People are now pouring into the Prestige Village here at the Longines Masters of Paris, meeting with friends, having a bite to eat or simply enjoying a wander around. There are very few places left in the grandstands, at the tables and in the Masters Club private suite.
And the evening has certainly got off to a fine start with the Masters One Laiterie de Montaigu, a Table A with a jump-off in which 36 of the world’s best riders competed, many of them on their lead horse. Rêveur de Hurtebise HDC, Hermès Ryan, Cornet d’Amour, Sydney Une Prince and Fine Lady 5 could all be seen in the arena, but it was a newcomer to the circuit, the eight-year-old Chalou, who outstripped them all, and in fine style, after a hotly contested jump-off, finishing ahead of Belgian Pieter Devos on Gin D and Frenchman Edward Levy (aged 22) on Sirius Black.
“He’s fantastic,” said an amazed Emanuele Gaudiano on leaving the track. We can only agree. Chalou was breathtakingly powerful, generous and fast. Already, in Lausanne at his first five-star Grand Prix, he put in a faultless performance, and he more than confirmed his capability before the Parisian audience this evening. And the good news is that we will see him again in the Longines Grand Prix on Sunday.
Right now, though, the atmosphere here is electrifying. The grandstands are packed and the audience chomping at the bit. The fastest horses and riders in the world are stretching their legs in the paddock at the heart of the village. Any time now, the new Season III course, designed by chief-of-track Louis Konickx for the Longines Speed Challenge, will be revealed. On your marks…
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