A formidable eight out of the world’s top ten ranked riders, including all of the top five, will head to the breath-taking destination of Miami Beach for the second leg in the 2017 Longines Global Champions Tour season. Home hero and World Number 1 McLain Ward (USA) will lead the star-studded field to the highly anticipated venue, alongside World Number 2 and fellow American Kent Farrington (USA) and World Number 3, Daniel Deusser (GER).
In the Global Champions League, home team Miami Glory will be looking to make waves on the team Championship, after a strong result in Mexico see them rocket up the rankings to 4th place overall. Looking for a home advantage, the dynamic team will be hoping for a repeat of their podium position from 2016 and knock current leaders Valkenswaard United off the top spot.
Speaking about the unique event at Miami Beach, Georgina Bloomberg (USA), who returns to the show after a stunning result in the 2016 Grand Prix and also competes for GCL team Miami Glory, said: “Miami is unique and special to American riders because it’s the only US Global Champions Tour stop. It’s a beautiful setting and it gives spectators who don’t usually get the chance to see our sport be exposed to it. It’s rare that we get to ride so close to the ocean and have people wandering by and maybe stopping to check it out. It’s a special place to ride and between the setting and the importance of the competition, it has established itself as one of the premier shows in the world.”
Current LGCT Ranking leader Martin Fuchs (SUI) will be hoping to keep his Championship dream alive, as he heads to Miami Beach fresh from his LGCT Grand Prix of Mexico City win. Olympic Gold Medallist, Scott Brash (GBR) will return to the venue where he wowed the crowd in a sensational Grand Prix win in 2015 with Hello Sanctos. Fresh from his CSI5* win in Mexico City with Hello M’Lady, the top British athlete will battle it out against the likes of Christian Ahlmann (GER), Eric Lamaze (CAN), Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), Simon Delestre (FRA) and Harrie Smolders (NED), all of whom proved they were in stunning shape with strong results during the first leg of the season.
The Championship battle will take a dynamic turn, as riders move from the expansive grass arena of Mexico City to the smaller sand arena of Miami Beach, balancing all the challenges and advantages that may bring. With the sparkling Atlantic ocean just metres from the arena’s edge, the setting has become one of the most iconic in the sport, with riders, guests and fans flocking to the unique set up. With it’s vast array of cocktail bars, art houses and chic elegance, Miami Beach is one of the most iconic cities in the world – a fitting backdrop for a three day display of top calibre sport and entertainment.
American fans will also have plenty of local talent to cheer for as Laura Kraut (USA), Lauren Hough (USA), Jessica Springsteen (USA), Jennifer Gates (USA), Jack Hardin Towell (USA), Audrey Coulter (USA), Kimberly Prince (USA), Lucy Davis (USA), Todd Minikus (USA) and Margie Engle (USA) all take to home turf hoping to impress in front of a home crowd.
Entry to spectators is completely free, and fans will be able to enjoy a luxurious shopping village as well as top class sport, providing something for all the family. Last year saw a packed out grandstand with a fantastic passionate crowd cheering the riders as they battled it out for the prestigious top stop. With spectacular views, a unique set up and great support from the City of Miami Beach, the second leg of the Championship promises to be another exceptional stop on the 15-event series.
Further key names such as Roger-Yves Bost (FRA), Darragh Kenny (IRL), Gregory Wathelet (BEL), Steve Guerdat (SUI), Kevin Staut (FRA), Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), Jérôme Guery (BEL), Marco Kutscher (GER), Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) and Max Kühner (AUT) to name just a few, add to the star-studded line up, where it’s set to be another incredible event of top class sporting action as the world’s premier show jumping series heads to Miami Beach.
Edited press release courtesy of: Global Champions Tour