Photo: GCL / Stefano Grasso
The sixth round of the thrilling Global Champions League series heads to Cannes, with a plethora of top show jumping names revealed for the first round of competition on the picturesque French Riviera.
The battle for supremacy could not be more intense, with teams fielding many of the most illustrious names within the sport. Following major upset in the last GCL event in Germany, Hamburg Diamonds will be looking to capitalise on their narrow five point lead, with the long-standing pairing of Harrie Smolders and Jos Verlooy teaming up for the Diamonds this weekend. With 98 points overall, the team are in prime position heading into the weekend, while long-term leaders and reigning Champions Valkenswaard United will look to leapfrog back up the order from second, where they sit on 93 points.
Round one of the action will see United anchor Alberto Zorzi head to Cannes - a new venue for the Italian star - alongside Janika Sprunger who will be making her debut for the team. Third place team, St Tropez Pirates sit on a tally of 86 points overall, with the team sending out a strong message by fielding heavy-weight duo Simon Delestre and Jérôme Guery - the French and Belgian riders long-term best friends and a formidable pairing.
Home team, the Cannes Stars are also pulling out all the stops, with multiple Olympian Ludger Beerbaum uniting with the team’s leading lady Jane Richard Philips for the first time this season. Fresh from their win in Hamburg, Miami Glory will also cement their intimidating line up of Scott Brash and Denis Lynch, with Scott a former winner of the LGCT Grand Prix in Cannes last year. Ones to watch will be Maikel van der Vleuten and Leopold van Asten who won the GCL Cannes in 2016, this time re-uniting for their new team Madrid in Motion, and the Paris Panthers will see Darragh Kenny and Jennifer Gates join forces for this leg of the Championship.
Positioned close to the Mediterranean Port of Cannes and the super-yachts in the bay, the first of the French events of the League is a very special horse show with a long-standing history. Drawn by the incredible level of sport on offer and the collection of international show jumping stars in attendance, visitors enjoy the ambience, glamour and nightlife of this famous city, home of course to the dazzling Cannes Film Festival.
With a whole host of top names in action this weekend, Shanghai Swans will bring out heavy-weight duo Daniel Deusser and Roger-Yves Bost, while Mexico Amigos will feature Christian Ahlmann and Evelina Tovek. Lorenzo de Luca and Olivier Philippaerts will be the men in green this weekend, as the impressive pair team up for the Rome Gladiators, and Ben Maher will be back in action alongside U25 star Emily Moffitt for the London Knights.
Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani and Bassem Hassan Mohammed will join forces once more for Doha Fursan Qatar, after last weekend’s podium propelled the team up the overall rankings. Just ahead are the racing green and gold Chantilly Pegasus, who will field young talent Lucy Davis alongside experienced Spanish star, Sergio Alvarez Moya.
The all-Belgian and rock-solid line up of Gregory Wathelet and Niels Bruynseels will be looking to impress for the Vienna Eagles, while Pieter Devos and Danielle Goldstein combine for the Monaco Aces. The Cascais Charms will feature a mix of youth and experience with Carlos Lopez and U25 rider Nicola Pohl, and the Berlin Lions will field Anna Kellnerova alongside Cindy van der Straten. Young Dutch talent Kevin Jochems will be back in action for the Moscow Bears, this time teaming up with Ramzy Al Duhami as all eyes turn to round six of the 15-event Championship.
Last year the Monaco Aces were able to pull it out of the hat to trump the rest of the teams in this hotly contested round, taking their first win of the season to the cheers of the crowds! But which team will shine in Cannes this season?
All the action will be streamed live via the GCL website, with expert commentary, behind the scenes content and in depth analysis throughout the weekend. Round 1 of the GCL competition, where teams battle it out for pole position and as few faults as possible, will kick off at 18:15 local time.