11 October 2023

UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: Can Henrik Von Eckermann Take the Championship in Riyadh?

UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: Can Henrik Von Eckermann Take the Championship in Riyadh?

Does it come down to horsepower? Lifetime success? Or, do we look at this season’s data? What is the likelihood of Von Eckermann taking the top spot in Riyadh?

As a two-time 2023 Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Grand Prix winner, both times aboard World Championship winning mount, King Edward, Henrik von Eckermann is unsurprisingly in contention to take top spot in this year’s Championship race. 

Neither of the other two Championship contenders - Harrie Smolders or Maikel van der Vleuten match Henrik’s tally of LGCT Grand Prix wins this year, however we’ve done the maths, and there are a few statistics that may surprise the biggest of Von Eckermann & King Edward fans amongst us. 

Quick Facts: Henrik Von Eckermann’s
2023 LGCT Championship Season

LGCT GP’s Jumped = 12

LGCT GP Clears = 3

LGCT GP Double Clears = 2

LGCT GP Podiums = 2

LGCT GP Wins = 2

Horses ridden  in LGCT GP’s = 4

Horses contributing to the best 8 results = 4

Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix Standings 
Ahead of Stage 15 & The Championship Finale in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Harrie Smolders - 252 Points

Maikel Van Der Vleuten - 238 Points

Henrik Von Eckermann - 235.50 Points

Henrik’s Horsepower

King Edward, Iliana, Calizi, Glamour Girl

With four horses used in Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix’s in 2023, and all four of these horses having now finished inside the top eight of arguably the most competitive 5* Grand Prix series in the world, could the undeniable consistency of Henrik’s equine partners scream success in the upcoming season finale? 

In King Edward’s six LGCT Grand Prix this year, he has in fact accrued an average penalty rate of 4.67 faults, though the two double clears produced have resulted in two wins this year, taking out both the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Stockholm in May, and Rome in September. 

The Cardento 933 x Gentlemen mare, Iliana, can not be overlooked as a point-scoring contributor, with her two LGCT GP starts producing two clear rounds, and two top eight finishes. Glamour Girl adds her 100% strike rate, with one LGCT GP start producing a clear round and a top 8 finish. 

Lastly, Calizi - the 10 year old by Cellestial. Carrying the weight of 3 LGCT Grand Prix starts, Calizi has also added points to Henrik’s Championship pursuit with one finish inside the top 8. 

    Speaking of King Edward

    Coming back with a bang after a less than ideal performance in London, Henrik and his world famous King Edward were clearly back on form in Rome. Following his second LGCT Grand Prix win of the year, Henrik spoke exclusively with Marc Lewis and GCTV about ‘the feeling’. 

    “I had two shows that were not that great with King Edward, I lost a little bit of the feeling and there were a couple of things, like I changed to a hackamore, and the feeling that something is not really like it should be... I was almost getting a bit crazy because you know how it should be but you don’t really ‘get it’...”

    His contemplative expression then turned to a beam as he added: “and now it was back how it should feel… and that for me, of course winning is amazing, but that feeling when you feel that you are back and the horse is with you to 100%, the team you have… that is everything, just everything.”

    WATCH NOW: Henrik von Eckermann Post Studio Interview | LGCT Grand Prix of Rome 2023

    The Winning Formula: It’s All In the Detail

    The only way that reigning World Number 1, Henrik Von Eckermann could steal the show is to podium in the LGCT Grand Prix of Riyadh. Let’s take a look at the point scoring scenario:

    • If Henrik secures 3rd place, his points accrue to 252.5. To take the win, Smolders can’t earn any points - he must place 14th or lower, and Van Der Vleuten can not be first or second
    • What about 2nd Place? Smolders can’t be 11th or higher, and Van Der Vleuten can’t take the win
    • Now for first: Henrik’s points will add up to 257.5, meaning Van Der Vleuten is out of contention no matter his place, and Smolders can not be in the top 8.  

    As a man that has won almost everything there is to win in the world of show jumping, could the enviable and highly sought after Longines Global Champions Tour Championship trophy be the ultimate addition to Henrik Von Eckermann’s wide collection and become his mantlepiece hero? Time will tell. 

    Invincible Von Eckermann? Von Eckermann & King Edward Steal the Show in Rome

    The question remains - just how will this Championship story play out? The page for the 2023 history book is set to be written from 28 - 30 October in glittering Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city where the fusion of past and present comes together just like the Longines Global Champions Tour individual Championship. .

    All the action will be streamed live via GCTV, don’t miss the history unfold. 


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