Heavyweight stars of show jumping head to Hamburg
Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
A heavyweight line up of the stars of show jumping will head to Hamburg this week as the Championship temperature hots up for the fifth leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour 2018 circuit.
Leading the pack will be 2017 LGCT Champion, and newly titled World Number 1 Harrie Smolders (NED), who will compete in the three day festival of show jumping with top horses - stallion Don VHP Z and the lightning fast Zinius. Another former Champion, and last year’s LGCT Grand Prix of Hamburg winner, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE) will compete in Hamburg - a special place for the top Swedish rider following his emotional win and retirement of the formidable stallion Casall.
Five time Olympic medallist and home hero Ludger Beerbaum (GER) will also be back and looking for another strong result at his local show ground. The top German rider has won the LGCT Grand Prix here before, and this year brings with him Casello (son of Casall) and top mare Chiara - clearly looking for a repeat of his former success in Hamburg.
Hamburg, Germany’s biggest port city and its ‘gateway to the world’ will host another stunning round of action on the Longines Global Champions Tour from 10th -12th May. This weekend also marks the 829th "Port Anniversary" which will celebrate with over 200 events in and around the city, making this a weekend of celebration. Every year in May, more than one million people 'set sail' to the shores of the Elbe to celebrate the anniversary of Hamburg's port.
Against the stunning backdrop of the Speicherstadt warehouse district, the magnificent Elbphilharmonie concert hall and the iconic Landungsbrücken piers, the yearly Port Anniversary weekend is filled with maritime-themed festivities.
Highlights of the Port Anniversary traditionally include the arrival of 300 vessels including tall ships, traditional sailing yachts and cruise ships. The LGCT of Hamburg is a hugely popular venue which attracted approx 91,000 fans to its vast show ground in 2017 due to the world-class show jumping on offer.
There will be plenty of home heroes for fans to support, with top German riders also including Marcus Ehning (GER), Christian Ahlmann (GER), Janne-Freiderike Meyer-Zimmermann (GER), Philipp Weishaupt (GER), Christian Kukuk (GER) and U25 star Laura Klaphake (GER), who pulled out a stellar performance in last year’s LGCT Grand Prix to dazzle the knowledgeable crowds.
They will face stiff competition from names such as Simon Delestre (FRA), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts (BEL), Michael Whitaker (GBR), Maikel ven der Vleuten (NED), Roger-Yves Bost (FRA), Gregory Wathelet (BEL), Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP), Denis Lynch (IRL), Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) all lining up for a chance to win the prestigious LGCT Grand Prix of Hamburg, and earn a place in the all-important GC Play Offs at the end of the season.
The current qualifiers for the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix include Scott Brash (GBR), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and last weekend's LGCT Madrid winner Ben Maher (GBR) - with eleven more places available in the ultimate showdown in show jumping.
At the Derby-Park Klein Flottbeck, families can enjoy picnics in the countryside setting where the German Jumping and Dressage Derby has been held for decades. Or visitors can take a trip into the city to enjoy a whole host of activities from sight-seeing to fine dining, music to museums. The first of two events hosted by the passionate horse country, Hamburg was last year the host of the prestigious stallion Casall's retirement, made extra special with his exceptional Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix win - a story that will go down in history as being one of the greatest.
With the level of competition and excitement building year on year, the fifth stop on the 13th season of the LGCT will be a thriller.
For the full line up, please click here.