After a bit of a gap in competition, the Longines Global Champions Tour picks back up again today at the Al Shaqab Equestrian Center in Doha, Qatar. While Al Shaqab was originally created to preserve the history of the Arabian horse in Qatar, it has grown over time to be an exceptional international show venue which has played host to the circuit’s final stop since 2008.
The CSI5* (which you can always catch live and for free thanks to GCT TV) is as follows:
20 different countries will gather together to compete throughout the weekend. The United States has sent two of our most stellar competitors, Laura Kraut and Jessica Springsteen, to Qatar to compete. The dynamic duo of teacher and student, Ben Maher and Emily Moffit, have hopped over from the United Kingdom to defend their long-running winning streak. But LGCT champions Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands, Alberto Zorzi from Italy and Edwina Tops-Alexander representing Australia are all also in attendance and will no doubt be fighting to scoop up the prize money.
Sitting in the first place position in the LGCT rankings with over €450,000 higher in season prize than the second place rider is Ben Maher. He boasts a whopping 284 total points, but Alberto Zorzi is coming in hot behind him with 237. Harrie Smolders sits in the third place position, just three points behind Zorzi with 234 points. Coming in close behind Smolders id Daniel Deusser who sits on 233 points as of the last competition. And rounding out the top five is Scott Brash with 225 points. Every second will count as these five riders fight to change up that scoreboard this weekend.
In regards to the Global Champions League, this weekend will be one to make count as each team aims to rack up as many last minute wins as possible in hopes of qualifying for the finale in Prague. With 323 points the London Knights hold the lead with four first place finishes throughout the season. With a dynamic team consisting of Ben Maher, Martin Fuchs, Olivier and Nicola Philippaerts and Emily Moffit, this team has been a force to be reckoned with all season long. We have no doubt they will be on their A-game this weekend.
Ben Maher warming up with Explosion W. Photo by Stefano Grasso/LGCT-GCL
Falling in closely behind the formidable Knights are the 2016 champions, Valkenswaard United, with 300 points. With a handful of top three finishes all season long, this team could definitely shake up the leaderboard while in Qatar.
The Miami Celtics hold the third place position with 244 points, followed by the Rome Gladiators coming in at 235 points. Wrapping up the top five are the Shanghai Swans with 234 points. With such a close race, we could definitely see some movement on the scoreboard as this weekend progresses.
There is no doubt about it, this weekend is going to be heated as each rider scrambles to score those last minute points. Who will rise to the occasion? Follow along with JN to get the latest and greatest on LGCT and GCL news all weekend long!