Prague, Czech Republic – November 14, 2023 – With only two days left until the commencement of the 2023 GC Prague Playoffs [16 – 19 November], equestrians are arriving in the heart of the Czech Republic’s capital, gearing up for a spectacular showdown.
The event promises a thrilling display of talent, featuring the world’s finest show jumping athletes. They are set to vie for top honors in both the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix and the GCL Super Cup. Today, the official roster of riders for the eagerly awaited GC Prague Playoffs was revealed, showcasing the crème de la crème of equine and human sportsmanship. These elite athletes are poised to elevate the event and compete for a staggering prize purse of over €11 million, marking the grand finale of 2023.
Enthusiasts can anticipate four days of elite-level competition, commencing with the GCL knockout Quarter and Semi-Final stages on Thursday and Friday, culminating in the electrifying Final on Sunday. Teams are meticulously strategizing rider and horse representation, aiming to position themselves for a shot at claiming the prestigious GCL Super Cup.
From local favorites to international icons, the GC Playoffs will witness the sport’s most prominent figures contending in both the LGCT Super Grand Prix as individuals and the GCL Super Cup as integral team members.
At the GC Prague Playoffs, the 16 teams have the opportunity to implement their strategies, fielding four riders throughout the event, with three riders participating in every round, ensuring no drop scores. Teams will be bolstered by esteemed stars such as Martin Fuchs (SUI), Marlon Zanotelli (BRA), Ben Maher (GBR), Gregory Wathelet (BEL), Marcus Ehning (GER), John Whitaker (GBR), Malin Baryard Johnson (SWE), Niels Bryunseels (BEL), homegrown hero Anna Kellnerová (CZE) and 2023 LGCT Champion Harrie Smolders (NED).
Three out of the 16 teams have adopted a daring approach, selecting three riders to represent them. Rome Gladiators, backed by ClipMyHorse.TV, Monaco Aces, and Istanbul Warriors, powered by Carpe Diem, have embraced this high-risk, high-reward strategy, leaving no margin for errors.
The top four teams from the 2023 Championship standings, Riesenbeck International, supported by Kingsland Equestrian, Paris Panthers, Madrid In Motion, and St Tropez Pirates, have already secured their direct passage to the GCL Super Cup Semi-Finals. Skipping the knockout Quater-Finals and jumping in the high-pressure arena one day less than their rivalas will immensely help these elite squads compete for glory.
Throughout the 2023 season, the coveted golden ticket to the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix has been the ultimate goal for riders. With 16 formidable contenders vying for the high-stakes title, they will confront two challenging 1.65m tracks beneath the impressive O2 arena in Prague on Saturday night, November 18. This promises a sensational evening of world-class show jumping.
Competing for a coveted spot on the podium are an elite group of the best performing riders at each stage of the 2023 Championship. Philipp Weishaupt (GER), the winner of 2023’s kick off stage, goes head to head with Katrin Eckermann (GER), David Will (GER), 2018 LGCT Super Grand Prix winner and Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS). They are joined by two time 2023 LGCT Grand Prix winner Julien Epaillard (FRA), LGCT Championship second place getter Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), world number one and 2021 LGCT Super Grand Prix winner Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), come-back king, Christian Ahlmann (GER) and 2023 season champion Harrie Smolders (NED). Young gun Bertram Allen (IRL)is within the ranks, plus Max Kühner (AUT), Jessica Springsteen (USA), Sanne Thijssen (NED), Peder Fredricson (SWE), Andreas Schou (DEN), and Mr consistent, Christian Kukuk (GER).
The 2023 season has witnessed a surge in young talent, and the GCL Super Cup will feature rising stars like, 2023 Championship winners Philipp Schulze Topphoff (GER), third-place finisher in the overall season championship Jack Whitaker (GBR). Among the U25 ranks competing on the big stage Isabella Russekoff (ISR), Nina Mallevay (FRA) and Jodie Hall McAteer (GBR) compete alongside Mike Kawai (JPN), Sara Vigralkova (CZE), and Gilles Thomas (BEL) on the global stage at the GC Prague Playoffs.
With back-to-back entertainment, an electrifying atmosphere, and four days of exhilarating show jumping, spectators from both near and far can anticipate an event suitable for the entire family to enjoy.
Source: Press Release from GCL – Global Champions League
Photos: © GCL – Global Champions League