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
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