Debut Hong Kong equestrian event hailed as runaway success
They will have to double the order next year for fresh sea bass from Brussels, with organisers thrilled by the public reception in its inaugural year.
"The feedback is very positive. The riders love it and the public have received it warmly," said Matthieu Gheysen, vice-president of EEM Asia (Equestrian Event Management), as the curtain came down last night on the Longines Hong Kong Masters. "Now we want to make it bigger, and of course better."
While organisers refused to reveal sponsorship details, it is understood Longines is on board for five years.
"This is the start of a long love story for Hong Kong," said Gheysen.
Plans are afoot to double the seating capacity of the competition area at AsiaWorld-Expo which this week has hosted 60 VIP tables - the corporate crowd quaffing champagne and tucking into exquisite three-course meals prepared by Michelin-starred culinary experts - and 2,250 public seats. It was a full house on two of the three days.
Hong Kong Equestrian Federation president Simon Ip Sik-on praised the first leg of the World Masters Indoors - New York in October and Paris in December are the other stops.
"This has taken showjumping to another level in Hong Kong," Ip said.
The public was also wowed. "It was great being so close to the horses," said Frenchman Vincent Clement.
His wife Stefanie added: "It is very rare you get the chance to see the best riders in Hong Kong and this is unique. I was able to chat with them."
Vera Chan, who had come along because she was curious to see what an international five-star event was like, said: "It is great that Hong Kong is hosting an event like this."