Global Champions Tour showjumpers return to London in historic new venue

The world’s leading showjumping series — the Longines Global Champions Tour (GCT) — will return to London next year, but in a spectacular new venue.

Showjumpers will compete against the backdrop of Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, central London. GCT organisers say it will make London one of the “flagship” events of the 2014 series.

The site, where the Trooping of the Colour takes place on the Queen’s birthday, was the venue for beach volleyball at the London Olympics last year.

The inaugural 2013 London leg of the GCT was held at the Olympic Park in east London — but will be in the heart of the capital when it returns in 2014.

“It is a privilege to stage the London event at this famous and iconic location,” said GCT founder and president — Dutch Olympic gold medallist Jan Tops.

“Spectators will be able to watch the best riders in the world up close and we want to welcome people who are fans of showjumping and those who are new to the sport,” he added.

The London GCT debut this year was watched by almost 1 million people on the BBC as British Olympic team gold medallists Ben Maher and Nick Skelton battled it out in the grand prix. Ben and the grey mare Cella triumphed in one of the most exciting jump-offs in recent years.

The GCT tour will feature 13 legs in 2013, including Shanghai, Monte Carlo and Madrid. Riders accumulate points in the championship race, which offers the highest prize money of any showjumping series. This year, Ben and Nick’s Olympic teammate Scott Brash became the youngest ever winner, at the final in Doha.

Tickets for the London leg will start from £20 for a full day and will go on sale early in the new year.