Image: The 2018 GCL Calendar
2018 will see a formidable line up of 17 events across continents as the Longines Global Champions Tour and GCL circuit expands to bring top-level show jumping to new venues.
The sophisticated Riviera resort of Ramatuelle/Saint Tropez will this summer join the international parade of unique destinations, including some of the world’s foremost capital cities.
And each of the 16 events of the regular season will be part of a thrilling countdown to spectacular new Global Champions Prague Playoffs in the magical Czech capital city.
GCL teams will be announced soon as riders prepare for another fiercely competitive championship series. The Longines Global Champions Tour individual series, attracting the consistently highest concentration of top riders, promises thrilling action for fans and viewers. Last year over 80% of events featured a minimum of 7 out of the top 10 ranked riders in the world. 2017 LGCT Champion Harrie Smolders said: “A higher level is not possible."
With extra entertainment, behind-the-scenes features and in-depth analysis for fans, this year's Championship race will be unmissable.
Mexico City (22nd - 25th March) will host the electric season opener, with the world's best jumping at 2,000 metres above sea level before heading down to the breathtaking destination of Miami Beach (5th - 7th April) for the fourth consecutive year; only metres from the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.
The globe-trotting journey sees the Championship head to Shanghai (20th - 22nd April) in China where the ground-breaking event continues to attract an ever-increasing Asian fanbase. The circuit then gallops to the stunning Spanish capital, Madrid (4th - 6th May) for the first of the European events before returning to the hugely popular Hamburg (10th - 12th May), Germany, where over 90,000 fans celebrated top stallion Casall's final Grand Prix win and retirement last year.
The spectacular new destination of Ramatuelle/Saint Tropez (31st May - 2nd June) will join the global line up to kick-start the charge along the French Riviera, and will see riders head to the legendary Pampelonne Beach with it's turquoise waters and enviable blue skies. Just a short cruise along the Côte d'Azur will see the 7th round of action in Cannes (7th - 9th June), the City of Stars, as the spotlight shines on the first of the evening events.
The long-standing destination of Cascais, Estoril (14th – 16th June) will welcome the Championship with typical Portuguese warmth and flair before the series returns to Monaco (28th - 30th June), where horses will compete in the same space as the Formula 1 pit lane, next to the famous Port Hercule yacht harbour.
Fans and guests will be treated to breathtaking views as the Championship heads to the French capital, Paris (5th - 7th July) where show jumping is set against the backdrop of the iconic Eiffel Tower. Paris is a fusion of top sport, gastronomy, art and culture for an all-encompassing lifestyle experience. The 11th round of action will take place in the fairytale setting of Chantilly (13th - 15th July), where the Chateau and Grand Stables provide another head-turning backdrop to the explosive sporting action.
Germany’s capital city Berlin (27th - 29th July) will welcome back thousands of passionate fans following last year’s debut when a sold-out audience witnessed their home heroes take an emphatic 1-2 on the podium.
The British capital will build on the success of last year’s stunning debut at the beautiful Royal Hospital Chelsea, in the heart of London (3rd - 5th August). The sought-after location next to the River Thames, with historic connections to the British Royal Family and close to Knightsbridge and London's West End, is famously home to the Chelsea Pensioners and is also the site of the world famous Chelsea Flower Show.
The premium facility of Tops International Arena in Valkenswaard (10th - 12th August), The Netherlands, will bring top class show jumping to the epicentre of equestrianism in Europe. One of the foremost equestrian destinations in the world, the venue also hosts events for young riders and young horses in May and July, and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
The Italian capital Rome (6th - 9th September), will welcome back the world's best for the 15th event in the Championship battle, with fans filling the Stadio dei Marmi and making the most of the natural amphitheatre – the classic marble statues watching over the gladiatorial fight.
The grand finale of the regular season will unfold once more in Doha (8th -10th November), Qatar, where AL SHAQAB plays host to nail-biting action, the last chance for riders to secure their positions on the Championship ranking, as well as earn a place in the all-important GC Playoffs.
With the top 16 GCL teams qualifying for the final weekend of the season, the magical city of Prague, Czech Republic, will see a high-stakes showdown. On top of edge-of-the-seat team competition, the winners of each LGCT Grand Prix event from the 2018 season will be invited to compete in the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix; the ultimate individual showdown for the world's best horses and riders.
The premiere of the thrilling new event for team show jumping, the Global Champions Super Cup will take place from 13th to 16th December 2018 at Prague’s dynamic O2 arena, which hosts major concerts and sports events.
Fans around the world can be part of the exhilirating circuit by tuning into the Global Champions streaming platform and stay connected on social media. With more events, bigger prize money and the world's best athletes fighting for every valuable ranking point, the 2018 season promises to be a blockbuster.