This week’s debut of the Longines Global Champions Tour in London will see a strong field of top UK riders taking on the rest of the world to relive the glory of last summer’s Olympic Games. The show is being heralded as the most important international show jumping event to hit Britain since the Olympics and is much anticipated by the UK’s huge horse-loving community.
Olympic gold medallists Nick Skelton, Scott Brash and Ben Maher plus equestrian sport legends like the Whitaker brothers Michael and John are on the high calibre start list, which features most of the Top 30 riders in the world today. Prestige British media publications are already billing it as the “ritziest gig going” in the world of equestrian sport as they anticipate the show and some of the famous VIPs who attend.
The 13-strong contingent of British riders also includes: Robert Smith, Tim Gredley, Mark Armstrong, Tina Fletcher, William Funnell, Yazmin Pinchen, Alexandra Thornton and Laura Renwick. They will be up against the biggest hitters on the show jumping scene today including current Tour leader Laura Kraut, Christian Ahlmann, Edwina-Tops Alexander, Pius Schwizer and Ireland’s Denis Lynch.
Show jumping star John Whitaker, one of the most famous riders in Britain, said: “I’m really looking forward to the London show. It is fantastic that the Global Tour is coming to Great Britain and I can’t wait to compete.”
Olympic team gold medallist Nick Skelton said: “Hopefully we can have it every year. At the Olympics there were people who had never been to a horse show before which is why it is good to have an event like this in a city. I think it will be well received and we will get some good crowds getting a chance to see the world’s best riders.”
Leading British rider Mark Armstrong, who has represented his country in show jumping over 60 times, said: “I am really excited to be riding in the Global Tour on home soil in Great Britain. It’s less than a year after the phenomenal success of equestrian events at the Olympic Games and here we are in the Olympic Park with this great 5* event. I think the public will love it and it is great to see the BBC and Mayor of London in full support.”
Young British rider Yazmin Pinchen, who celebrates her 20th birthday tomorrow, experienced the top-level compeititon on the Tour when she took part in the Final in Abu Dhabi last season. She said: “It is going to be really exciting jumping on home turf. It is the first big prestigious international show here since the Olympic Games which is great for Britain. My horses are looking really and I can’t wait. All my friends will be coming to watch and suppport us.”
Tickets for this week’s event are still available through www.globalchampionstour.com or by calling +44 1933 304880. Tickets can also be purchased on the day at the venue: The International Quarter, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London.