Four years already! The Longines Masters of Hong Kong has become an unmissable event on the calendar for the world’s top showjumpers. Around thirty of the world best riders will be in Hong Kong to compete for this Asian leg of the Longines Masters Intercontinental Series. Legendary riders, medal-winning riders, riders at the peak of their powers and riders from different generations.
Let’s start with the legends, two outstanding riders who have been amazingly successful on the international circuit for three decades. Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum burst onto the international scene in 1988, winning a team gold medal with a horse The Freak, a last-minute replacement for his usual horse. 28 years on, the Kaiser is still one of the most successful riders on the circuit, always in the World Top 10 and the rider with the most Championship and Olympic medals: twenty in all! Not to mention his five podiums at World Cup finals. Among his victories are four Olympic golds including the individual medal in 1992. A medal-winning record that has still not been equalled.
The other legendary rider who will be at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong won his first Olympic medal 32 years ago in 1984. A team silver at the age of just 29 on a horse that itself is a legend in Great Britain: Ryan’s Son. This legendary British rider also has the gift of turning his horses into stars. Who today has not heard of the fabulous white Milton, two-time winner of the World Cup and European Champion in the early 1990s! The public in Hong Kong knows this rider well as he set the Longines Masters of Hong Kong alight last year with an historic triple that included a memorable victory in the Longines Grand Prix on Argento: none other than John Whitaker, of course! His list of victories is right up there with Ludger Beerbaum – 26 Championship podiums.
Alongside these great names in show jumping, the public in Hong Kong will also be able to see other circuit stars, including one of Hong Kong’s favourite, France’s Patrice Delaveau, the current World silver-medal holder. Delaveau won four of the six classes at the first Longines Masters of Hong Kong and was crowned “King of Hong Kong” by the local press! He’s back this year with the major challenge of the Longines Masters Series. Following his win in the Longines Grand Prix in Paris, a second consecutive victory could scoop him a bonus prize of €500,000 and put him in the running for the Masters Grand Slam Super Bonus of 1 million euros if he wins the American leg in Los Angeles in September.
Germany’s Marco Kutscher is also in the running for this challenge. Winner of the Longines Grand Prix in Los Angeles but unlucky in Paris, he could still land the €250,000 bonus for a second non-consecutive win.
We are not finished yet: there are more prestigious riders who will be competing in the Longines Masters arena in Hong Kong, including former European Champions, France’s Kevin Staut and Roger-Yves Bost, Germany’s Daniel Deusser, Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer, at the very peak of his powers after recently winning the World Cup Grand Prix leg in Zurich, the current World team champions the Netherlands’ Gerco Schröder and Maikel van der Vleuten and Simon Delestre, the World number 2 who just missed out on the number 1 spot by a few points.
It won’t be raining, but pouring champions at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, particularly when you add to the list the young Irish prodigy Bertram Allen, who at only 21 has already won some of the most important Grands Prix on the circuit – Dublin, Bordeaux, Paris – and accumulated no less than 31 international victories in 2015.
And leaving the best till last, the women, these talented riders who often upset the men’s rankings: alongside Switzerland’s Jane Richard Philips, the Longines Ambassador of Elegance, the public will also be able to cheer on Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza, who was in the British team at the European Championships in Aachen, and Laura Renwick, one of the fastest female riders in speed classes with no less than 87 international victories to her name in 2015, and 2 already in 2016, making her a serious contender for the Longines Speed Challenge!
In Hong Kong, the horses will be doing more than just jumping, the public will be able to see them competing in ball games too. Eight horses from the Chantilly Polo Club in France will be ridden by four players of different nationalities: France’s Brieuc Rigaux (six goaler), Australia’s Dirk Gould (six goaler), Great Britain’s Georges Meyrick (six goaler) and the Argentinean five goaler, Nico Curto will be competing in the first Longines Masters Arena Polo tournament: the Shanghai Tang Polo Cup. An event within an event – after an absence of over thirty years it signals the comeback of the oldest team sport in Hong Kong.
The Longines Masters is definitely making its mark on the history of equestrian sports in Hong Kong. With this deluge of stars, it promises to be an unforgettable event.
Complete list of riders:
Henrik Von Eckermann
Maikel Van Der Vleuten
Jane Richard Philips
Ana Julia Kontio
Source: Press release