After an entertaining day of competition, the main event of Day 1 of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong certainly didn’t disappoint, with Daniel Deusser of Germany riding to victory on 15-year-old gray gelding Cornet D’Amour in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy.
Presented by Founding Partner the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Masters One event was contested over 1.50m obstacles for a prize purse of US$84,000, with a first round featuring a field of 22 whittled down to a final 10 for a jump-off over a shorter course. Deusser not only went clear in both rounds, but also set the fastest times in both, clocking 71.85 seconds first time out, and then 38.73 seconds to take the jump-off by a margin of more than two seconds.
He was characteristically modest about his victory. “To be honest I was a little bit lucky to be fastest in the first round today,” he said. “And my jump-off wasn’t that smooth either, but the horse was really good today.”
He finished ahead of second-placed Jérôme Guery of Belgium on Garfield de Tiji des Templiers, and third-placed Robert Smith of Great Britain on Cimano E. Fourth and fifth spots were taken by Simon Delestre of France, who was second in the event last year, and John Whitaker of Great Britain.
Deusser particularly loves competing in Hong Kong, having racked up an incredible four victories out of six in the inaugural 2013 event. He is also the reigning champion of the Longines Grand Prix, having picked up the title in Paris in December.
The Hong Kong crowd was again given a home rider to cheer for in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy, this time in the form of Jacqueline Lai on Basta. The event was also celebrated in style by those privileged enough to be sitting in the VIP Masters Club, who enjoyed an ideal ringside seat for the action, kicking off a weekend of festivities fueled by fabulous fine-dining experiences created by a celebrity chef.
The competition was preceded by a speech from Hong Kong Jockey Club Chairman Dr Simon Ip. “The Jockey Club is happy to be Founding Partner of this event,” said Dr Ip. “This is the sixth year, and it gets bigger, better and more spectacular ever year.”