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The Gucci Paris Masters is underway

Friday, 30 November 2012

The 4th Gucci Paris Masters officially opened on Thursday evening, with a press conference held just before the Graal Joaillier gala event. Here’s what people had to say:

Christophe Ameeuw (BEL, competition director): “We’re delighted to welcome some new partners: Graal Joaillier for the gala evening, Longines for the Speed Challenge and EADS for the Guerre des Sexes. We are also pleased to present the Style & Competition for Amade once again this year. In partnership with the Paris Horse Show, we have renewed and expanded the pony paddock. And the highlight of the weekend will be the Gucci Grand Prix on Sunday evening with a course designed by Conrad Homfeld.”

Virginie Coupérie-Eiffel (FRA, Gucci ambassadress): “This year, Gucci is investing even more with the launch of a new line of equestrian clothing inspired by Edwina Tops-Alexander. It’s a line that combines practicality and technical qualities with glamour and elegance. The Gucci Paris Masters is an event that retains its aesthetic and sporting values, but remembers to include everyone, notably those in difficulty. That’s why we will be hosting a number of beneficiaries of charities like Les Restos du cœur, Le Secours Catholique and Un Maillot pour la Vie this weekend.”

Pénélope Leprevost (FRA, winner of the 2011 Gucci Grand Prix): “My Grand Prix win last year, in front of my own spectators, is still a great moment. Right now, things aren’t necessarily going all that well with my horse, so we’ll see... though thinking about it, it was the same last year and we won! That said, it’s very rare to win the same Grand Prix, with the same horse, twice in a row.”

Kevin Staut (FRA, World n°6, winner of the Stuttgart World Cup): “If I say I’ve come here to win, people will say that’s arrogant. If I don’t say anything, people will think I lack ambition...So I’ll just say that at the moment, things are going pretty well and my horses are in good shape. Here in Paris, we’ve got the support of the spectators, but a Grand Prix is always tough and the competition is fierce. It will be a great battle!”

Steve Guerdat (SWI, Olympic Champion, World n°1): “We travel a lot throughout the year, and we often come back to the same places. But here it’s new for me. It’s my first time in Paris, and it’s very exciting! It will be the same in Hong Kong and New York. I wish the Masters Grand Slam a long future!”

Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS, winner of the Global Champions Tour, Gucci ambassadress): “We’re under pressure every week, but there’s even more pressure here, as I’m a Gucci ambassadress. It’s an honour for me to represent this house, that’s got such a long standing association with equestrianism. We are all here for the same thing, and we will be doing our best to win.”

Jessica Springsteen (USA): “I couldn’t wait to come to Paris. I was supposed to come last year, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I spent six fantastic months in Europe discovering the most beautiful places and rubbing shoulders with the world’s best riders. My horses have come on a lot, and so have I, since the summer.”

Reed Kessler (USA, youngest rider at the Olympics): “I always wanted to ride and taking part in the Olympic Games was a dream come true. I’m with the best riders in the world, but I’m still green, very young, and so this weekend I hope to be competitive and worthy.”

HONG KONG LONGINES MASTERS

Matthieu Gheysen (BEL, competition director): “Our team is working flat out to make sure everything is perfect. To be recognized by the government of Hong Kong as a major sporting event is a source of great pride. Horse riding has been huge in Hong Kong for a long time, and since the 2008 Olympics, show jumping has grown very popular too.”

Kenneth Cheng (CHI, Hong Kong rider): “Riding alongside the world’s best riders makes you progress. It definitely ramps up the pressure to ride in front of your own spectators, but it’s also a great support. At the 2008 Olympics, I felt like a star every time I took to the course! I’m very proud and very happy that there is a Grand Slam stage in my home territory, and I hope the riders like Hong Kong!”

NEW YORK MASTERS

Georgina Bloomberg (USA, co-founder of the New York Masters, daughter of the Mayor of New York): “It will be a real pleasure to host to all these illustrious riders. New York needed a prestigious event, and it’s a great opportunity to obtain greater exposure for our sport in the United States.”

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