PARIS – Crowds of over 50,000 eagerly flocked to the Parc des Expositions of Paris Nord Villepinte with many more tuning in to EEM.tv around the world for the highly-anticipated Longines Masters of Paris, the European stage of the tri-continental Longines Masters Series.
One of the most prestigious show jumping events in the world, the Longines Masters Series created by EEM launched Season III of its international journey this weekend in Paris, November 30-December 3, with the Asian leg of the competition taking place in Hong Kong February 9-11, 2018, and the series finale premiering in New York April 26-29, 2018.
Top-ranked riders and horses at every level—Masters One (5*), Masters Two (2*) and Masters Three (1*)—showed off their talent and vied for victories during four days of rigorous, fast-paced show jumping competition.
The Longines Masters of Paris began on November 30, 2017, with a full day of competition and a star-studded gala that went late into the night. Guests including French actors Zinedine Soualem and Guillaume Canet, as well as members of the Racing 92 rugby team, graced the red carpet at the Opening Night Gala, after riders made their debut in classes at all three levels of competition.
The Longines Masters of Paris Masters One: the Asia Horse Week Masters One was the 5* rider debut for the weekend. After heated competition, Gregory Cottard (FRA) and Regate d’Aure took first place, ahead of Lauren Hough (USA) and Quantas 15 and Alexandra Paillot (FRA) and Tonio la Goutelle, respectively. During the gala that followed, the best players from Europe's top rugby club, the Racing 92, held workshop events with the riders. Rugby players Dimitri Szarzewski, Henri Chavancy, Patrick Lambie, Manuel Carizza, and Ronan O’Gara participated, much to the delight of the audience, which was astounded to see two of history’s greatest sports together in one arena.
Day Two’s standout event was the Longines Speed Challenge, a prized competition from Longines Masters Series Title Partner and Official Timekeeper Longines. Joining the festivities was Longines Ambassador of Elegance, Chinese actress Chin Ling Lin, who graced the audience with her beauty. The excitement was contagious as 27 of the fastest 5* riders set out on the new course designed by Louis Konickx, where each hoped to become the winner on the Paris stage. In the end, it was Julien Epaillard (FRA) and Cristallo A LM who claimed the much-coveted Longines Speed Challenge Trophy, speeding through the course in a record time of 60.99 seconds (58.99), ahead of Kevin Staut with a time of 61.65 (FRA) and talented up-and-coming rider, Lorenzo de Luca with a time of 63.53 (ITA). In 2016, Staut squeaked by Epaillard in the Longines Speed Challenge in Paris making this rivalry one to watch! The next installment of the Longines Speed Challenge, the World Speed Championship across three continents, will take place in Hong Kong, with the awe-inspiring agility and power of show jumping on full display.
The highlight of Saturday included the launch of two spectacular new events: the Masters Power, presented by the Lido de Paris, and the first-ever Riders Masters Cup, presented by EEM, with the support of the EEF (European Equestrian Federation) and Longines as Founding Partner.
The Masters Power, presented by the Lido de Paris, was a full-blown stage production brought to audiences by EEM, with the gracious cooperation of its famed Paris cabaret partner, the Lido de Paris, and its elegant Blue Bell Girls. The competition started out to waves of applause from an audience chomping at the bit to experience this power competition, in which riders went in turn through a line of six obstacles, the last increasing in height so long as the riders managed to clear it. Marc Dilasser (FRA) and Indigo Blue Biolley won the top prize in the new class by going clear over four rounds of the six-bar competition with Karline de Brabander (BEL) as the only other competitor in the fourth round placing second.
Blind rider and two-time French Handisport Champion Salim Ejnaïni competed in the inaugural class in support of the association Sur les bancs de l’école, which is dedicated to fostering inclusion for Autistic children in their everyday lives.
The coveted premiere in Season III, the Riders Masters Cup, took place Saturday night in front of a crowd of fans on their feet cheering for their favorite riders and showing support for their home teams—USA or Europe. The two teams battled through five grueling head-to-head matchups over two rounds in a night of rare intensity and an unforgettable historic moment in the world of show jumping. Following the first leg in Paris, Team Europe leads the battle, with Team USA ready to fight for revenge in the second and final showdown of the Riders Masters Cup at the first-ever Longines Masters of New York on Saturday, April 28, 2018.
“This first edition of the Riders Masters Cup showed that this wondrous sport - show jumping - can be simple, readable, and thrilling to audiences, without giving up any of the elegance or excellence characteristic of equestrian sports. Both teams stepped up to the challenge in an exceptional fashion, taking the audience along with them and giving our sport the widespread support it deserves. I am proud to soon bring the Riders Masters Cup to New York, to share the culmination of this revolutionary show jumping competition with audiences on the other side of the Atlantic,” said Christophe Ameeuw, CEO and Founder of EEM, creators of the Longines Masters Series.
Sunday, the final day of competition at the Longines Masters of Paris, was defined by the grand finales of the Masters One, Masters Two, and Masters Three competitions—increasingly intense and exhilarating as the day went on. The four days of competition culminated with the crown jewel of the Longines Masters Series, the Longines Grand Prix, on Sunday afternoon. The course's legendary curves and straights, etched out by internationally-renowned course designer Louis Konickx, proved a challenge to the riders, who had to put all their focus in play to achieve a flawless run. Ultimately, Daniel Deusser (GER) and Cornet d’Amour bested 35 other top-ranked riders to win the Longines Masters Trophy, also laying claim to the exceptional opportunity to vie for the Super Grand Slam: a €2,250,000 bonus for anyone who wins the Longines Grand Prix in Paris, Hong Kong, and New York, in that order. In Season II, Deusser took first place in the American Leg at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles and third place here in Paris.
The glamour and luxury of Paris was echoed throughout the event, as guests visited the Prestige Village, constructed around the riders’ training paddock, offering the rare opportunity to see the best in show jumping up-close and personal. Visitors watched the riders train, grabbed a bite to eat, and indulged in some shopping while enjoying the sounds of musicians, saxophonists, and the DJ sets by Jeremie Charlier and Kid Noize. Warmth and wonder combined through a multitude of live events, the Longines Vintage Carousel, and art galleries by artists such as Richard Orlinski, Official Artistic Partner, who also treated guests to a late night DJ set.
The action and cultural experiences of the Longines Masters Series will continue in Hong Kong on February 9-11, 2018, hosted by the first edition of Asia Horse Week. The one-of-a-kind show jumping event will then travel to the United States for the first-ever Longines Masters of New York, which will take place at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, April 26-29, 2018.
Tickets to all sessions of the Longines Masters of New York will go on sale in January 2018. For more information, visit or go directly to http://www.nycblive.com/.
Relive the Longines Masters of Paris on EEM.tv, a new, free live TV channel created by EEM’s strong desire to engage with equestrian sport, its athletes, and influencers. EEM.TV aims to bring together all audiences through a variety of programming, cultivated by the event, through live broadcasts of classes, documentaries, and original productions.