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Six of World Top 10 to Doha for the LGCT Final

Monday, 31 October 2016
CSI5* LGCT Doha 2016

Photo (c) LGCT / Stefano Grasso Photo (c) LGCT / Stefano Grasso

Six out of the world’s top ten riders, including two out of the top three, will be heading to the Longines Global Champions Tour final, hosted by AL SHAQAB equestrian centre in Doha, Qatar. This year either Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) or Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) will claim the overall title, following a season-long battle for valuable ranking points.

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, who currently sits on a tally of 272 points, will be hoping for his first ever LGCT title win. The experienced Swedish rider has come excruciatingly close, not once but twice before, after tying with the leader on points but losing on the number of Grand Prix wins. Two-time LGCT overall winner Edwina, who has 267 points overall, will be hoping to secure a record never-before-seen third title, with a hat trick the first of its kind in the sport. Talking about her plans for the final, the top Australian athlete said: "My tactic is just to do my best and be on the podium. Although 5 points doesn't sound like much with the drop off scores it does work towards Rolf so I have to have a very good result on the day to win. But everything is possible and at the end of the day there is only one of us that can win and one of us to be second.”

The two in contention will be joined by the very best riders in the world, all vying for the top spot in the Grand Prix and the lion’s share of the €450,000 prize purse on offer. On top of that, the overall LGCT ranking bonus prize fund of almost €1 million will be divided, with riders using the final in Doha as their last chance to change the order up and down the leaderboard.

Home heroes and members of the Qatar Olympic showjumping team Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT), Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) and Ali Yousef Al Rumaihi (QAT) will compete in front of local fans and spectators, with the top Qatari riders looking for a strong result in the Grand Prix.

German rider and world number 9 Marcus Ehning (GER), who this season has won two LGCT Grand Prix (Madrid and Vienna) said: “I'm looking forward to Doha. It has been a very good GCT season for me, with two Grand Prix wins, and although I'm not in the fight for the championship it's going to be another amazing event and final.” 

Similarly, Irish star Bertram Allen (IRL), who currently sits 4th on the overall LGCT ranking table, spoke of his excitement ahead of the final and the top class competition at every Tour event so far: “I can't wait to get to Doha for the LGCT final. All year the tour has been incredibly competitive, with the best riders and horses at every show creating the best show jumping. The final at AL SHAQAB will be intense and I'm looking forward to competing.”

Other big names to join those at AL SHAQAB are former long term LGCT leader and current world number 1 Christian Ahlmann (GER) world number 2 Simon Delestre (FRA), world number 6 Daniel Deusser (GER), world number 8 and Rio Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut (FRA) and world number 10 Scott Brash (GBR).

Speaking about the incredible facilities at the magnificent AL SHAQAB venue, John Whitaker (GBR) said: “I'm really looking forward to going to AL SHAQAB in Doha for the GCT. As always with the tour the facilities are first class which is important when you're competing at the highest level with your top horses. The final will be really exciting so I'm looking forward to it.” 

Top Dutch rider, Harrie Smolders (NED) agreed: “Doha is for me the perfect place for the GCT final, with a very impressive stadium, great facilities and the apotheosis of the season coming up it has been another successful year in the history of GCT!”

Just a few of the other big names to head to Doha are Ludger Beerbaum (GER), Laura Kraut (USA), Michael Whitaker (GBR), Marco Kutscher (GER), Roger-Yves Bost (FRA), Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), Olivier Philippaerts (BEL),  Lauren Hough (USA), Jack Towell (USA), Laura Renwick (GBR), Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA).

The list of horses competing in Doha will be uploaded to the list of riders when the first vet check is complete.

 


Source: Press release from LGCT // Picture © Stefano Grasso

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