John Whitaker: London GCT is a boost for British showjumping *H&H VIP*

  • Opinion

    The London leg of the Global Champions Tour is a super show and has found a perfect setting at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

    The showjumping was superb and what a great boost it was for the sport in this country — we had five British winners across the five- and two-star classes and, of course, the grand prix really was an exceptionally good class.

    Interestingly, Scott only qualified by the skin of his teeth, but he came out and proved unbeatable as first to go in the jump-off. His round with Hello Mr President was fantastic and the rest of the riders simply couldn’t get near him.

    What really struck me was seeing four British riders reach the jump-off — and with three of them riding nine-year-olds and 19-year-old Harry Charles doing a very decent job, it all looks very promising for our sport. And, of course, my brother Michael did a good job on a very green horse to keep up the side for us oldies!

    On a personal note, it was a disappointing show as Argento injured himself on the first day and it didn’t work out with Cassinis Chaplin this weekend; all the more frustrating when they’ve both been jumping exceptionally well in the past few weeks and I’d been looking forward to competing well on home soil.

    Revolutionary ideas

    I’ve been jumping on the Global Champions Tour (GCT) since it started 12 years ago and I still find it unbelievable how the sport has changed in that time — and they’re expanding the circuit all the time.

    I wasn’t sure about the Global Champions League (GCL) team format when it was introduced two years ago, but with a few tweaks along the way it’s definitely growing on me.

    The initial idea is revolutionary and exciting and all the riders want to be part of it — especially when you’re winning, because the money is so good.

    Tactically, it can be difficult as a rider as you’re torn in three directions. You want to do well for your team, but it also acts as a qualifier for the grand prix and offers a lot of money in its own right, so there’s a lot to think about and you can easily blow it all.

    I’m sure all the showjumping groupies will know exactly what’s going on in the GCL and love it, but I’m just not sure how much the general public, who come to enjoy a weekend of jumping, understand it.

    But overall, I think it’s working and is definitely here to stay. It all adds to the unique blend that makes competing on the GCT very special.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 8 August 2018