Irishman Denis Lynch and stable newcomer Chablis have formed an instant and very mutual attraction and they charged away with the Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong on Sunday, bringing to a close a weekend of supreme excitement to conclude the Asian leg of the Longines Masters Series.
“I never see myself as a favourite,” said Lynch after the win. “But I didn’t feel the pressure. Pressure is for tyres. This is a new horse for our stable so I am over the moon. I’m just very, very proud of this horse.” Lynch and the 12-year-old Chablis were timed at a sizzling 39.35 in the final round of the day – and of the weekend – and that meant they were way out in front of second-placed Frenchman Simon Delestre and Uccello de Will (47.07) – the only other pair to have two clear rounds. Swiss Pius Schwizer and About A Dream (38.56) came in third. “The course designer today did an amazing job” said Lynch. “It was exciting for us and for the fans and they really get behind you here in Hong Kong. What EEM are doing here is growing every year. The crowd just go with you [over the jumps] and that’s very nice.”
It was a stunning way to end the seventh edition of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong as Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR, presented the Longines Grand Prix trophy to Denis Lynch, thrilled to celebrate Hong Kong as the unrivalled equestrian capital of Asia.
Earlier in the day, the DBS Trophy, was won by the veteran Frenchman and king of speed, Roger-Yves Bost, in front an incredible Hong Kong public. The Olympic champion, who competed in every single edition of the Masters of Hong Kong, had Castleforbes Talitha in rare form and their 57.35 over the 1.45m fences proved too fast for Belgium’s Pieter Clemens on Caldero (58.11) with Frenchman Patrice Delaveau and Vestale de Mazure HDC (59.18). “She was feeling good yesterday and I made sure we prepared well,” the winner said afterwards. “I tried not to look at the board but I knew there would be some fast times. The field is strong but we got off to a good start, we picked up a stride early and then she kept the pace up.”
There had been a slice of history collected by the 15-year-old Vincent Zi-Xiang, with Capol, in the morning. He combed with It’s A Gamble to win the Hong Kong Jockey Club Asian Junior Grand Prix. For the first time, the Longines Masters of Hong Kong held an official Asian Junior Competition which concluded with the victory of a Hong Kong rider on home grounds. After setting the pace in the first round Capol cleared all the 1.10m fences to claim the victory. He dedicated it to the Hong Kong Jockey Club which has supported his rise in the sport, and set up this innovative competition with the backing also of the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation and EEM. “I’d like to thank the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the organizers EEM for their great support and this great opportunity,” said Capol. “Just being around all these top riders, seeing how they warm up and prepare and learning from watching has inspired me. It’s made me even more motivated to train even hard, to keep on improving and to go on to represent Hong Kong in other international competitions.”
Guests also thrilled all day to the attractions – and temptations – inside the Prestige Village, situated outside the main arena, while in between the main events there was a dressage performance from Hong Kong’s Asian Games gold medallist Jacqueline Siu and thrilling shows from Frédéric Pignon and Magali Delgado and their Iberian horses – presented by MGM Cotai – to help bring the curtain down on a fabulous weekend.