Longines Grand Prix in Los Angeles: success of a dazzling launch

28 September - The launch of such a high standard Show Jumping event in a new country is always a challenging experience. But the inaugural edition of the Longines Los Angeles Masters has proven to be a fantastic success, on the footsteps of the Paris and Hong Kong editions of the Masters Grand Slam Indoor

The new event-star on the international circuit concluded today with the brilliant victory of another rising star, 18 years old Belgian Jos Verlooy in the Longines Grand Prix.

Subtle and striking additions, and even a little Hollywood pizazz, created a special Masters Grand Slam Indoor atmosphere. But without good sport, there is no good show. And the sport was particularly exciting this Sunday afternoon at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The staging of the Longines Grand Prix was perfect. It started with a real suspense, especially for the course designer, Luc Musette, when none of the thirteen first riders could find the solution to his 13 obstacles course including a double and a triple combination. But Belgian Jos Verlooy came and unlocked the situation jumping a perfect flawless course with Domino. At the end, only 6 out of the 41 riders jumped clear, offering a thrilling jump-off.

With the boldness of his 18 years old, Jos achieved a very fast jump-off putting pressure on his opponents. He took the leader’s throne amongst and never left it. “It’s a great feeling”, he said very calmly. “My horse jumped super. I had already a good feeling in the first round. The jump-off worked out exactly as I wanted. The idea was to put the pressure on the rest of the field. But when Steve (Guerdat) came in, I was very nervous. He’s one of the best riders in the world and it’s great for me I could be first and him second… Sorry Steve!”

But Steve did grin and bear it: “Albfuehren's Paille, my mare, is very new and it was very difficult to go faster. We only did three jump-offs together so far. It’s only our fourth big class. Today, it was still too soon to beat Jos. He did a great job and he absolutely deserved the win. I am satisfied with my second place and I am not thinking about what I could have done other way but just about how to work and make it different next time.”

The strategy of Georgina Bloomberg was the good one, as she finished on the third step of the podium. “My plan with Juvina was a little bit different because she’s not the quickest and I usually go for a double-clear. So my plan was to be efficient and go clear.” Georgina has shown her enthusiasm on the podium with a very large smile. A smile that also expressed her pleasure to have competed in Los Angeles: “I am incredibly grateful to the organizers. When you look around and see the standard of this competition, it’s really outstanding. If a couple of years ago, one would have said that an event like that would come to the U.S., I would have never believed it. This is a great deal for American show jumping.”

An enthusiasm shared by the Olympic Champion, Guerdat: “To be honest, we’re used to travelling a lot, week after week, and sometimes we get a bit tired to travel all the time. But when you are invited to Los Angeles, even if it’s on the other side of the world, you don’t think twice because it’s the place you want to be. “Of course, we know the organizers. They have already produced fantastic shows in Paris and Hong-Kong. They are experienced and we know that we’ll enjoy the journey.”

The next Masters Grand Slam Indoor destination will be the City of Lights which will host the best riders in the world at the Gucci Paris Masters from December 4th-7th for four days world class equestrian sport and show.
source: www.mastersgrandslam.com