Photo: GCL / Stefano Grasso
The curtain to the 2017 Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League has today been raised as a pre-event press conference officially opened the new season. Speaking in front of the packed out venue in front of key local media, GCL Co-Founder Jan Tops said: "We are very happy to be here in Mexico. We saw last year when we hosted the event for the first time, the crowd and spectators were fantastic. It left a great impression, with the riders, with viewers around the world, so we are happy to have our first event [of the season] here."
Talking about the top sport and world class action on display this weekend, Jan continued: “We will have 6 out of the world’s top 10 riders competing here this weekend. As well as the top international riders in the world, we will have seven top Mexican riders competing - when they enter the ring they have a lot of support from the Mexican public who are very enthusiastic.”
Another topic was the innovative GCL team format, with Jan expanding on the increased involvement this season: “This year we will have an increased 18 teams, one of which is the Mexican team - the Mexico Amigos. This team includes one of the top riders in the world, Christian Ahlmann, so we will see great sport.”
Jan closed by thanking Oxer Sport and those involved with making the event in Mexico City possible. “To have an event like this takes a lot of hard work, and we could not do it without the great support of the Government and also the Tourism Board. I would also like to thank our Title Partner Longines who has been with us for the whole Tour. We also have a great partnership with the media such as CNN and Eurosport, and the first leg of the season will be very important.
Joining Jan, Francisco Pasquel, the Director General EQ MKT agreed that the atmosphere at LGCT Mexico City last year was electric: “Last year we saw an appreciative and exuberant crowd, with packed stands, sidelines and four-level VIP all creating an undeniable buzz. This year we expect the same. The centrally-based Campo Marte is located on Avenue Paseo de la Reforma, next to the National Auditorium in Chapultepec Park.”
The Campo Marte has a picture perfect grass arena, with large spaces for the world’s best horses to prepare for the competition this weekend. With world class sport, so must there be world class facilities, and Francisco explained the logistics behind hosting such an event: “As Jan mentioned, six of the best-ranked riders have confirmed their attendance to the show, and there will be so many good riders here. Over 100 horses have flown in to Mexico City and travelled from different parts of the world - while they stay in Campo Marte, they are met with first level facilities."
Talking about the venue itself and what is on offer for the general public besides top sport, Francisco elaborated: "In the shopping area, more than 50 brands will be represented in approximately 80 stands, not only equestrian but for all the public. Visitors will find fashion stands, accessories, equestrian equipment and the best gastronomy in the city. The Massimo Dutti children's area will have a series of workshops and educational games for children to enjoy in a great way.”
Juan Carlos Escribano, General Director of El Palacio de Hierro, Department of luxury in Mexico and partner for the event in Mexico City welcomed the LGCT and GCL. He said "For El Palacio de Hierro, it is a privilege to be once again part of the Longines Global Champions Tour, the most important equestrian circuit in the world that is based in Mexico City, home to our magnificent flagship store" The Palace of Palaces ". Our commitment to the development of equestrian sport is essential because it not only imposes a lifestyle, it is also synonymous with luxury and passion, values of excellence that are identified with our own."
In agreement was Germán Aguado Vanegas, Director of Mass Insurance GNP Seguros, who commented "At GNP Seguros we celebrate the greatness of Mexico and for the second year we are part of the most important equestrian circuit in the world: Longines Global Champions Tour. We wish long life and success to this fantastic event that offers a world-class experience showing how incredible our country is.”
The event will kick off on Thursday, with the opening round of the Global Champions League taking place at 16:00 local time. For more information and a full schedule, please click here.