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March 1, 2013

Longines Speed Challenge Thrills Show Jumping Fans in Hong Kong

Cheers, suspense and jubilation marked today’s inaugural Longines Hong Kong Masters, which opened with the spectacular Longines Speed Challenge before thousands of show jumping fans and guests at the sold-out equestrian arena of the AsiaWorld-Expo.

The competition showcased speed and precision as the world’s top 25 riders competed to clear a course of 16 1.45-meter fences in the fastest and most accurate way possible, with two second penalties for every fault.

Ukraine’s Katharina Offel with Olivia De Nantuel topped the competition with the best time of 64.61 seconds, closely followed by France’s Patrice Delaveau with Ornella Mail HDC who placed second with a time of 64.62 seconds, and Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer with Ulysse who placed third with 65.12 seconds.

World No. 1 rider Christian Ahlmann from Germany with Little Lady Z placed fourth with 65.74 seconds, followed by France’s Roger YvesBost with Castle Forbes Cosma at 66.92 seconds. Bost won the 2012 Longines Speed Challenge at the Gucci Paris Masters last November. USA’s Richard Spooner with Billy Bianca placed sixth with 66.96 seconds.

The exhilarating and often suspenseful Longines Speed Challenge is the first of three competitions that also include the Gucci Gold Cup and the Longines Grand Prix.

Speed and precision are two words that perfectly describe the Longines Speed Challenge, which was created by EEM World, the owner of the concept. These two criteria reinforced Longines commitment as the title sponsor of this event.

The challenge facing competitors is to achieve the best time, with every bar knocked down adding a 2 second penalty. The winner is, therefore, the pairing that is both the quickest and most precise.

The format of the event ensures complete suspense, with the Longines Speed Challenge also being very attractive to the public, who can follow the time achieved by the competitors in real-time. Since they know the best time as the competitors leave the arena, each spectator can cheer on their favourite up to the end of the round.

The starting order was established according to a draw with the top 10 riders and horses from the 2012 Gucci Paris Masters Speed Challenge starting last in reverse order. Last year’s winners included Roger Yves Bost of France with Castle Forbes Cosma (63 seconds), followed by Gregory Wathelet of Belgium with Kronis (64.52 seconds) and Reed Kessler of the US with Ligist (64.76 seconds).