Three of the world’s greatest show jumping stars will be locked in a ferocious championship points battle tonight for the 8th Grand Prix of the Longines Global Champions Tour series.
Under floodlights, next to the Bay of Cannes on the Mediterranean Sea, Christian Ahlmann, Ludger Beerbaum and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson will be fighting to put crucial points on the leaderboard as the championship hots up on the French Riviera.
With 8 out of the world’s Top 10 riders in Cannes this weekend the competition will be at boiling point. Germany’s Ahlmann will be determined to extend his formidable 60 point lead. He sits on top of the ranking on 186 points with his compatriot Ludger Beerbaum on 126 points and Rolf one point beind on 125 points.
The World Number 2 has been one of the most consistent riders on the Tour, scoring a minimum of 25 points at all but one of the seven legs so far. Christian has continually brought his top horses to the LGCT events, including his string of phenomenal stallions, Codex One (finishing 5th in Hamburg), Colorit (finishing 5th in Shanghai), Taloubet Z (finishing 12th in Madrid) and Epleaser van’t Heike (finishing 3rd in Miami Beach and 4th in Mexico City). Ludger Beerbaum (GER), who has won an impressive two out of the four LGCT Grands Prix he has competed in this season – in Hamburg with the relatively new Casello and in Chantilly with Chiara.
Close behind the leaders are Daniel Bluman, Bertram Allen, John Whitaker, Edwina Tops-Alexander, Harrie Smolders, Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani and Emanuele Gaudiano. World No2 Simon Delestre has already spoken about the “fantastic” LGCT event in Cannes and his strong season so far.
Already Ben Maher and Aristo, Bertram Allen, David Will and Denis Lynch have dazzled in the red carpet Mediterranean destination. Tonight Course designer Uliano Vezzani will be setting a big test in the compact sand arena for the 1.60m Grand Prix with €320,000 up for grabs. Already riders have been tested by an unseasonal downpour on Thursday night and a highly technical 1.50m course last night producing thrilling sporting action for the crowd and VIPs including Bruce Springsteen who is currently in the middle of a World Tour.
With the Olympic Games in Rio edging ever closer the riders are taking advantage of the world class calibre of competition at the high stakes LGCT events. The Grand Prix will be followed by the new Global Champions League team competition with 12 teams going into battle in the first round. The best 8 teams will hit the accelerator in the second round as they try to knock Valkenswaard United off the top spot in the ranking.
The championship circuit heads along the Riviera coast to Monaco from 24 – 26 June for more sizzling sporting action.
This competition will broadcast LIVE on the Longines Global Champions Tour website here, and also on Class Horse TV at 5.30pm CEST.
Photo Credit : Stefano Grasso / LGCT