By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) brings together the top ranked show jumpers in the world to compete in prestigious locations for substantial prize money, according to organizers. The event is happening April 18-20th, with over forty horse and riders compete from 25 countries.
Show jumping, also known as “stadium jumping”, “open jumping”, or simply “jumping”, is a part of a group of English riding equestrian events. The LGCT, perhaps the premier show jumping series returns to the U.S. for the fifth year running and promises thrilling sporting entertainment as top American riders compete against the best international riders.
Fans are in for spectacular scenes as riders jump literally next to the clear waters of Atlantic Ocean, and Miami Beach will provide the perfect backdrop as the world’s top horses and riders compete to gain valuable points in the overall Championship season battle. Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) has been the only double winner of this stunning event, but will face hot competition from her closest rivals.
Overall ranking leader Niels Bruynseels (BEL) will be aiming to extend his lead of 55 points, hbut pressure will be on as second and joint third placed men Daniel Deusser (GER) – who is three points away 52 overall – and Ben Maher (GBR) plus Pieter Devos (BEL) – who are both just seven points away with 48 overall – will be hoping for a strong result in Miami Beach.
But he’ll face stiff competition from two-time LGCT Grand Prix of Miami Beach winner Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), as well as 2015 winner Scott Brash (GBR), both of whom will be looking for a repeat of their previous wins here.
American fans will be able to cheer on home heroes, including Laura Kraut (USA), Kent Farrington (USA), Jessica Springsteen (USA), Georgina Bloomberg (USA), Mclain Ward (USA), Jennifer Gates (USA) and Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA).
But it’s set to be a battle of the best, with a heavyweight international field also flexing their muscles, with big names such as Harrie Smolders (NED), Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), Olivier Philippaerts (BEL), Peder Fredricson (SWE), Simon Delestre (FRA), Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), Eric Lamaze (CAN), Bertram Allen (IRL), Christian Ahlmann (GER) and Jerome Guery (BEL) – still on a high from his win in Mexico City.
Speaking after his recent win, Guery said: “I have only been riding this horse for two months, so the combination is really new for me. The horse comes from my best friend. He gave it to me as he knew this is a special horse, and he deserved to go to 5* shows.”
Adding “I didn’t expect to win today and I’ve never had a feeling like this about a horse. For me Mexico City is my favourite LGCT – it’s an amazing show, I like the big arena and as my first LGCT this year to start with a victory is amazing.”
The Longines Global Champions Tour brings together the top ranked show jumpers in the world to compete in remarkable locations for unprecedented prize money. The fifteen event Tour offers some of the most exciting competition of any equestrian series.
The LGCT schedule had the event most recently in Mexico City April 11-13th, and the next stop is Shanghai on May 3-5th. After that it is on to Madrid, then Hamburg and Cannes.