As the third and final Longines Global Champions Tour Championship contender, Harrie Smolders is without doubt the most consistent of the trio in terms of his performances throughout the year.
From a staggering four consecutive podiums, 9 LGCT Grand Prix starts for 4 double clears, with an impressive 3 horses contributing to his Championship points tally, it isn’t hard to see why he is wearing the leader’s armband heading into the Final showdown this week in Riyadh.
Aside from his stellar consistency throughout the year, the certain standout performance was aboard Uricas v.d. Kattevennen - taking the win in the LGCT Grand Prix of Riesenbeck. That, coupled with podium finishes in Monaco, A Coruna, and London, aboard Monaco N.O.P, Smolders shot to the top of the Championship leaderboard and into contention or the most coveted win of the season.
Heading into the Championship Final, Smolders holds the lead ahead of fellow countryman Maikel Van Der Vleuten by 14 points, and 16.5 ahead of Henrik Von Eckermann. Having won the Longines Global Champions Tour Championship in 2017, the question on everyone’s lips is, can Smolders steal the show and make it a Championship double?
1st Place, Harrie Smolders - 252 Points
2nd Place, Maikel Van Der Vleuten - 238 Points
3rd Place, Henrik Von Eckermann - 235.50 Points
Following his win in the LGCT Grand Prix of Riesenbeck, Smolders made history as the third ever person to secure a third consecutive LGCT Grand Prix podium. Not one to tie in a historical moment, he then progressed to hold the title as the only rider in the 16-year history of the Longines Global Champions Tour to finish the season with four consecutive podiums.
Having stood on top of the podium on Riesenbeck in what was turning out to be a record-breaking season, Smolders told GCTV that records could come, but his focus remains on his horses and results that follow: “I am focusing on my horses, if they feel well, I have to ride well, and then the results will come. I just need to be patient, take my chances, and if that leads into records then that is of course brilliant.”
GRAND PRIXS RIDDEN: 9
CLEAR ROUND RATE: 67%
HORSES CONTRIBUTING TO STANDING: 3
To put it simply, if Harrie Smolders finishes in the top 8 placed riders in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Riyadh, he will retain the lead and win the most coveted individual championship in the world of show jumping - the 2023 LGCT Championship.
For Henrik Von Eckermann or Maikel van der Vleuten to climb to top spot, it gets a little more complicated. Explore the links below to find out how dreams could be made this week!
All the action is set to be streamed live from Thursday 26 October – Saturday 28 October, with the ultimate individual Championship scheduled for Saturday evening local time.