Four Brits, five Olympic champions, the world number one and a 66-year-old legend: meet the €1.25m Super Grand Prix riders

  • A world class field of 15 showjumpers have qualified for the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix in Prague on Saturday, 20 November. 

    With contenders ranging from the 66-year-old legend John Whitaker to 24-year-old US debutant Spencer Smith, the stage is set for a thrilling showdown for one of the most prestigious classes in the showjumping calendar.

    Each of the 15 riders has qualified for Saturday night’s two-round class by winning an LGCT grand prix this season, or finishing as runner-up behind an already qualified rider. The 1.65m class will be one of the feature competitions at the GC Prague Playoffs in the Czech Republic capital.

    Great Britain fields an impressive field of four representatives including the reigning Olympic champion Ben Maher and his uber-horse Explosion W, who will be looking to defend their title from 2019, when they landed a historic victory. Ben will be joined by his Olympic team-mate Scott Brash, the multi-medal winning John Whitaker and Sameh El Dahan, who switched nationality recently to wear the British flag instead of Egypt’s colours.

    The number one ranked rider in the world, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, won the overall LGCT championship this year and lines up alongside his Olympic gold medal-winning team-mates from Tokyo, Henrik von Eckermann and Malin Baryard-Johnsson.

    The full list of athletes bidding for the €1.25m prize-money for this year’s Super Grand Prix is as follows 

    • Niels Bruynseels (Belgium), age: 37, world ranking: 32
    • Olivier Robert (France), age: 45, world ranking: 23
    • Peder Fredricson (Sweden), age: 49, world ranking: 1
    • Ben Maher (Great Britain), age: 38, world ranking: 8
    • Scott Brash (Great Britain), age: 35, world ranking: 5
    • Sameh El Dahan (Great Britain), age: 36, world ranking: 141
    • Darragh Kenny (Ireland), age: 33, world ranking: 17
    • Sergio Alvarez Moya (Spain), age: 36, world ranking: 80
    • John Whitaker (Great Britain), age: 66, world ranking: 85
    • Daniel Deusser (Germany), age: 40, world ranking: 2
    • Harrie Smolders (Netherlands), age: 41,world ranking: 13
    • Malin Baryard-Johnsson (Sweden), age: 46, world ranking: 38
    • Bryan Balsiger (Switzerland), age: 24, world ranking: 34
    • Spencer Smith (USA), age: 24, world ranking: 71
    • Henrik von Eckermann (Sweden), age: 40, world ranking: 3

    “Anything can happen this week, which is why it is such an interesting format,” said Peder Fredricson. “I really enjoy being here, it is a fantastic city and this is a show we are all looking forward to with the best horses in the world and against the best riders, for really good prize-money. So we are very excited for this weekend.”

    The Super Grand Prix will kick off at 7pm GMT on Saturday 20 November in Prague’s O2 Arena.

    Don’t miss H&H’s coverage of the event online and in next week’s issue of the magazine, out Thursday 25 November.

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