A €10m ad­di­tion to showjump­ing’s rich­est se­ries

A new show at the end of next sea­son takes the to­tal prize money on of­fer in the elite showjump­ing se­ries to £31m

Horse & Hound - - News - By ELEANOR JONES

THE ex­ten­sion of the 2018 Global Cham­pi­ons League (GCL) to in­clude a €10mil­lion (£8.96m) team play-off fi­nal could have ben­e­fits for other lev­els of showjump­ing, riders be­lieve.

Com­peti­tors will head to Prague from 13-16 De­cem­ber next year, for the first in­door event in the GCL and Global Cham­pi­ons Tour (GCT) cal­en­dar.

The best 16 teams from the GCL sea­son will qual­ify for the play-offs, with the top four “fast­tracked” to the semi-fi­nals.

The over­all com­bined prize money for the GCT, the GCL and the new play-offs next sea­son will be €35m (£31.3m).

The show is due to run the week­end be­fore Olympia 2018, but showjumper Wil­liam Fun­nell did not think the tim­ing would have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on the Lon­don CSI5*, which runs a World Cup qual­i­fier.

“Yes, it will af­fect the top 15 [on the FEI world rank­ings] as they’ll have the op­por­tu­nity to go, but most of those on the global tour wouldn’t have gone to Olympia any­way,” he told H&H.

“You might miss a few but peo­ple will still want to get their World Cup points. What it also means is that oth­ers will get an op­por­tu­nity, which is healthy for the sport; maybe we’ll see some new tal­ent com­ing through.”

For­mer top showjumper Gra­ham Fletcher said the prize money was “phe­nom­e­nal”.

But he said he would like to see higher prize money at more shows, in­clud­ing na­tional events.

“The [Great] York­shire and the Royal High­land are the only two to have in­creased prize money re­cently; at some, it’s the same as it was 20 years ago,” he said.

“We can talk about money at the top end but I’ve al­ways said: if it fil­ters through and there’s more money for up-and-com­ing riders, that makes good pro­fes­sion­als.

“The more prize money there is that can be dis­trib­uted to more riders, the more we’ll pro­duce who can keep their top horses.

“This money is al­most in foot­ball par­lance but the more it gets spread out, so more riders can make a liv­ing, the bet­ter com­bi­na­tions we’ll pro­duce.”

GCL co-founder and GCT pres­i­dent Jan Tops said the aim had al­ways been to “in­no­vate and grow” showjump­ing to en­sure a bet­ter and more sus­tain­able fu­ture for the sport.

“That’s what we’ve been about from the be­gin­ning to make sure the sport keeps mov­ing in the in­ter­ests of riders, fans, own­ers, spon­sors and me­dia,” he added.

Laura Kraut and Deauville S at the 2017 Chan­tilly GCT

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