Scott Brash lines up tomorrow (Saturday 15 November) in a bid to retain the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) title he claimed 12 months ago — and claim the lion’s share of over €1.7 million in prize-money.
Forty of the world’s leading showjumpers are at the Al Shaqab stadium in Doha, Qatar, this week for the final five-star LGCT grand prix of the season. But all eyes are on the three riders who remain in contention for overall honours, to be decided in Saturday evening’s grand prix — worth a cool €450,000 to the winner.
The Scotsman, who has held his spot as number one in the world for a year now, brings his top horse Hello Sanctos while Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, the world number two, takes the reins on Zinedine after his top mare Chiara was ruled out of the season finale. The final contender from the top of the LGCT rankings is Sweden’s Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, who rides the in-form stallion Casall Ask.
Coming into the final round Ludger holds the lead in the overall standings, with Rolf in second and Scott third. However, Scott has one less counting round which makes things tight at the top.
In order to retain his crown, Scott needs to finish fifth or higher — and have the mighty German rider behind him.
If Ludger finishes anywhere higher than Scott, the title is his, while the pressure is on for the Swedish rider, who has to win Saturday’s big class in order to earn enough points for victory.
Scott has already enjoyed a sensational season on the Tour, winning a record-breaking three grands prix with Lord and Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s 12-year-old gelding Hello Sanctos.
“I will do my best to win the Championship again this year,” said Scott. “I have had a fantastic season and Sanctos has been incredible, but Ludger is still in the lead at the moment and he will be a tough man to beat.”
Ludger added: “I will be watching him [Scott] closely.”
Rolf, who led the standings early on in the season, knows he has a tough job ahead.
“It’s not impossible, but both Scott and Ludger will be super-motivated,” he said.
See the full interview with the three riders ahead of Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour decider below:
Find out how who claims the title — and read the full report from the Longines grand prix of Doha — in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound (out Thursday 20 November).