A formidable 8 of the world’s top 10 riders will be heading to Shanghai, China, for the third leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League season, where an impressive €1,250,000 of prize money will be on offer over the weekend.
Revolutionary in the sport, the LGCT of Shanghai is in its fourth year running, breaking records by being one of the first major equestrian events in the heart of China, and bringing top sport to new audiences. Now highly respected as one of the most prolific social and sporting events on the calendar, the third leg of the 15-stop Championship will welcome the world’s best horses and riders as they battle it out for the prestigious top spot in their season long campaign for the coveted LGCT Champion of Champions title.
World Number 2 Kent Farrington (USA), will head to China following a successful weekend in Miami Beach where the top American rider took a home win in front of a passionate, packed-out crowd. Looking to be on phenomenal form, he’ll be fending off the likes of Daniel Deusser (GER), Christian Ahlmann (GER), Kevin Staut (FRA) and Scott Brash (GBR) – a rider who is extremely popular with the Chinese fans. Another local favourite, multiple Olympian and living legend Ludger Beerbaum (GER) will also return to the LGCT Shanghai, where he’ll be on target to battle it out against the world’s best for the €500,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Shanghai.
World Number 8 and former LGCT Champion of Champions Marcus Ehning (GER) will make his season debut on the Tour and League, where he’ll be joining the formidable Valkenswaard United team for the first time. New teammate Bertram Allen (IRL) will also be in action, and looking to wow the crowds as he heads to the iconic city, alongside new friend and GCL teammate Alberto Zorzi (ITA). Simon Delestre (FRA) has a history of winning in Shanghai, after a stunning performance in 2016 saw him scoop first place in the Massimo Dutti trophy with Chesall, and former LGCT Grand Prix winner Harrie Smolders (NED) will be back in action for this leg of Championship, hoping for a repeat performance of his stunning win in 2015.
Current LGCT Ranking leader Martin Fuchs (SUI) will miss out on the Shanghai leg of the Championship, however second place man – Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) – will be in action next weekend, with a chance to take over the lead. The popular Italian rider sits just six points behind the young Swiss star, so a strong result in Shanghai could shake up the order at this early stage on Tour.
The Global Champions League has taken a dynamic turn, with the points difference at the top of the leaderboard nail-bitingly close. Valkenswaard United still reign supreme, however with teams such as the London Knights, St Tropez Pirates, and home team Shanghai Swans snapping at their heels, the third leg of the Championship will have fans on the edge of their seats as the action plays out. Last year it was the young guns from the Cascais Charms who took the top spot, and with the combination of David Will (GER) and Andreas Kreuzer (GER) both confirmed to return to the city, all eyes will be on the 18 teams to see who will come out on top.
With little time for jet-lag and fresh from The Americas, the Tour makes its third stop in the spectacular destination of Shanghai, China from the 28th April – 30th April. Synonymous with glamour and new beginnings, Shanghai is renowned for its record-breaking skyscrapers which have sprung up where just twenty years ago there was only farmland, and the growing number of new show jumping fans in the region is developing just as fast.
Quiet in appreciation, but intensely knowledgeable, local spectators will be treated to world class show jumping and entertainment as the likes of Ben Maher (GBR), Gerco Schroder (NED), John Whitaker (GBR), Max Küher (AUT), Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), Lauren Hough (USA), Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), Laura Kraut (USA), Marco Kutscher (GER), Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT), Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) and Julien Epaillard (FRA) all take to the track to fight for the title. Home riders, Mei Mei ZHU (CHN) and Jirigala ERDENG (CHN) will also have the opportunity to compete on an international stage, alongside Jacqueline Lai (HKG) and Raena Leung (HKG), all of whom will be looking for local support as they fight for the CSI5* titles.
Edited press release courtesy of: Global Champions Tour