(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
By Global Champions Tour
Following the dramatic Longines Global Champions Tour of Shanghai Grand Prix, Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander has asserted her control of the LGCT 2014 Championship Ranking extending her lead to 23 points over Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum. The 2011 and 2012 LGCT Champion told reporters after Saturday’s feature class that her stallion Old Chap Tame had jumped “the best he’s ever jumped”.
Going into the fifth round of the season hosted by Cannes this weekend, there is all to play for – Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) in third is just 13 points behind Beerbaum, with Ben Maher (GBR), Marcus Ehing (GER), Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE), Doda de Miranda (BRA), Daniel Deusser (GER), Luciana Diniz (POR) and Eric Lamaze (CAN) all hot on the tail of the top three.
The fourth stage of the Tour in Shanghai was broadcast live to millions of homes around China and the wider region. The success of the Longines Global Champions Tour debut in Shanghai has put China on the map of world-class equestrian sport. Business leaders from across China and Asia joined senior Government officials, including the Mayor of Shanghai Yang Xiong, to witness international sports horses competing for the first time in mainland China.
Chinese spectators were thrilled at seeing such top-level competition first-hand. Even at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 riders were not allowed to bring foreign horses to the mainland and had to compete in Hong Kong instead. Over 100 media outlets from around China followed the event starting with the arrival of the best show jumping horses in the world earlier in the week to the final competition prize giving ceremony.
Looking ahead to the coming weekend of action in Cannes, the star-packed rider list will undoubtedly produce more world-class sporting spectacle. Can Edwina Tops-Alexander maintain her position at the top of the leaderboard?