Top Brits have been confirmed in the line-up for the 2017 Global Champions League (GCL).
Scott Brash (pictured), John Whitaker, Ben Maher, Emily Moffitt and Alexandra Thornton are the British contingent competing in the series this year. They will all be riding on opposing, mixed-nation teams, each of which has its own name and logo — for example, Scott is part of the Miami Glory team.
The series, which launched last year, boasts eight of the world’s top 10 riders in its line-up and a prize pot of €10.5 million.
It takes on a new format this season and has also grown from 12 teams last year to 18 for 2017.
“Last year the league was a really positive addition to our sport and I think this year, with a new format, we’ll see it develop and grow even further,” said Scott.
“The league is a great initiative to help reach new fans, while also giving great opportunities to riders — particularly those under 25 — and I’m looking forward to the season ahead.”
The rules state each team must include at least one rider aged under 25 — 30% of the current field fit this age bracket.
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New for this year is the extension of the competition to run over two days in each host city rather than one.
Teams can also now change horses and/or riders for the two GCL classes at each show.
There will be a transfer window from 17-24 July, where team owners can re-evaluate their squads to give them a better chance of victory.
League riders’ scores will now also count for both their team and individual position, to qualify for the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix.
Other world-leading riders taking part in this year’s series include Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Cian O’Connor; Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, Christian Ahlmann and Daniel Deusser; and France’s Simon Delestre and Roger-Yves Bost.
“I’m really looking forward to taking part in the GCL again this year — it’s a game-changer and I think brilliant for our sport and the future of showjumping,” said Bertram.
“It was an honour and a bit of a dream to compete in a team with John [Whitaker] last season, and I’m really looking forward to riding with my new teammates to try keep the title.
“I think what Jan Tops [one of the league’s founders] has done to develop and innovate show jumping over the years is exceptional and I’m very happy to be part of the future and progress of our sport.”
The 15-leg league starts in Mexico City on 6-9 April, with other locations including Shanghai, Rome, Berlin, London, Monaco, Cannes and Doha.
Read more about the latest Global Champions League and Global Champions Tour news in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound — out now