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Explainer: Global Champions Playoffs Promises Thrills & Spills in Prague with an Exciting Format

2018. GCL Playoffs Prague Jane R. Philips & Foica vd Bisschop LGCT SG

Take 16 world-beating riders, teamed up with some of the most talented horses on the planet, and pit them against each other for the ultimate high-stakes showdown in the magical city of Prague, Czech Republic, and what do you have? The Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix CSI 5* — brand new to the equestrian calendar and set to take the sport of show jumping to dizzying heights.

All roads on the 2018 Longines Global Champions Tour have lead ultimately to the new GC Prague Play Offs and the O2 Arena in the Czech capital from 13-16 December and this exciting addition to the portfolio looks set to provide the ultimate showdown for the individual riders. The 1.25million euro Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix CSI 5*  will also provide the perfect complement to the GCL Super Cup on the final weekend of the season, providing an edge-of-the-seat curtain closer to this year’s circuit.

In a revolutionary new concept in show jumping, the winners of each LGCT Grand Prix on the circuit will be invited to compete in the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix on Saturday 15 December to decide who will come out on top of the world’s best athletes. And, with this year’s circuit taking riders all across the world — The Americas, Europe, The Middle East and Asia — and stopping off at iconic locations such as Shanghai, Paris, Rome, London, Miami Beach, Mexico City, Madrid and a new destination on the Riviera resort of Saint Tropez, this final decider were a truly global experience, testing the best of the best at the highest level.

The 16 gold medallists (or runner up if the winner achieves more than one LGCT Grand Prix win) from the 2018 season face a formidable 1.60m track, set to test those who have looked on phenomenal form throughout the year.

2018. GCL Playoffs Prague Peder Fredricson & Hansson WL LGCT SG

Peder Fredricson (SWE) & Hansson WL warming up for the Global Champions Playoffs at the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.

Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix Participants

Scott Brash (GBR)

Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS)

Gregory Wathelet (BEL)

Ben Maher (GBR)

Harrie Smolders (NED)

Carlos Lopez (COL)

Peder Fredricson (SWE)

Nicola Philippaerts (BEL)

Shane Breen (IRL)

Sameh El Dahan (EGY)

Daniel Deusser (GER)

Alberto Zorzi (ITA)

Ludger Beerbaum (GER)

Frank Schuttert (NED)

Henrik von Eckermann (SWE)

Lorenzo de Luca (ITA)

The introduction of the GC Prague Playoffs will see the LGCT Super Grand Prix take centre stage on Saturday 15th December, with a thrilling light show, entertainment and high octane sport featuring the best athletes and horses in the world. Over the course of the four day event, fans will witness a roller-coaster of eliminations for the GCL team series, featuring upsets and glory as teams battle through the quarter final, semi-final and final stages.

And the 16 teams out of 19 qualified for the thrilling GCL Super Cup are now underway with last minute tactics and strategy as final decisions are made on which horse and rider combinations to field for the Playoffs:

GCL Super Cup Qualifiers

1. London Knights

2. Valkenswaard United

3. Miami Celtics

4. Rome Gladiators

5. Shanghai Swans

6. Montreal Diamonds

7. Scandinavian Vikings

8. St Tropez Pirates

9. Prague Lions

10. Madrid in Motion

11. Berlin Eagles

12. Doha Fursan Qatar

13. Monaco Aces

14. Paris Panthers

15. Cannes Stars

16. New York Empire

Source: Press release from LGCT – Longines Global Champions Tour

Photos: © LGCT / GCL / Stefano Grasso