William Funnell: The crowd seemed confused by format at LGCT London *H&H VIP*

Opinion

The London leg of the LGCT was an unbelievable show once again. It’s a super venue and it’s nice for British riders to get a glimpse into this world. But therein lies the problem — the LGCT has become a totally insular subsection of the sport.

The series is a completely different type of showjumping — underlined after I arrived from the big grass rings of Hickstead and Falsterbo — more often than not held in similar sand arenas, with the same Longines combination and lines from the same course-builders every week.

But with riders such as world number one Steve Guerdat having not competed on the Globals for the past two years, there’s proof you don’t need to be in the LGCT bubble to survive.

On Saturday, the seats were full for the start of the first class, but the GCL format made it confusing and the crowd showed little interest.

The grand prix that followed was a really great class, but it looked as though a good portion of the crowd had left before the start — possibly because they didn’t understand what was going on. Showjumping is so-called because we’re trying to create a show for people to enjoy. I hope GC president Jan Tops comes up with a better system.

But among the positives to have come from the series are the opportunities for under-25 riders, such as Great Britain’s Harry Charles, who is doing a great job at the moment.

Pinning our hopes

We all know the quality of Ben Maher, but Explosion W proved he’s one of the best in the world by coming so close in the contrasting grand prix at Aachen before winning in London.

And with Hello M’Lady going so well, Scott Brash looks to have done a great job in having her ready to peak at the Europeans.

It bodes well that hopefully these two will be the linchpins in Rotterdam — which looks likely now to be our only way of qualifying for the Olympics. Let’s hope they do it because you cannot underestimate what a huge impact not having a team in Tokyo will have for years to come.

Ref Horse & Hound; 8 August 2019