Longines Masters: Equine royalty landed in Hong Kong
On Monday, 53 of the world’s top-rated horses flew into town for this weekend’s Longines Masters of Hong Kong. Befitting their pedigrees – and their stature in the sport – the horses flew in ultimate comfort and safety onboard an Etihad Cargo Boeing 777 Freighter, arriving around 5.35pm at the Hong Kong International Airport under the watchful gaze of the world’s leading horse transport company, European Horse Services.
EHS were on hand throughout the journey to attend to the horses as they flew in customed-designed stalls and were accompanied by veterinarians and grooms – a right royal entourage if ever there was one. It was an exercise that was months in the planning, and fine-tuned down to the most minute detail.
Among the stars of the sport now being prepared for three days of Longines Masters of Hong Kong competition at AsiaWorld-Expo are last year’s Longines Grand Prix winner here – Marco Kustcher’s stallion Van Gogh – as well as Bertram Allen’s Quiet Easy, winner of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy and the Longines Speed Challenge. Joining them is Daniel Deusser’s mare Equita Van’t Zorgvliet – winner of the Longines Grand Prix in Los Angeles – and Simon Delestre’s ride Chesall Zimequest, the World Breeding Federation for Sports Horses’ highest rated show jumper for 2016.
Also along for the flight were six horses from the Les Ecuries d’Ecaussinnes stable being trained up to compete in the HKJC Junior Challenge and HKJC Junior Trophy, and the three equine stars of the Santi Serra show presented by Shanghai Tang (along with its two show dogs!).
The group was joined for the journey from Liege Airport by a special travelling partner – Hong Kong’s own show jumping star Jacqueline Lai.
“It was a thrill to be there with them on this trip and see how well these horses are cared for,” said Lai, who will be in action, alongside the greats of the sport, at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong.
“Everyone involved should be proud of the way the trip was carried out – and excited about the weekend of action ahead of us all.”
The 43rd Animal Transportation Association Annual Conference, organized by ATA & EEM, will be held in Hong Kong on 8-11 February 2017, alongside the Longines Masters.