Simone said: “I am very proud to be the Fosun Best Athlete. I think it’s the dream of every rider and a lot of really good riders before have won it. To the people who voted I want to say ‘thank you’. It was a pleasure for me and I have the best fans and support.
“It’s unbelievable actually because for me it started just one-and-a-half years ago and it’s just because of Alice that I’m here now. I’m really proud to ride at this top level, and I’m so, so happy to have Alice. It feels so easy with her, and that’s really great.”
More than 250 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, representatives of the 133 National Equestrian Federations, FEI partners and stakeholders were in attendance at the prestigious gala in Bahrain. The event was hosted by Paralympic gold medallist Natasha Baker and young Dressage ace Juan Matute Guimon.
French Eventing prospect Victor Levecque, 20, thanked his parents, team and horse after scooping the Longines Rising Star award for young athletes. The award comes just a few months after he won Team and Individual gold at the FEI European Championships in Fontainebleau.
“To win the Longines Rising Star award is amazing,” Victor said. “I never thought that I would win this award. Thanks to Longines and the FEI for putting the young generation at the front of the scene.
“For the future my main goal is the Olympic Games, maybe in Paris 2024. I know the road is very long and that’s my dream.”
On being named Best Groom, Lee McKeever, who works with Mclain Ward, said “it’s never been a job to me, it’s been a way of life.” He added: “It’s just a great honour to have everybody’s votes.”