The 2018 LGCT Super Grand Prix is a competition open to winners of individual Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in the 2018 season. As there were some riders who won more than one Grand Prix this season, others have made it into the Super Grand Prix with 2nd, 3rd or 4th places (as one win is all that is counted to qualify).
Great Britain’s Ben Maher (pictured above at left) won this year’s LGCT title after Grand Prix victories in Madrid, Ramatuelle/St.Tropez, Rome and Doha on his mounts Explosion W and Winning Good, not to mention strong results elsewhere. The native of Enfield Town has already won €942,605 on the Tour this year, and will be joined in Prague by his London 2012 Olympic champion teammate Scott Brash (above right), who qualified for the Super Grand Prix by virtue of victories in Mexico City and London with Ursula XII and Hello Mr President. The Peebles, Scotland native finished seventh overall for the season, with prize winnings of €318,825.
Fourteen other riders are in the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’ for the Super Grand Prix: Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Gregory Wathelet (BEL), Harrie Smolders (NED), Carlos Lopez (COL), Daniel Deusser (GER), Sameh El Dahan (EGY), Peder Fredricson (SWE), Alberto Zorzi (ITA), Ludger Beerbaum (GER), Frank Schuttert (NED), Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), Shane Breen (IRL), Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) and Lorenzo de Luca (ITA).
One of the lesser-known names in that list is rising Dutch rider Frank Schuttert, who will be battling for the Grand Prix title against many of the sport’s biggest stars, including his compatriot and World No.1 Harrie Smolders. The 25-year-old, who was a European youth champion, won the only LGCT Grand Prix he took part in this year, on home soil in Valkenswaard. He is bringing two horses to the competition, including his victorious partner Chianti’s Champion.
“I don’t know if it’s realistic to win it,” Schuttert says about the event in Prague. “But ok there are only 16 in the class – on the one hand that’s not many, but on the other they are all very, very good riders and for sure they’ll bring their best horses as there’s a lot of prize money and honour attached to winning the first [LGCT Super Grand Prix]. There will be a lot of publicity about it – it’s a very, very big moment of the year so I’ll try to be on my best [form] and try to enjoy the moment as it’s not going to happy every year that you qualify for something like that. I will give it a go and see how far we get.”
The two-round 1.60m Super Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. local time, with the second round at 10:25 p.m. To follow the action live this weekend, see here.