‘Global followers and unique locations’: new showing tour boats €17m prize fund

  • A new showing tour with an unprecedented prize fund has been launched under Jan Tops’ Global Champions banner. The Arabian Global Champions Tour, which was announced at the World Arabian Horse Championships in Doha, Qatar, will offer an incredible €17m in prize money.

    The tour will incorporate seven events, launching in February 2024 in the Middle East in Doha, before visiting Abu Dhabi and Muscat. There will be a further four European dates between July and December: Cannes, Valkenswaard, Rome and Paris.

    The Qatari-backed initiative is seeking to promote the Arabian horse, following the model of Jan’s hugely successful Longines Global Champions showjumping tour (LGCT), which was founded in 2006.

    The LGCT attracts the world’s top competitors and was expanded in 2018 to incorporate a second, team championship, the Global Champions League.

    At a press conference in Doha announcing the initiative, GCTV presenter Marc Lewis said: “We have created a unique Arabian horse tour that will bring the sport to the next level, connecting people and culture through a common passion.

    “One of the tour goals is to further develop and professionalise Arabian sports attract new fans. We want to use the platform of Global Champions to assist and grow. We want to create new opportunities for the stakeholders and most importantly, we want to ensure consistent, fair and balanced competition.”

    The Arabian Global Champions will follow a standard Arabian in-hand showing format, but competitors will accumulate points for top 10 placings throughout the tour, and there will be awards for both horses and handlers. While some horses will compete throughout the series, others can contest individual legs.

    More than €1m in prize money is available for each stage, with additional €5.5m available in bonuses in Doha and Abi Dhabi, plus an overall €4m championship bonus.

    At each event, the top performers in each of the three main categories — yearlings, junior and senior — will be able to win an individual top prize of €50,000.

    Jan said: “When people love horses in general, they will always respect the horse and I think the beauty horses also deserve a format similar to what we did with the Global Champions Tour, where they get global followers and unique locations [to show in].

    “They already have special locations in the Middle East but we will also get some new ones in Europe and they will be connected into a platform where the best horses in the world can be followed and get constant media attention.”

    Joanne Lowe, chairman of the UK’s Arab Horse Society, told H&H the tour could be a “great shot in the arm for the Arab horse”.

    “Currently, a small percentage of the prize money from the major Middle Eastern shows is used by the European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations (ECAHO) to award prize money to the first three places in ECAHO in-hand and performance classes at national shows around Europe and the Middle East. It would be nice if some of the funds from this tour could filter down to the grassroots end of the business in the same way,” she added.

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