For the second consecutive year, Doha will open a new season of the Longines Global Champions Tour. Launched in 2006 by Jan Tops, the circuit will resume in the Al Shaqab facilities, one week after the CHI, which offered show jumping, dressage and para-dressage.
On Saturday evening, Julien Épaillard will put his title at stake in the Grand Prix of the Longines Global Champions Tour in Doha. Associated with Usual Suspect d’Auge during his victory last year, the Frenchman will be at the start of the competition, one week after his three victories on the Al Shaqab and CHI tracks. He should count this time on Virtuose Champeix, one of the horses which he intends to prepare for the Olympic Games of Tokyo.
Fifty riders from fifteen nations will be fighting from March 5 to 7. They will compete not only in the individual series of the Longines Global Champions Tour, but also in the Global Champions League.
“I think Al Shaqab is a unique place in the world. […] The public presence is increasing every year, which is very pleasing to see,” ensured Jan Tops.
For the occasion, twelve Belgian riders will be at the start of the competition, including Niels Bruynseels, Pieter Devos, Jérome Guéry and Grégory Wathelet, who has just returned from a fall that caused a ligament rupture in his right shoulder.
Winner of the Grand Prix at the CHI last Saturday, German Daniel Deusser will also be on hand to try and complete the double. On the British side, there will be two of them trying to make as many God Save the Queen as possible : Scott Brash and Jack Whitaker.
Eighteen stages will be on the programme this season, including the playoffs in Prague. The circuit will travel to three continents, including Miami, Paris, Madrid, London, Shanghai, Valkenswaard, New York and more.