Nineteen out of the world’s Top 20 riders will be competing at next weekend’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix as the eyes of the equestrian world turn to The Netherlands.
The incredibly high-calibre turnout for the latest stage of the world’s premier championship series is headed up by Longines Global Champions Tour ranking leader and current world No1 Christian Ahlmann. The 38-year-old German has already won a staggering €254,455 in prize money this season after winning in Hamburg on Codex One and clocking up Grand Prix podium places in London (Taloubet Z) and Chantilly (Codex One).
Ahlmann’s ranking score of 189 points gives him an impressive lead over Portugal’s Luciana Diniz in 2nd place on 166 points and Laura Kraut for the USA in third on 161 points. William Funnell and Ludger Beerbaum – see our exclusive interivew with Ludger on www.globalchampionstour.com/features ) – both neck and neck on 138 points.
British rider and Olympic team gold medallist Scott Brash is also aiming for success in Valkenswaard. Currently in 6th position on 133 points in the overall ranking Scott said: “I will have Ursula in Valkenswaard and hopefully she can put in a good performance.”
Christian Ahlmann said: “I am really happy with Codex. He has had a great season especially in Global Tour classes.” Christian lost out to the formidable Beezie Madden in the high powered jump off at the previous leg in Chantilly and Beezie will once again be turning up the heat in Valkenswaard where she won the Grand Prix in 2011.
Speaking about the event in Valkenswaard Ludger Beerbaum said it was his favourite on the circuit: “It’s a horsemanship even, great grass arena, a really great show.”
It promises to be a true battle of the show jumping titans for the 9th leg of the 2013 season. It is widely anticipated that the shake up of the ranking will ensure a nail biting climax across the final three events of the circuit with a frantic jostling for position in Lausanne, Vienna and finally in Doha, Qatar.
Once again the event in Valkenswaard will be a magnet for the best riders in the world and a host of VIP guests and thousands of spectators. All the action will be broadcast via the exclusive Longines Global Champions Tour livestreaming service on www.globalchampionstour.com/gct-live and there will be live broadcasts at the event from our special live studio at the heart of the arena in Valkenswaard.