It was a thrilling Sunday afternoon that the crowd of spectators who came to watch the Longines Grand Prix experienced. During the main event of a magical weekend of competition, the best riders in the world delivered a passionate fight, from which Daniel Deusser and Equita van’t Zorgvliet emerged as winners. The German rider is definitely the man to beat at the next two legs of the Longines Masters Series, taking place in Paris and Hong Kong. Here in Los Angeles, the series was off to an excellent start and was a real success.
All the ingredients were there for an exceptional moment shared between the competitors and spectators. The initial course proposed by the new course designer of the Longines Masters Series, Uliano Vezzani, was difficult and at the level of what we can expect from an excellent 5* Grand Prix. The course forced a lot of faults from riders. Ten made the perfect round and went on to battle it out in a thrilling jump-off in a course where the Italian Maestro played with back-turns and long gallops. As the public followed all of the riders in the jump-off, the atmosphere in the grandstand intensified as the spectators switched from holding their breath to letting out groans of disappointment and cheering excitedly. Nayel Nassar quickly found himself in the leader’s seat, and was hoping to add his name to the prestigious board of stars of the Longines Masters. “I was kind of expecting it. There were a lot of good riders after me. I’m really happy with my horse, I know him so well at this point. I’ve spent an amazing week with him. It could have been better if it was not for this guy,” he laughed pointing at Daniel Deusser.
Yes, the German rider claimed the victory in this Longines Grand Prix of Los Angeles, even though he was competing indoor for the first time with his 12-year-old mare Equita van’t Zorgvliert: “I had to make adjustments really quickly with her as she had never competed indoor before. The first two days were not amazing, she had one down, we took the last fence yesterday, but today she tried really hard. I saw that on the west coast they were really fast so I knew I had to try everything to beat this young guy, to take all the risks. I was a little bit lucky on the plank, but at the end, she played the game today, and she was amazing!” Would he have taken inspiration from Harrie Smolders’s round, the third rider to go on the podium? It’s what the Dutch rider thinks, and joked. “I had a perfect last line. I think Daniel just watched what I did and did it better himself, that’s all!”
The atmosphere was relaxed, riders teased each other. What a great way to close out this excellent weekend! Everyone agrees, the Longines Masters of Los Angeles was indeed a success. “I must say that the organization puts on unbelievable shows with very high class. I think the Longines Masters Series is probably the highest quality show we have in the world,” congratulated Harrie Smolders. Satisfaction was also on for the event director, Matthieu Gheysen, very proud of the passion felt during all four days. “We had a very warm welcome from everybody for the first year and we are extremely delighted to be here in Long Beach. Thank you to the public, to Longines, to our partners, sponsors, and all who have done a tremendous job to make this event a success. We are now heading out toward Paris, where we are prepared for intense competition. Thank you all for joining us this weekend, and for following our event throughout the world.”
Attention is now focused on the Parisian leg, the Longines Masters of Paris, that will be held Dec. 1-4, at the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte-Paris Nord. Daniel Deusser will be expected as a favorite, now that he is the candidate to win the new Super Grand Slam Bonus of 2.25 million euros. It’s a great event to come!
Photo: ©Agence RB Presse for EEM