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Tensions mount for Championship final at Al Shaqab

Tensions mount for Championship final at Al Shaqab

Ben Maher on his season and this year's possible Championship winner

"I am very lucky with the string that I have today, I can rest one whilst the others can jump the big classes and still remain competitive and hopefully near the top of the leader board!"

Published: Wednesday, November 20th 2013

Tensions mount for Championship final at Al Shaqab

World, Olympic and European Champions arrived today in Doha, Qatar ahead of the last big battle of the 2013 season – the Longines Global Champions Tour Final on Saturday 23rd November. Nine of the eleven top-ranked riders could still take the overall Championship title this weekend in what promises to be an incredibly closely fought contest. 

The top riders in contention for the 2013 Championship season win have brought their elite horses to the event. The following horses have made the journey to Qatar and are expected to compete in Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour Final Grand Prix: 

Cedric (Laura Kraut)
Aragon Z (Christian Ahlmann)
Ego van Orti (Edwina Tops Alexander)
Lennox (Luciana Diniz)
Casall ASK (Rolf Goran Bengtsson)
Chiara 222 (Ludger Beerbaum)
Hello Sanctos (Scott Brash)
AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno (Alvaro de Miranda)
Exquis Walnut de Muze (Harrie Smolders) 

USA’s Laura Kraut and Cedric have had a very consistent Longines Global Champions Tour season topped by a Grand Prix win in Wiesbaden. Laura leads the Championship Ranking by just two points, closely followed by Germany’s Christian Ahlmann in second and Australia’s Edwina Tops Alexander in third.  

Hotly tipped as one-to-watch is Britain’s Scott Brash, with his Olympic Gold medal-winning ride Hello Sanctos, currently lying in eighth overall. Scott has been on fantastic form recently, winning the FEI Oslo World Cup Qualifier and placing in the top eight of an impressive five Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix this season.

With horses such as London (Gerco Schroder), Cornet d’Armour (Daniel Deusser) and Plot Blue (Marcus Ehning) also in attendance, the top riders will have to be at their very best to ensure a great result in the final Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of 2013 in order to take the overall Championship win.  

The horses arrived by aeroplane over the weekend and have been acclimatising to the mild Middle Eastern weather conditions in Qatar. The final preparations for tomorrow’s opening class of the show are close to completion and the riders have been taking the opportunity to exercise their horses in the pristine arena or on the beautiful canter tracks of Al Shaqab.  

The incredible Al Shaqab stadium offers a stunning backdrop for what promises to be an electrifying Final. Watch full coverage of the event (21-23 Nov), plus all the build-up, LIVE at www.globalchampionstour.com/gct-live from tomorrow or catch up with the second round of the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix Final on Eurosport (Saturday 10.30pm CET). 

Ben Maher on his season and this year's possible Championship winner

Ben Maher is on top of the world, literally. Landing the World's number one ranked position for the third consecutive month, Ben Maher truly is leading the charge. Reflecting back on a strong summer season, which included a dominant number of Longines Global Champions Tour events, a European Team gold medal twined with a European Individual silver medal, Ben has completed the outdoor season stronger then ever.

Winning the Grand Prix of London with his incredible mare Cella was a particularly exciting moment for the Olympic gold medalist. Now that our 2013 season is coming to it's exciting climax in Doha, Qatar, we spoke with Ben Maher about his Longines Global Champions Tour season, his horses and who he thinks could quite possibly win the much-anticipated 2013 Season title.

How do you feel your 2013 LGCT season went? 

"I am always striving to do better, but generally, I am happy with my results.  Winning the Longines GCT inaugural event in London was a very special day – London is obviously lucky for me!  Cella was amazing that day and really sealed our partnership."

Which event was the one you enjoyed the most and why? 

"It has to be London as winning there was very special, but I love Monte Carlo and Estoril are two of my favourites."

You won the LGCT Grand Prix of London in the fastest jump off of the season. How did it feel to win in London with Cella, a year after winning Olympic gold in Greenwich? 

"People still comment on that jump off to me!  Because it was televised on the BBC it opened our sport up to the public who perhaps have not watched horses since London 2012.  It was an amazing jump off, but she is an amazing mare!"

Looking at the top 10 riders, who do you think will win this year's 2013 LGCT season title? Who will you be supporting for the final leg in Doha?

"I hope that Laura Kraut will win the LGCT.  She has some great horses and has been very consistent all season.  She is a very stylish rider and is able to ride lots of different types of horses with great success."

What do you think it takes to win the LGCT Season final? Is it something you will be aiming for in 2014 with your impressive collection of horses? 

"Consistency is one of the most important things nowadays in show jumping – LGCT is prestigious, glamorous and gives the world some of the best show jumping there is today, but the schedule is relentless and you have to have several top horses in order to compete week in week out."

"I am very lucky with the string that I have today, I can rest one whilst the others can jump the big classes and still remain competitive and hopefully near the top of the leader board!"


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