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Longines Hong Kong International Races

Cool, calm and collected, Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt is quickest in ‘fastest class in the world’

The 32-year-old German pips Frenchman Delaveau by just one tenth of a second in event at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong at AsiaWorld Expo

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 February, 2018, 10:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 February, 2018, 3:09pm

Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt and “calm” 12-year-old horse Chacon can return home satisfied after winning the 2018 Longines Speed Challenge by one tenth of a second at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong on Saturday evening at AsiaWorld Expo.

The 32-year-old – who trains with Hong Kong youngster Clarissa Lyra at Ludger Beerbaum Stables in Germany – finished with a scintillating time of 63 seconds 47 milliseconds, just a hair faster than Frenchman Patrice Delaveau’s 63.57.

“Hong Kong is a long way for us, we’re not too sure about tomorrow [Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong] so we thought we’d give everything today,” said Weishaupt as he sat at the podium. “Thank you to Patrice who went before me so I could look at his [route]. I just went for it and it worked out.”

2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist and previous Hong Kong Speed Challenge winner Kevin Staut of France rounded up the top three with 66.05.

The Speed Challenge is considered the “fastest class in the world” and takes place over a 1.45 metre course. It is different to traditional speed classes in that a fault is worth a two second penalty as opposed to the conventional four.

Weishaupt won US$100,000 (HK$780,000) ahead of the main event on Sunday. Hong Kong’s own five-star course debutant Clarissa Lyra, 21, finished in 117.41, with Taiwan’s 19-year-old Hsieh Ping-yang with 79.57.

Local equestrian aficionados were treated to showcases from riders young and old during day two of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong. From the Hong Kong Jockey Club Junior Challenge – in which the young riders were evaluated by multiple world number one show jumper and Olympic gold medallist Ludger Beerbaum – to the Longines Speed Challenge, Hongkongers turned out in the hundreds to revisit fond memories from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The inaugural Asia Horse Week was also in full swing, promoting the blooming Asian equestrian scene and giving rare insight into the Dutch and Japanese approaches to the sport. Sunday marks the final day of both events, with world class riders such as 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallist Kevin Staut and Hong Kong’s Clarissa Lyra tussling for the coveted Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong worth US$382,000 (HK$3 million).