Hong Kong, China, August 23, 2007 — Germany’s Frank Ostholt and After the Battle finished on their dressage score of 53.4 to win the Good Luck Beijing – HKSAR 10th Anniversary Cup Eventing Competition at the Hong Kong Jockey Club August 13. Another German, Dirk Schrade on Grand Amour was second (54.6) and Shane Rose of Australia riding Stratford Novalis were third (66.6). The event served as a test competition for the 2008 Olympics in China.
The highest=placed U.S. rider was Buck Davidson on Ballynoe Castle RM. The pair finished seventh, jumping two double clean show jumping rounds and adding only time penalties on cross country to their dressage score. The other American combination of Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch were 15th.
Even though the result was not so much about winning or losing, Ostholt was delighted by his victory.
“It was very useful for us to come here,” he said. “Our team came to gain insights but winning makes this trip extra sweet.”
The riders were most interested in the effect heat and humidity had on their horses. Most found that the animal athletes took the very testing weather conditions better than the humans. In addition to the team veterinarians, an international group of 30 experts had their eyes on the horses, gathering flight recovery and acclimatization data. Information on weight, water intake and blood parameters was collected. It will be compiled in a comprehensive report which will be made public as soon as it becomes available. Special effort was made to cool the horses down after every major workout. Forty tons of ice cubes were used on cross country.
The organization and the efforts of the Hong Kong Organizers have been praised, but improvements to the quality of and speed of communications will need to be made before the Olympics.
More than 1,000 police officers were deployed on each of the competition days but it is too early to tell if any adjustments to manpower for next year will be necessary.
A field of 20 local riders from Hong Kong riding schools took part in a national class. This is the first eventing competition of a significant level in Hong Kong. The winner was Tara Delaney on Gagnant (52.9).
Since equestrian sports other than racing have little tradition in Hong Kong, the test event was also an opportunity for the public to become familiar with equestrian sport.