Welcoming the Next Generation

11 February 2018 - EEM World

An early start to proceedings didn’t stop the crowds turning out in impressive numbers to support the future stars of Hong Kong equestrian sport, who were given another opportunity to show what they’ve got in the opening event of the final day of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Junior Trophy. Nathaniel Chan on Lay Your Love On Z scored an impressive victory, coming home ahead of five other riders over the two-round class thanks to a super-speedy second round.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to compete here – a once-in-a-lifetime experiencec,” said Chan, 18, who’s been riding since he was eight years old, and has appeared at every edition of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Junior Trophy represented a second chance for local youngsters to shine after The Hong Kong Jockey Club Junior Challenge yesterday, won by Leung Oi Man on Bamako M’Aurea. But where that class was not against the clock, with competitors assessed according to their style and performance by judges including equestrian legend Ludger Beerbaum, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Junior Trophy was run according to Grand Prix rules, with riders competing over two rounds, the first over nine obstacles and the second over seven. Both rides counted, with the winner decided by the fewest penalties across both and the best time in the second. The height of the jumps was also raised compared to yesterday’s class, from 1.00m to 1.10m.

All the riders went clear in the first round, and four did so in the second. Chan’s winning time of 33.36 seconds beat Yu An Su on Chardonay Hara Des Barrages into second, at 38.64 seconds, with Justin Yeung on Clintorado in third, at 42.96 seconds.

The young competitors rode the same horses as they did in The Hong Kong Jockey Club Junior Challenge, but most had only got on them for the first time just a couple of days before. Here Chan had an advantage, having ridden 10-year-old mare Lay Your Love On Z in the competition last year. “I rode her before, so I know how she moves,” he said. “But she’s quite different from last year – mainly she’s a bit calmer.”

The six horses that raced in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Junior Trophy come from the world-renowned Ecurie d’Ecaussinnes stables in Belgium, a global center of equestrian excellence that also ultimately gave us the Longines Masters Series, as the home of EEM, which organizes the global series of events.

Still to come on the final day of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong 2018, the Table A Masters One DBS, and then the grand finale of the competitive events this weekend, the Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong.