Global Champions Tour: New York to host nail-biting finale
Global Champions Tour: New York to host nail-biting finale. After months of exhilarating action across a host of major cities, the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) reaches its dramatic conclusion this weekend in an unmissable showdown in New York.
Only one point separates this season’s top two riders with Belgian Pieter Devos inching ahead of reigning champion Ben Maher in the tightest title race of the tournament’s history.
Despite sitting in second place, Maher may well have the upper hand over his fierce rival, with only nine scores counting in each rider’s tally for the season.
The Briton will regain his crown should he finish in fifth place or above, and would need to finish in 14th or higher should Devos place in the top five.
However, there is still an outside chance that German Daniel Deusser can cause an upset.
Deusser, who is in third place, would need to rely on both men above him not qualifying for the weekend’s Grand Prix event, which is unlikely given both are likely to bring their best horses — Claire Z (Devos) and Explosion W (Maher) — to the US.
Among the big-name Americans competing in front of their home crowd at the Governors Island venue off the southern tip of Manhattan are Georgina Bloomberg, Jessica Springsteen and Jennifer Gates.
“This is the first time in years that we will have the best showjumping riders in the world – not just in the country, in the world – come and jump in the highest level of competition,” said Bloomberg, the daughter of businessman and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“This is really the best of the best in the world and I think that anybody who comes will really see the excitement of the sport. I think that it’s going to be the one that all the top riders really want to aim for.”
New Jersey-raised Springsteen, who won the most recent LGCT Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez, added: “It’s my home town, my whole family are coming. I think it is going to be unbelievable – I’m so looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, in the Global Champions League (GCL), there is all still to play for at the top of the standings after a dizzying campaign for the 16 teams involved.
The St. Tropez Pirates — represented in New York by Devos, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Dani G. Waldman — are on top in the rankings but they are closely followed by the Shangai Swans, who sit just two points behind. Deusser, Peder Fredricson and Shane Sweetnam will ride for the Swans this weekend.
Defending champions London Knights — Maher, Martin Fuchs and Olivier Philippaerts — are six points further adrift, despite recording the most wins this season with four.
Madrid in Motion are another six points back after a consistent season, including two wins.
In addition to the GCL title up for grabs, teams will also be fighting for a place in the GC Prague Playoffs, with the top four ranked teams being fast-tracked to the semifinals.
The season finale in the Czech Republic is worth an eye-watering $3.3 million and will take place between November 21-24.