After the festivities and glamour of Los Angeles, after the emotions and success stories of Paris, the Longines Masters will come to a close in Hong Kong across the third and last leg of the second season, from February 10th to 12th. A thrilling weekend of equestrian action awaits, with 30 of the best international riders lining up as we prepare to witness this great moment in sport.
Olympians, World Champions, European Champions, and winners from all the major international shows – the best riders will travel to Asia, not wanting to miss out on the challenge of the last leg of the Longines Masters.
Leading the charge will be the man they all have to beat - Longines FEI Rankings front-runner, Daniel Deusser. Winner of the Longines Grand Prix of Los Angeles, and third in Paris, the German rider will be one to watch over the weekend. But he won’t have things all his own way. Belgian star Gregory Wathelet won the Longines Grand Prix of Paris last December, marking a brilliant return to the highest level of competition. The European vice-champion is now gunning for the €1 million Grand Slam Bonus which rewards three consecutive victories over two seasons.
Kevin Staut is another rider ready to rise to the occasion, the French Olympic team champion arriving off a second place in Los Angeles and then a stunning triumph in Paris in the Longines Speed Challenge. The Tricolor star looks to have the perfect technical expertise to tackle the unique Hong Kong course, designed by Uliano Vezzani. In front of his adoring French audience, Staut confessed to having struggled across the start of the course; he’ll have to make sure he doesn’t miss a beat across this ultimate test of speed.
But he’ll be facing friends from the French team who becomes friendly foes in the Longines Masters series - Roger-Yves Bost and Philippe Rozier, by his side on the podium in Rio, and Simon Delestre, currently the world number five.
Hong Kong fans also have their own heroes superstars, the legend John Whitaker winner of the Longines Grand Prix in Hong Kong in 2015 and the young Irish prodigy Bertram Allen winner of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy and the Longines Speed Challenge last year in Hong Kong, alongside local star, Jacqueline Lai. The 2009 Chinese champion rocked the stands every time she appeared in the ring last year.
The famous jockeys of the Hong Kong Jockey Club will also turn up the heat during the popular and unique HKJC Race of the Riders. Taking to the spotlight will be the “Magic Man” – and reigning Hong Kong champion - Joao Moreira, alongside star Irish jockey Neil Callan, and leading local riders Derek Leung and Vincent Ho.
Returning, too, will be the star of the Longines Masters’ first season, Marco Kutscher. The German rider made history by becoming the first rider to capture the €250,000 Super Bonus thanks to victories in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, and he will be back on familiar territory as he puts his title on the line.
Spectators will also have the chance to see other equestrian headliners such as Ludger Beerbaum, Germany’s current world number two, Christian Ahlmann, and also Lorenzo De Luca, Jerome Guery, Max Kuhner, and the Philippaerts brothers. Female riders will also be out in force, with Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, the Longines Ambassador of Elegance Jane Richard Philips, and Great Britain’s Laura Renwick.
As well as all these stars, audiences at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong are in for a special treat this year as legendary equestrian artist Santi Serra and his team of performing horses will present a unique show highlighting the historical links between Chinese culture and horses. With the support of Shanghai Tang, Santi Serra has devised a performance that combines classic Chinese music with stunning costumes – and traces a story that delves into the past. It's an experience not to be missed.
The Longines Masters of Hong Kong will bring together the best of sport across three days - a unique live experience in Asia. An event within the event is the Prestige Village which will also allow visitors to delve into the luxurious lifestyle highlighted during each leg of the Longines Masters. An appointment to live is offered from February 10th to 12th at AsiaWorld-Expo.
Full list of the riders:
Lorenzo De Luca
Henrik Von Eckermann