Four days of champion caliber show jumping action at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles culminated in Sunday afternoon’s Longines Grand Prix. Thirty-six of the world’s best riders competed in the grand finale of the American leg of the Longines Masters series for $450,000 in prize money, the largest purse in any United States indoor competition. Marco Kutscher and Van Gogh stunned the crowd with a jump-off time of 37.04 seconds to become the first ever winner of the new Longines Masters Series Trophy.
Created by renowned Belgian course designer Luc Musette, the 1.60m course was extremely technical and demanding with 13 obstacles. Seven horse and rider couples qualified for the jump-off, including 2012 Olympic individual gold medalist Steve Guerdat and Kavalier, Saturday’s two-class champion Patrice Delaveau on Lacrimoso, and more. John Whitaker and Argento entered the ring with hopes to claim the Masters Grand Slam Super Bonus following their victory in the Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong, but were unlucky with a rail down.
World Number 1 Scott Brash’s run of dominance on the international stage looked set to continue as he and Hello M’Lady completed the jump-off with a time of 37.93 seconds. The American audience went wild when Kent Farrington and Voyeur came a mere 0.15 seconds from knocking Scott off his throne. Last to enter the ring, Marco Kutscher and Van Gogh had a masterpiece ride to claim top spot on the podium.
“I had a very good start to the jump off; the second part was maybe a little bit slower but anyway I’m super pleased with my horse because for the rest of the weekend nobody realized that I was here. So I took my chance and I’m very pleased, and very happy to go home tonight,” said Kutscher. “Last year I was here, and I think this year, the crowd, the spectators, were even more than last year; the atmosphere is great and it’s fun to ride here. I would like to come back next year to see all you guys.”
“I’m absolutely delighted with the horse,” Brash said, before hurrying off to the airport to fly to China. “I was just annoyed at myself that I didn’t do a smoother round. Marco’s horse was so smooth and it was a joy to watch really if you weren’t sitting where I was. All credit to Marco; he’s done a great round.”
Earlier in the day, Michelle Kerivan and Colin won the Écuries d’Écaussinnes Grand Prix with a time of 40.37 seconds in a five-rider jump-off. Hannah Selleck and Barla were victorious in the Canadian Pacific Grand Prix, winning a three-rider jump-off in 36.38 seconds.
Spectators for the day included Bill Gates, Kaley Cuoco, Fred Savage, Frankie Muniz, Alison Sweeney, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Michael Mann, Bo Derek, National Anthem singer Pia Toscano, and more. The heart-pounding action of the 2015/2016 Longines Masters season continues this winter with the Longines Masters of Paris, December 3-6, 2015.
About the Longines Masters
Established in three of the biggest cities—Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong—the unique Longines Masters series is recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale and is one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions worldwide. Created by EEM, the concept of the Masters was born in 2009 with the first edition of the Gucci Paris Masters, now renamed the Longines Masters of Paris. Inspired by the Grand Slam tournaments in tennis, the circuit rapidly developed abroad, with the Longines Masters of Hong Kong in 2013 and the Longines Masters of Los Angeles in 2014.
The world’s best riders and horses will compete for one million dollars in prize money at each leg of the series. In addition, any rider who consecutively wins the Longines Masters Grands Prix in Paris, Hong Kong and Los Angeles will be rewarded with one million euros Masters Grand Slam bonus. For two successive victories, the rider will be awarded €500,000, and winners of two non-successive victories within a series of three Longines Masters Grand Prix will receive a €250,000 bonus.
These events are broadcast in more than 120 countries and reach uo to 550 million households.. Every edition of the Masters is must-attend event that brings together sports enthusiasts, amateurs, celebrities and corporate decision-makers from around the world, who come to enjoy a unique experience, boasting exceptional sport, entertainment, glamour, gastronomy and contemporary art.
• Longines Masters of Los Angeles October 1st to 4th 2015
• Longines Masters of Paris December 3rd to 6th 2015
• Longines Masters of Hong Kong February 19th to 21st 2016