Los Angeles—Oct. 1
Quentin Judge started his week at the Longines LA Masters out right, winning the first CSI***** class of the competition. He tacked up HH Fyloe to top the Hollywood Reporter Cup against 33 top competitors.
“It’s not the biggest class of the week—it’s a training class for most horses,” said Judge. “But this is right in his zone and I let him go and we got a good result the first day.”
Indeed few of the horses on the start list went for broke in the 1.45-meter speed class, but instead used the class as a way to let the horses get a turn around the unfamiliar ring, which was built in the middle of the L.A. Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles. But Judge made use of Fyloe’s experience and monster stride to win blue. He outgunned Belgium’s Jerome Guery (Upper Star) and Switzerland’s Jane Richard Philips (Zekina Z) for the top spot.
“He has a crazy stride,” said Judge of the 11-year-old gelding previously campaigned by Daniel Deusser. “For a small horse he’s really careful.”
While many of his European competitors’ horses got off the plane yesterday for the competition, Fyloe has been on the West Coast for several weeks. Judge brought his horses to California to try to earn some precious FEI World Cup Final qualifying points during his first serious bid for an invitation to next year’s finals. He’s already on top of the East Coast standings. The Wellington, Fla.,-based rider finished second at the qualfier at the Sacramento Horse Show (Calif.) last week, and Judge said he’ll stay out west to contest three more qualifiers over the next month.
Seven of the top nine riders in the world are here—only fourth-ranked Ludger Beerbaum and Simon Delestre, who sits eighth on the Longines FEI Rankings—stayed home. Riders are drawn by the serious prize money—Sunday’s title class doles out $450,000—and by the spectacle conjured up by visionary Christophe Ameeuw, who also produces Longines Masters competitions in Paris and Hong Kong. Judge will ride HH Copin van de Boy in Sunday’s big class.
“It’s a great atmosphere,” said Judge of the show that includes FEI five-star, two-star and invitational sections. “It’s really unlike any other indoor in North America. I’ve been lucky enough to show in Paris also. The way that Christophe and his team can transfer that atmosphere and that venue is pretty amazing.”
There’s plenty of celebrity spotting—human and equine—at the Longines LA Masters. Get to know actress Kaley Cuoco’s Bionetty who will be competing in Saturday’s Pro-Am Charity Costume Class.
Look for a full analysis of the competition in the Oct. 19 issue of the magazine.
Full results are available at the Longines LA Masters site.