Flying Frenchman Patrice Delaveau hogged the limelight for the second day running at the Longines Hong Kong Masters when he won the main event last night, the Gucci Gold Cup, to double his tally of wins at the AsiaWorld-Expo.
Delaveau, who took the first slice of action on Thursday when he won the opening event, an against the clock competition (Prix Artemide), was in super touch with his mount Lacrimoso 3 once again in fine form as they blitzed a strong field to win the main event yesterday in front of packed stands.
"It is very nice to win again. I hope I can continue this and finish in the same way," said the 48-year-old Delaveau who will start as a hot favourite for tonight's climax, the Longines Grand Prix which offers total prize money of US$700,000.
Delaveau rode a superb clear round in 38.42 seconds to stun the rest of the 10-strong group of riders who had qualified from the first round into tacit submission. The effort earned him a winner's purse of US$40,425.
In second place was Germany's Marcus Ehning aboard Cornado NRW in a time of 40.77 while Australia's Edwina Tops-Alexander grabbed third place on Guccio in 42.34.
A total of 30 riders started the competition split into two rounds. The first round comprised 15 obstacles with riders having to complete it in an allotted time but with the main aim of having clear rounds. The top 10 riders or all clear rounds then qualified for the second round. Ten riders had clear rounds and among them were four Frenchmen including Delaveau.
In the second round, two obstacles were removed, and Delaveau and three others produced clear rounds again. But his was the fastest.
Hong Kong's Raena Leung Hou-ling had a nightmare first round with her horse Orphee du Granit refusing to jump at the second hurdle. In the second attempt, she succeeded but then at the third obstacle the 11-year-old gelding crashed into the bars ending in Leung's elimination.
"The pressure of taking part in front of her home crowd obviously got to her," said Dr Simon Ip Sik-on, president of the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation.
Hong Kong's other representative Kenneth Cheng Man-kit managed to complete his round on Carlos Caballo but knocked over five bars to rack up a total of 20 penalties.