Jumper News Middle East

Can Smolders Steal The Show & Make it a Championship Double?

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – October 24, 2023 – As the third and final Longines Global Champions Tour Championship contender, Harrie Smolders (NED) is without doubt the most consistent of the trio in terms of his performances throughout the year.

From a staggering four consecutive podiums, 9 LGCT Grand Prix starts for 4 double clears, with an impressive 3 horses contributing to his Championship points tally, it isn’t hard to see why he is wearing the leader’s armband heading into the Final showdown this week in Riyadh.

Aside from his stellar consistency throughout the year, the certain standout performance was aboard Uricas v.d. Kattevennen – taking the win in the LGCT Grand Prix of Riesenbeck. That, coupled with podium finishes in Monaco, A Coruna, and London, aboard Monaco N.O.P, Smolders shot to the top of the Championship leaderboard and into contention or the most coveted win of the season.

Heading into the Championship Final, Smolders holds the lead ahead of fellow countryman Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) by 14 points, and 16.5 ahead of Henrik Von Eckermann (SWE). Having won the Longines Global Champions Tour Championship in 2017, the question on everyone’s lips is, can Smolders steal the show and make it a Championship double?

Scenarios for Smolders to Secure the Win
To put it simply, if Harrie Smolders finishes in the top 8 placed riders in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Riyadh, he will retain the lead and win the most coveted individual championship in the world of show jumping – the 2023 LGCT Championship title.

Fast Facts
Smolders LGCT Grand Prix Season

Grand Prix Ridden: 9

Clear Round Rate: 67%
Podiums: 4 Horses
Contributing to Standings: 3

Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix Standings
Ahead of Stage 15 & The Championship Final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

1. Harrie Smolders (NED) – 252 Points
2. Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) – 238 Points
3. Henrik Von Eckermann (SWE) – 235.50 Points

Focusing on the Win

Following his win in the LGCT Grand Prix of Riesenbeck, Smolders made history as the third ever person to secure a third consecutive LGCT Grand Prix podium. Not one to tie in a historical moment, he then progressed to hold the title as the only rider in the 16-year history of the Longines Global Champions Tour to finish the season with four consecutive podiums.

Having stood on top of the podium on Riesenbeck in what was turning out to be a record-breaking season, Smolders told GCTV that records could come, but his focus remains on his horses and results that follow: “I am focusing on my horses, if they feel well, I have to ride well, and then the results will come. I just need to be patient and take my chances, and if that leads into records then that is of course brilliant.”

For Henrik von Eckermann or Maikel van der Vleuten to climb to the top spot, it gets a little more complicated.

Source: Press Release from LGCT – Longines Global Champions Tour

Photos: © LGCT – Longines Global Champions Tour