Photo Credit: PSI for EEM.
(Hong Kong, February 13, 2017) – Asia’s most glamorous showjumping event, the last leg of the second season of the Longines Masters Series “Grand Slam of Indoor Show Jumping,” came to a thrilling climax in Hong Kong. The prestigious 3-day event, created and organized by EEM, took place Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 12 and combined heart-pounding competition between the world’s top show jumpers with stylish lifestyle and entertainment for equestrian sports enthusiasts of all ages.
“The 6-star series continues to grow from strength to strength with record-breaking attendance, and the final leg in Hong Kong is now firmly established as a major ‘must-go’ sporting and social event in Asia,” said Christophe Ameeuw, Founder and CEO of EEM.
Highlights of opening day were two exciting competitions presented by The Hong Kong Jockey Club, founding partner of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong and the EEM Trophy. New to this year’s lineup, the EEM Trophy was won by Spanish show jumper, Pilar Lucrecia Cordon, in the first class of the day, and Swiss rider Martin Fuchs jumped to victory in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy.
Also on Friday, February 10, was The HKJC Race of the Riders, which paired four Hong Kong jockeys – Joao ‘Magic’ Moreira, Neil Callan, Derek Leung and Vincent Ho – with star showjumpers in an entertaining team sprint relay competition. Cheered on by thousands of local fans, it proved to be an enthralling competition involving world-class riders from different disciplines working together. To the crowd’s delight, Hong Kong’s own Joao ‘Magic’ Moreira and French champion show jumper Roger Yves Bost clinched the trophy.
Day two of the competition on Saturday, February 11, was headlined by the world’s fastest class, the thrilling Longines Speed Challenge. This is the only speed competition of its kind in the world, designed to encourage top show jumpers to improve on their times from one continent to the next over an identical course in Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong.
The crowd was on the edge of their seats in the final round of this nail-biting competition ridden against the clock. In the end, German rider, Daniel Deusser and horse Happiness van T Paradijs triumphed, clocking a time of 67.01, just ahead of Pius Schwizer and Bertram Allen.
The excitement of the competition culminated on Sunday, February 12, as Christian Ahlmann on his horse ‘Caribis Z’ took top honors after a spectacular winning round in the Longines Grand Prix. He was joined on the podium by fellow German rider, Ludger Beerbaum on ‘Casello’ and 3rd place Austrian rider, Max Kühner on ‘Cornet Kalua’.
The technical, Olympic-level course, with twelve obstacles and fifteen challenging jumps up to 1.6 metres high with tough sequences and double and triple combinations, required horses that are perfectly trained and focused, and experienced riders avoiding the slightest error of judgement. With this Longines Grand Prix win, Christian Ahlmann is in the running for the Grand Slam bonus of 1 million Euros for consecutive wins if he triumphs in the Longines Grand Prix in Los Angeles and in Paris this year, in the third season of the Longines Masters.
Legendary “horse whisperer” Santi Serra and his team of performing horses mesmerized audiences throughout the event, with his daily “natural dressage” show, presented by Shanghai Tang. Choreographed especially for Hong Kong, the unique performance highlights the historical links between Chinese culture and horses, combining classic Chinese music with stunning costumes.
Throughout the three days, over 5,000 socialites and VIPs made an appearance at the Longines Masters Club, including Jackson Lai, Mr. Hong Kong 2016, Freeyon Chung, Mr. Hong Kong 2016 second runner up and Tiffany Lau, Miss Hong Kong first runner up. Over 25,000 equestrian sports fans, celebrities and Hong Kong high-society packed the arena for the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, which has become Asia’s equestrian social event of the year.
“I can safely say that this has been our best edition yet, capacity crowds have turned out to marvel at the skills of the world’s greatest show jumpers as well as to cheer on their own local, up-and- coming equestrian stars, also to enjoy the whole lifestyle elements of the event,” said Ameeuw. “Thanks to the support of our Title Partner Longines, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, founding partner and indeed all our partners, it’s been an incredible three days and we look forward to returning to Hong Kong again in 2018 with an even more spectacular show.”
After an amazing second season, in Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong, EEM is already preparing for the Longines Masters’ third season and looks forward to seeing everyone there!
Capturing some spectacular moments from the Longines Speed Challenge, this video highlights the best of the second season from Los Angeles through to Hong Kong: https://youtu.be/n5hFODavtHw.