A Thrill-packed Start9 February 2018 - EEM World
A vibrant atmosphere greeted the opening event of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, the Masters One AsiaWorld-Expo, with excited crowds filling the stands at AsiaWorld-Expo, the Longines Masters’ Venue Partner, in anticipation of competition finally getting under way at 3pm. And the action on the course was equally thrilling, with Emanuele Gaudiano of Italy eventually riding to victory on board Einstein in the Table A competition, clocking a time of 61.55 seconds.
Coming in second in the event from a total field of 19 competitors was early leader Jane Richard Philips of Switzerland on Izmir van de Baeyenne, while third place was claimed by the Netherlands’ Gerco Schröder on Glock’s Debalia. There was also a fine result for an Asian rider, with Hsieh Ping-yang of Chinese Taipei coming in an impressive fifth on Just Energie, while Billy Raymont of Australia on Oaks Redwood claimed fourth.
“Einstein has no experience of 5* events,” said Gaudiano of his highly committed performance on the nine-year-old gray gelding. “For him it’s difficult to win the other classes, so I really pushed him in this one. This is the fourth year for me here in Hong Kong – I really enjoy this show, and I really hope I can ride in New York too.”
A relatively forgiving course created by renowned designer Louis Konickx tested riders over 1.45m obstacles, with doubles at fences 6 and 11, and the major decision for riders concerning the tightness of the approach into fence 9.
Gaudiano’s win was heartily cheered by the crowds in the main stands, who had started to flood into the Prestige Village and around the Warm-up Paddock as soon as the Longines Masters of Hong Kong’s gates opened at 1pm. There was a particularly impressive showing of youthful equestrian enthusiasts in the crowd, many of them enthusiastically waving Hong Kong flags, in particular when local rider Clarissa Lyra made her appearance in the arena on Catokia.
Still to come in the evening session that follows later today are much-loved exhibition event the Hong Kong Jockey Club Race of the Riders, which pairs Hong Kong jockeys with star showjumpers in a gripping team sprint relay over a showjumping course; followed by the much anticipated conclusion of the day’s events in the form of the Masters One Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy.