Doha, With attendance of HE QOC President Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, the Longines Global Champions Tour of Doha got under way here at the Al Shaqab on Thursday.
Fifty riders from 15 different nations have entered in these top-level competitions, bringing their leading horses to compete under the lights in the Qatari capital.
The riders will be pulling out all the stops and selecting their best horses to get those early ranking points and aim to secure their golden tickets to the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs in November.
The opening day of the three-day event (March 5-7) sees a warm-up class for the combinations to get a feel for the stunning Longines Arena, allowing the horses to acclimatise to their surroundings before the competition kicks off on Thursday with the first round of the GCL team competition.
Nine out of the top ten riders from the 2019 LGCT overall ranking at the New York Finals are competing this weekend, and in the incredible facilities of Al Shaqab, it’s set to be a spectacle of world-class show jumping across all three days.
Many of the riders have brought their top horses to Qatar for this opening leg, hoping to start the season with a bang.
Belgian brothers Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) have brought some top talent, with Nicola riding H&M Chilli Willi and Katanga v.
H Dingeshof, who jumped consistently well in last week’s CHI competition at Al Shaqab, placing 5th in the Grand Prix. Olivier, meanwhile, rides his super stallion H&M Extra.
Olympian Scott Brash (GBR) brings Hello Senator and Hello Shelby to compete in this year’s opening leg.
Hello Senator competed at LGCT Doha in 2019, so he is well equipped to deal with the expansive arena and electric atmosphere and will be one to watch this weekend.
Meanwhile, last year’s two-time LGCT Grand Prix winner Maikel van der Vleuten (NEL) brings two talented horses to Doha, Arera C and Beauville Z, the latter of who is a previous LGCT Grand Prix winner.
Shane Breen (IRE) brings Z7 Ipswich this year. Ipswich gave Shane his first LGCT Grand Prix win at LGCT Monaco in 2018, and has been on flying form during the winter, making this an exciting partnership to watch this season.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee