Fierce action on horseback gets the spotlight once again after the opening European leg of the Longines Masters Series in Paris, when all eyes turn to Hong Kong for the middle and Asian leg of the new season, slated to open February 15 – 17 at AsiaWorld-Expo, where the world’s best riders vie for some of the most coveted titles in the sport. The new edition of the Hong Kong competition is off to a good start with the seven-straight “M” Mark awarded by the Major Sports Events Committee, a sure sign of success for this year’s program. The “M” Mark symbolises intense spectacular and signature event in the city’s sports calendar that helps enhance the image of Hong Kong as Asia’s sports event capital. The Longines Masters of Hong Kong is proud to receive the accolade for the 7th consecutive year.
Enjoy The Ride!
On Friday February 15, the AsiaWorld-Expo Trophy opens the show at noon and the electric thrill continues to grow in anticipation of the HKJC Race of the Riders. Four teams comprising of local horse racing heroes who team up with international showjumpers in a relay-style competition over fences. The teams include Team Rattan (Chad Schofield and Raena Leung), Team Treasure (Keith Yeung and Olivier Philippaerts), Team Fantastic (Neil Callan and Simon Delestre) and Team HKJC (Vincent Ho and Jacqueline Lai). The show will then continue and intensify with founding partners the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy, a two-round competition with fences set at a height of 1.50m. The new Hong Kong Jockey Club Asian Challenge will reward the top three performing Asian riders with a prize money of HK$250,000. Participants include Jacqueline Lai (Hong Kong), Raena Leung (Hong Kong), Ella Wang (China), Zhang Xingjia (China), Zhang You (China), Wong I-sheau (Taiwan), Hikari Yoshizawa (Japan) and Kwon Manjun (South Korea).
Emerging in this great fanfare is Jacqueline Lai, Hong Kong’s representative at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian GamesTM. She is one of the city’s most prominent flagbearers of the sport who finished 4th in 2017 CSI Grand Prix in Eschweiler, Germany. Raena Leung, on the other hand, has her share in the international ring, with the 2016 CSIO5* Jumping Competition championship and an overall 4th place in 2015 Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping China League in hand.
On Saturday February 16, the air will be equally electric at the spectacular Masters Power Maserati Trophy as the audience holds its breath to see riders charging through a series of vertical obstacles one higher than the other in the ‘high Jump’ event. Last year, Michael Whitaker aboard Valentin R soared high to take the trophy home with him, with the bar eventually raised to 1.90m—are there any challengers up for it who can jump higher for the 2.0m+ bonus prize?
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Asian Junior Challenge pitches hopeful young show jumpers in the international ring as part of the partnership effort between EEM, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation to nurture equestrian sports in the region. This new competition will give local fans a chance to see 6 top Asian riders under 18 competing together including Edgar Fung, Hong Kong’s representative at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, and Vincent Capol, winner of the Jumping Horse of the Year Award and the Junior Rider of the Year Award in 2017/18.
In the evening, the arena will present another world-class display of horsemanship with the much-awaited ‘Longines Speed Challenge’, the “fastest class in the world” which the audience is always looking forward to, where riders and their mounts will have their speed, agility and partnership put to the test over a 1.45m course. This year in Longines Masters of Paris, Kevin Staut of France aboard Ayade de Septon HDC clocked a 62.29’ to prove himself a worthy champion. Will Staut come off a capable stayer in his campaign for the overall title of fastest rider in the world?
Sunday February 17 morning will see the 2ndround of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Asian Junior Grand Prix, a two-round competition with jump heights raised from 1.00m to 1.10m. A dramatic face-off between the best 5* riders while the DBS Trophy showcases a unique combination of strength and speed on a tricky course at noon, before the grand finale: the Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong, the great classic of show jumping events, with Olympic heights of 1.60m and to which our Title Partner Longines lends its name. It is the ultimate test of technicality, sporting performance, agility and bravery and requires perfect harmony between the rider and mount.
Elite Riders Fly to Victory
Leading the charge into the Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong, alongside a scintillating roster of Olympians, World Champions, and those who have conquered the major international equestrian events, is Edwina Tops-Alexander on board California. The Australian high-flyer stormed to victory in the European leg in Paris, setting the pace of this season with the prospect of bagging the €2,250,000 Super Grand Slam bonus reserved for the rider who wins all three legs of the Longines Grand Prix (Paris, Hong Kong and New York) in one single season. Renowned champion horse rider Simon Delestre and Pius Schwizer will be flying over to compete for the prizes in Hong Kong. Competition is set to be strong; will both of them take glory in Hong Kong?
Feel The Vibe!
There is as much happening in the Prestige Village as in the Main Arena. Over the 3 days, revellers are in for a glitzy showcase of luxury lifestyle, one-of-a-kind artwork, delectable cuisine and more, carefully curated by a stellar cast of exhibitors, including the likes of Swiss watchmaker Longines, prestigious saddler Hermès Sellier, luxury car manufacturer Maserati, and exclusive art gallery partner Macey & Sons, alongside a myriad of entertainment and after-parties with live performances and bubbling atmosphere that play on late into the night.