Banking on Glory

11 February 2018 - EEM World

The competitive action really started to come to the boil in the early afternoon of the third and final day of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong with the event’s penultimate class, the Masters One DBS. With classes coming thick and fast on Day 3, the competition, run over 1.45m obstacles, was won by Robert Smith of Great Britain on 11-year-old gray gelding Cimano E in a time of 57.17 seconds. Riding 16th out of 19 competitors on a tricky course that forced riders to stretch hard into several fences, Smith took 0.46 seconds off the time of 57.63 seconds previously set by Christian Kukuk of Germany on Cordess, riding 10th. Third place was taken by Gerco Schröder of the Netherlands on Glock's Debalia in a time of 58.49 seconds.

I thought I could beat it,” said Smith of the time set by Kukuk. “I thought I was unlucky on the first day,” when Smith came in third in The Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy on Ilton, notching up the fastest time of the class but incurring a single four-fault penalty. “But today I saw the course and thought it was perfect for Cimano.”

The Masters One DBS, worth a total of US$35,000 in prize money, was a new event for Hong Kong, presented by Official Partner DBS; the leading financial services company is a new partner for the Longines Masters of Hong Kong. The one-round competition followed a straightforward format, with the fastest among the eight riders to complete a clear round taking the title.

Smith was a particularly popular winner in Hong Kong, with his victory prompting wild cheers from the stands. “This is my first time here, but I do seem to be picking up a lot of support, which is very nice,” he said.

Those stands were packed to the rafters as the class saw the Longines Masters of Hong Kong near its conclusion, while the atmosphere was even more inspiring over at the VIP Masters Club, where lucky members of Hong Kong high society enjoyed an ideal ringside seat for the action, alongside memorable fine-dining experiences created by a celebrity chef.

The Masters One DBS marked the penultimate competitive event at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong 2018, with just the biggest event of all to come: the Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong, a Grand Slam competition over 1.60m obstacles that marks the pinnacle of the weekend’s competition, and is the ultimate prize for every one of the riders.