Global Champions Tour 2013 opens a fantastic new chapter in equestrian sport with spectacular events in London, Doha, Shanghai and Madrid.
The world's premier show jumping championship series continues to go from strength to strength with a record 13 international events in its 8th season launched today. The Top 30 riders will once again deliver world class sport as they compete for the richest prize money in show jumping and the coveted GCT Championship crown.
Kensington Gardens in London will host the Global Champions Tour of Great Britain in June, the first-ever GCT event in the UK. The stunning show is set to take place in front of Kensington Palace in the heart of London, only one year after the Olympic Games. British Olympic gold medallists and UK jumping legends - including Nick Skelton, Ben Maher and Michael Whitaker, are sure to pull in the crowds at the dazzling event.
The starting gun for the Championship race will be fired in Madrid where the opening event of the season takes place from May 2-5. The most famous riders on the planet will begin the battle for ranking points at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid close to the sophisticated Spanish capital.
The GCT series continues to Hamburg and Wiesbaden in Germany and then to London and the Kensington Gardens venue next to the home of Prince William and his wife Kate. As the competition hots up, GCT moves to the Riviera locations of Cannes and Monaco before stopping off in Estoril, Chantilly, Valkenswaard, Lausanne and Vienna.
GCT is set to continue its show jumping revolution with the first-ever international 5* event in Shanghai, China, from October 4-6. The dynamic city with its gravity-defying skyscrapers, is set to be the first GCT in Asia. With fierce competition for the top spots on the leader board in full swing, riders will do battle at the China Pavilion in Shanghai's World Expo Park. Floodlit outdoor show jumping in Shanghai, known as the "Paris of the East", is expected to attract a star-studded cast of elite international riders, including reigning GCT Champion Edwina Tops-Alexander.
Qatar will host the GCT Championship Final at the prestigious state-of-the-art Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre in Doha. Founded by His Highness the Emir of Qatar, this magnificent new venue will see the best riders in the world pull out all the stops to win the GCT title for 2013. The 5* event at Al Shaqab, a world class equestrian facility and part of the Qatar Foundation, will take place from November 21-23 and will deliver an electrifying climax to the season.
GCT Founder and President Jan Tops said: "The 2013 season looks set to be a true classic for our sport, with great new venues in London, Doha, Shanghai and Madrid. At GCT we have always tried to break new ground and raise the profile of show jumping and equestrian sport in general. We want to bring our sport to more and more people in new parts of the world and it gives me real pleasure to see this becoming reality as we enter the new season."
Great Britain team gold medallist Nick Skelton said: "We need something like this for England. We don't have many international competitions and after the Olympic Games we had a lot of support and publicity, so to bring the Global Champions Tour to London is a great idea. It should attract a lot of people and spectators. I will definitely be there."
Known as the Formula One of show jumping, GCT attracts the highest concentration of top calibre riders to its events. World class sport in breathtaking locations has become the hallmark of the GCT experience. All this year's exciting Grand Prix action will be broadcast on Eurosport and all the action can be viewed live via GCT's livestreaming service on www.globalchampionstour.com. Last year over 21 million viewers tuned into Eurosport to watch exhilirating GCT Grand Prix show jumping in sensational locations and over 300,000 spectators attended the events.
Source: Press release from Global Champions Tour.