Vamos, México! Longines Global Champions Tour Starts Today in Mexico City
Now that the World Cup Final is over, time for a new beginning in the show jumping world. Just a few days after Omaha, the Longines Global Champions Tour kicks off today in Mexico City. From now until November in Doha, the Tour will bring together the world’s best horses and riders for competitions at 15 picturesque spots across the planet.
Among those gathering this weekend 2,000 metres above sea level at the Campo Marte (Mars Field) in the city’s 686-hectare Chapultepec Park are Great Britain’s Scott Brash with horses Hello M’Lady and Ursula XII, and Ireland’s Bertram Allen (Hector van d’Abdijhoeve, Quiet Easy 4). They will be battling other stars of the sport such as Canada’s Eric Lamaze (Chacco Kid, Fine Lady 5) and Germany’s Daniel Deusser (Equita van T Zorgvliet, Happiness van ‘t Paradijs) to obtain bragging rights in the €320,000 CSI5* Grand Prix at 1.60 metres.
It is hard to miss Campo Marte when you are in Mexico City, with its massive Mexican flag flying 100 metres (328 feet) above the site. And the venue sets the tone for the other sites which will host the Tour in the months ahead, including next week on the beach in Miami Beach, Florida (April 13-15).
Indeed, all the competition sites in 2017 give a real local taste of their host cities, offering a postcard view for spectators. In Monaco at the end of June, for example, show jumping will take place in the former Formula 1 pit-stop lane beside super-yachts in the city’s Hercules Port. Shortly afterwards in Paris, riders will take to the Champ de Mars fields at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
In London in August, the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea — home of the famous Chelsea Flower Show — will host riders and horses beside the River Thames. And in Rome, the ‘Eternal City’, the Stadio dei Marmi (Stadium of the Marbles) — a stadium built in the early 20th century and ringed by 59 classical marble statues depicting different sports — will be the setting for the Italian leg of the event.
This year for the first time, the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) and Global Champions League (LGCL) will be fully integrated. There are 18 5-rider teams in the League, each selecting two riders for the different competitions, including up-and-coming riders. The team GCL events serve as qualifiers for the individual GCT Grand Prix, and both lead to championship trophies (individual and team) at the end of the circuit.