Grégory Wathelet @EEM.
For four days, spectators were immersed in the excitement of the Longines Masters of Paris, one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions in the world. It was the not-to-miss sporting and glamorous event of the season: equestrian competition, shows, live concerts, artists’ exhibitions, gourmet meals and numerous French and international celebrities. Rich in emotion, the Longines Masters of Paris concluded in glory with the crowning event, the second step in the Grand Slam of Indoor Show Jumping, the Longines Grand Prix.
The Longines Masters of Paris “Grand Slam Indoor of Show Jumping,” the European stage of the Longines Masters series, closed its doors after four days of wonder, great sport and lifestyle with 171 riders – both professional and amateur – from 25 countries around the world.
The event began on Thursday, December 1, 2016, with a full day of exciting competition, after which the guests enjoyed an exceptional show by trainer Mario Luraschi, a soulful concert by American actor Gary Dourdan and a memorable opening gala. Guests also had the privilege of attending an unveiling of a new legendary competition, the Masters Riders Cup presented by EEM and the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), which will premiere at the 2017 Longines Masters of Paris.
This unprecedented competition will see the best American and European riders compete against each other. This duel of the two continents will showcase the top level of equestrian sport, expanding its popularity to that enjoyed by golf and tennis with the Ryder Cup and the Fed Cup. With the Masters Riders Cup, EEM and EEF begin the journey of a legendary competition.
Courage and skill defined the winners of Friday’s events, particularly in the world speed championship on three continents, The Longines Speed Challenge. This flagship event of the evening kept the international audience on the edge of their seats and electrified the energy in the stands. The very innovative course design of Maestro Uliano Vezzani, the designer of this second season, made the challenge even more exciting. This course, inaugurated in Los Angeles last September, features a unique and challenging enclosure of five jumps arranged in an octagon in the center of the arena. Kevin Staut emerged unscathed in the competition and was awarded the special Orlinski Trophy, designed by French artist Richard Orlinski, as well as a special Longines watch.
Saturday offered truly memorable moments for the huge crowds who came to enjoy the Longines Masters of Paris. The day saw the success of prestigious events such as the Masters Open, the Gold Cup in two heats, the extraordinary performance of blind rider Salim Ejnaini and the traditional Shetland Pony race.
That evening’s famous Pro-Am for Charity presented by Hyatt thrilled spectators through a combination of spectacle, sport, humor and generosity. Each team was made up of two costumed riders: one of the best in the world and an amateur among prominent figures in the world of showbiz, cinema and television. The combination of Camille Conde Ferreira as Snow White and Jerome Guery as her Prince were lightning fast around the course. They also accumulated huge points for style with their seven dwarves, winning for their charity Sauveteurs Sans Frontières or Rescuers without Borders.
The best of sport and emotion ruled the last day of the Longines Masters of Paris on Sunday, which featured three Grand Prix events: the SFAM Société Française d’Assurance Grand Prix won by the young Yasmina Bocti, the Land Rover Grand Prix won by Frenchman Guillaume Foutrier, and finally the flagship event of the four days, the Longines Grand Prix, the reigning event of the “Grand Slam Indoor.”
The challenge of this Olympic level event is to win consecutively the Longines Grand Prix of Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong in the same season, an intercontinental feat that allows riders to win the first ever Grand Slam Super Bonus of 2.25 million Euros. The German Daniel Deusser, candidate for this bonus after his brilliant victory in Los Angeles, did not repeat this feat even though it was within his reach. In the jump off the German was soon surpassed, earning third behind Grégory Wathelet in first place and Bertram Allen in second.
Christophe Ameeuw, CEO of EEM and founder of the Longines Masters, concluded: “These four days have been extraordinary. After the success of Los Angeles, we are proud of the success of this European stage in Paris, always very special for me and my team and feel great pride to have Longines as our partner by our side. We have welcomed the best international riders to what has become one of the most prestigious competitions in the world, which, as Roger-Yves Bost said at the launch press conference, is ‘measured by the riders’ impatience to come and compete in Paris.’ Thanks to all the riders, partners, exhibitors, artists and above all to the Parisian public, so magnificent that they should be on the winner’s podium. The atmosphere was exceptional and unique! I welcome you in the next two months to join the Asian stage in Hong Kong February 10 to 12, 2017. We Ride the World!”
Spectacular evening entertainment delighted spectators following each day’s competitions, extending the experience well into the night.
Now this prestigious series will continue on to its next stage of the journey in Hong Kong February 10 to 12, 2017 for the Asian edition in season two of the Longines Masters.
The Longines Masters of Paris is broadcast live and on replay, on TV and by live streaming at: www.longinesmasters.com.