syndrome. The congenital birth defect caused tumors and a massive stroke. A brain surgery also left her with limited use of the left side of her body, completely blind in her right eye, and three-quarters blind in her left eye.

Out of the tack, Collier is combining her riding career with pursuing a degree in communications online through DeVry University. She was awarded a full scholarship through the Athlete Career Education program of the United States Olympic Committee.

For more information on Sydney Collier, visit www.sydsparaquest.com.

For more information on Georgina Bloomberg, visit www.georginabloomberg.com.

Longines Masters of Hong Kong Cancelled

Originally taking place on 14-16 February at the AsiaWorld-Expo, EEM, the founder, owner and organiser of the event, announced that Longines Masters of Hong Kong will not take place. This decision is a precautionary measure following the recent developments in the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak which is currently affecting the city of Hong Kong, Mainland China, and across the APAC region.

“With more than 35,000 people expected from Hong Kong, Asia, and around the world, the safety of our audience, athletes, visitors, exhibitors, service providers, internal teams, as well as that of the horses taking part in the events of the Longines Masters Series, is an absolute priority,” says Christophe Ameeuw, Founder and President of EEM. “Considering the uncertainty surrounding the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus outbreak, and in order to guarantee the welfare of our guests, partners, and stakeholders, it is without hesitation that we decided not to hold the event from 14-16 February 2020. Our loyal partners, which include Longines, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation, DBS Bank, Hong Kong International Airport, AsiaWorld-Expo, the Hong Kong Tourism Office, and TVB Pearl, who have already been informed, showed their understanding and support.”

The riders involved of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong will be contacted individually by EEM in the coming days. Members of the public who have already booked tickets will be reimbursed. Ticket holders can contact Cityline’s customer service hotline at (852) 2314 4228 (Monday through Friday from 10am to 8pm) or visit www.cityline.com. For other enquiries and further information, please call (852) 5984 9936 (office hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 7pm).

The Longines Masters Series is an intercontinental series of prestigious show jumping competitions, recognised by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). For the past five seasons, the Longines Masters Series included the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, the established Asian leg of the series. Elite riders and horses around the world take part in this Series.

Asia Horse Week Also Cancelled

The third edition of Asia Horse Week, scheduled for 13-16 February at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong, will not take place. This decision is a result of precautionary measures, in view of the recent developments in the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus outbreak.

“The safety of our delegates, partners, stakeholders, as well as the welfare of the horses from Hong Kong, Asia, and around the world is an absolute priority,” said Raphaël le Masne de Chermont, the Chairman of Asia Horse Week. “With the uncertainty surrounding the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus outbreak, it is without hesitation that we decided not to hold the event from 13-16 February 2020. Our loyal partners, which include the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Longines Masters Series, the International Equestrian Federation, the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation, AsiaWorld-Expo, the Hong Kong Tourism Office, and the Wall Street Journal, who have already been informed, showed their understanding and support.”

Delegates who have already booked tickets will be reimbursed. Ticket holders can contact Cityline’s customer service hotline at (852) 2314 4228 (Monday through Friday from 10am to 8pm) or visit www.cityline.com. For other enquiries and further information, please call (852) 5984 9936 (office hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 7pm).

The first edition of the Asian Arabian Horse Show, which was to be held as part of Asia Horse Week, is also cancelled.

Launched by EEM in 2018 as an initiative of the Longines Masters Series (Hong Kong, Lausanne, Paris), Asia Horse Week has been designed to bring together key leaders and stakeholders of the global equestrian industry. Its aim is to offer the unique development opportunities in Asia, which offers great potential for the growth of equestrian sports. In 2019, the Asia Horse Week and its conferences had attracted thousands of guests, professionals, experts, riders, owners, and key players in international equine industry.

Daniel Koroloff
daniel@blizko-communication.com

Bonus Season Launches with the Longines Masters of Hong Kong

The eighth edition of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, from February 14 to 16, 2020 at the AsiaWorld Expo in Hong Kong, will launch Season V of the Longines Masters Series, a series which, this year, will include events in Hong Kong, Lausanne, and Paris. The bonuses, which are a signature feature of the Longines Masters Series, in addition to the prize pools offered for each individual event, are a significant source of motivation for the best riders in the world.

Season V of the Longines Masters Series, the first single calendar year season (the previous seasons ran over two calendar years) of the series launched by EEM and Longines, the Title Partner and Official Timekeeper of the Longines Masters Series, will be launched in Hong Kong on February 14. It will then go to Lausanne, from June 18 to 21, and end in Paris, from December 3 to 6.

. A 50,000 Euro bonus, the Longines Speed Challenge Bonus, is being offered to the fastest rider of the Longines Speed Challenge Series’ season (the top three best results from Hong Kong, Lausanne, and Paris’ Longines Masters will be taken into account for the end-of-season ranking).

. Each Masters Power event promises 10,000 Euros to the riders for each of their clear rounds above 2.05 meters (i.e. 2.06 meters). The 10,000 Euros is to be shared between all riders that clear more than 2.05m.

. A 2.25 million Euro super bonus, the Longines Masters Series Super Bonus, will go to the rider that manages to win the three Longines Grand Prix stages of the series in the following order: Hong Kong, Lausanne, and Paris. A 1 million Euro bonus, the Longines Masters Series Bonus, awaits anyone who achieves three consecutive victories in these Grand Prix’s (regardless of the city in which he or she wins for the first time; the 1 million Euro bonus therefore logically takes into account the results straddling two seasons).

Bonuses: A Flashback

. Launched last year, the Longines Speed Challenge Bonus was won for the first time by Italian rider, Emanuele Gaudiano.

. Launched at the 2017 Longines Masters of Paris, the Masters Power Bonus was won by Emanuele Gaudiano at the 2019 Longines Masters of New York, and by the British rider Laura Renwick, at the 2019 Longines Masters of Lausanne. Last December in Paris, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs, and Egypt’s Nayel Nassar reached the honorable height of 1.97m, 9 enormous centimeters’ away from the bonus.

. In four seasons, the Longines Masters Series Bonus and Super Bonus have never been won. Maybe they’ll be won in 2020, for Season V?

Daniel Koroloff
daniel@blizko-communication.com

Houtzager Is the Hero as Dutch Dominate Amsterdam

Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Dante. (FEI/DigiShots)

On an afternoon of Dutch delight, Marc Houtzager and the amazing mare Sterrehof’s Dante threw down an extraordinary performance to snatch victory in the twelfth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League series on home ground in Amsterdam (NED).

It was at the expense of compatriot Harrie Smolders who, third to go in the nine-horse jump-off, looked to have set an unbeatable target-time when breaking the beam in 35.03 seconds with the 11-year-old gelding Monaco. But, second-last into the ring, Houtzager’s 12-year-old mare seemed to have grown wings as she flew around the course to shave almost a full second off that when crossing the line in 34.05 seconds. Belgian riders Pieter Clemens and Niels Bruynseels lined up third and fourth.

“I never rode such a fast jump-off at this level in my life! The mare was fantastic today!” — Marc Houtzager (NED)

There were four home-side contenders in the second-round decider and Jeroen Dubbeldam, Sydney 2000 Olympic individual gold medallist and holder of double World and European titles, kicked off with a careful clear in 40.12 seconds with Oak Grove’s Carlyle. Clemens shaved almost five full seconds off that, however, finishing with a flyer over the last with the 11-year-old Quintini when next to go.

Then Smolders reset the target with a superb round in 35.03, and it looked like he wasn’t going to be shaken from the top of the tree until Houtzager took his turn. Foot to the floor from the outset, Houtzager’s line to the double, three fences from home, saw him up on the clock and the mare’s relentless gallop over the penultimate oxer and down the long run to the last saw them race through the finish in an incredible 34.05 seconds. Not even the super-fast last-to-go Belgian partnership of Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze could challenge that, crossing the line in 35.33.

“Sometimes the jump-off goes as you planned and sometimes not, but today was my day!” Houtzager added. “I saw Harrie and Maikel go, so I knew I had to give everything and it was a bit of a risk taking that turn into the double, but my mare jumped fantastic and she’s really careful, so I didn’t have to worry – to win by one second, that’s a lot! And Harrie said if somebody has to beat me today, I hope it’s you – and it was!” said Houtzager, team silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games and a linchpin of the Dutch Jumping team for many years.

Smolders said the competition was exceptional and praised course designer Louis Konickx for his great work throughout the week at Jumping Amsterdam. “The course was brilliant, and the biggest thing of this afternoon was to see the crowd enjoying themselves and to feel the atmosphere – it brings us to another level. Our horses are doing things we didn’t even know they could do; that’s what makes this sport and this event amazing!” he said.

Talking about his winning ride, Sterrehof’s Dante, Houtzager explained that his wife, Austrian international Julia Houtzager-Kayser, competed the mare at 2-Star level before he took over the ride a year ago. “And she has stepped up to 5-Star level so easily,” he said. “We’ve taken her slowly, but I knew that today was the day I could take a risk with her. She’s so fast, even in the air; she’s always going forward and she gallops so fast!” he said.

Although this result has boosted the Dutchman to eighth place on the Western European League table, he doesn’t intend taking Sterrehof’s Dante to the Longines 2020 Final in Las Vegas in April. “Tokyo (2020 Olympic Games) is an option for her along with Calimero, so we won’t do the Final this time around,” Houtzager explained.

His third-place finish means Belgium’s Clemens has now boosted his points tally and, lying 23rd on the Western European League table with a total of 30 points, he’s not far outside the top-18 who will make the cut. “For me it would be a dream to ride at the World Cup Final, so tomorrow I will sit down and make a plan because there are two more qualifiers left, so we will see,” he said.

He won’t be the only one eagerly chasing down those longed-for points in Bordeaux (FRA) on 8 February and at the last leg in Gothenburg (SWE) on 23 February.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

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