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Cliffhanger Grand Prix in Valkenswaard as championship race accelerates

Release date: 14/03/2016

Tonight’s 12th Grand Prix of the Longines Global Champions Tour circuit could produce a ranking battle as World No1 Scott Brash goes all out to retain his lead over Portugal’s Luciana Diniz.

The €300,000 competition in the immaculate grass arena will be fought out over an impressive 1.60m course at the stunning new Tops International Arena in Valkenswaard.

The vast competition stage will see an outstanding line up of the world’s Top 30 rider and horse combination gunning for Grand Prix honours.

And the riders are really pulling out their heavy artillery for the battle ahead. Scott will be riding the formidable Hello Sanctos in a clear sign he is determined to hold his ranking lead and set his sights on a record 4th Grand Prix win in one season. But Luciana will be on her champion grey stallion Winningmood, owned by Edouard de Rothschild, and already winner of the Madrid Grand Prix this year.

And some serious rivals are lining up to challenge the two dominant performers. Ludger Beerbaum will be riding Chaman, Beezie Madden on her champion Simon, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on Casall ASK, Harrie Smolders on Regina Z and Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani on Vienna Olympic.

It will be a fascinating contest played out in one of the newest and most spectacular arenas for show jumping in the world today. The arena, new grandstands and hospitality lounges have played host to thousands of spectators and international guests at the destination at the epicentre of equestrianism in Europe.

Friday night in Valkenswaard saw the world’s top riders teaming up for the first time ever in a spectacular 1.55m / 1.60m Team Competition under floodlights which was won by the dream team of Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Harrie Smolders. It was a stunning precursor to the launch of the exciting new show jumping format of Global Champions League team competitions in 2016 where 2 top riders from different countries will be paired together.

In Valkenswaard this weekend Scott Brash has already produced strong form during the winning yesterday’s 5* 1.50m class on Hello Forever. Later today the curtain goes up on the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix before the circuit heads to Rome for an electrifying debut event in Italy’s ancient capital.