Top-class international show jumping returns to London almost a year on from the 2012 Olympics, as the fourth round of the Longines Global Champions Tour takes place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Many of Team GB’s gold medal-winning team from last year’s Games will compete for a top prize of €450,000 as the prestigious worldwide series is staged for the first time in the city.
The world’s top 40 riders, including Team GB gold medallists Nick Skelton, Scott Brash and Ben Maher, will be taking part in this spectacular event at the Olympic Park which will be broadcast live on BBC One this Saturday (June 8).
London’s leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour takes place from June 6-9 with the best riders and horses in the world of show jumping competing for championship series ranking points and top prize money.
The capital city’s Global Champions Tour debut will see a strong field of top UK riders taking on the rest of the world to relive the glory of last summer’s Olympics.
The show is being heralded as the most important international show jumping event to hit Britain since the Olympics and is much anticipated by the UK’s huge horse-loving community.
A 23,000 strong crowd, with millions more watching at home, saw Great Britain’s show jumping team win Olympic gold, the first for Great Britain in this sport for 60 years, at Greenwich Park last summer.
This was coupled with the Great Britain dressage team claiming both team and individual gold a few days later.
Olympic gold medallists Nick Skelton, Scott Brash and Ben Maher, plus equestrian sport legends like the Whitaker brothers Michael and John, are on the high calibre start list for the London leg of the Global Champions Tour series which features most of the top 30 riders in the world today.
The 13-strong contingent of British riders also includes Robert Smith, Tim Gredley, Mark Armstrong, Tina Fletcher, William Funnell, Yazmin Pinchen, Alexandra Thornton and Laura Renwick.
They will be up against the biggest hitters on the show jumping scene today including current Tour leader Laura Kraut, Christian Ahlmann, 2011 and 2012 Global Champions Tour winner Edwina-Tops Alexander, Pius Schwizer and Ireland’s Denis Lynch.
They will all be among the top 30 riders competing for a share of the staggering €450,000 in prize money.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has also shown his support for this Olympic legacy event and he will be getting in the saddle at the Olympic Park on the day of the event.
BBC Sport will have live coverage of the first ever Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London on Saturday, June 7.
Clare Balding will present the two-hour programme, starting on BBC One at 3.00pm, live from the specially-built showground inside the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, located alongside the Aquatics Centre and in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium.
The BBC’s coverage will feature interviews with Great Britain’s Olympic gold medal winning team, including Nick Skelton, and other top international show jumping riders at the prestigious event.
It will cover the excitement of the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix live and include special behind-the-scenes footage with the champion riders and their horses.
Commentary will be provided by Michael Tucker and Andy Austin.
The BBC will also be broadcasting live from the event on Sunday via the Red Button from 4.00pm with coverage of the €100,000 5* class featuring all the world’s top riders and horses.
British Eurosport will also be broadcasting delayed coverage of Grand Prix action on Saturday, June 8, at 9.15pm.
Longines Global Champions Tour London organiser Peter Phillips said: “It is going to capture the excitement of last year’s Olympics and it’s great to have Clare Balding and the BBC broadcasting live.
“The whole aim is to bring show jumping to city centres and to make it accessible to everyone. The International Quarter next to the Olympic Park is perfect.”
Online – The Longines Global Champions Tour’s own live streaming service will be broadcasting all the competitions live on the website, starting on Thursday morning – CLICK HERE
Longines Global Champions Tour – London
Saturday 8th June
Longines Global Champions Tour – London (Day 3)
LIVE: 3.00pm-5.00pm – BBC One
Highlights: 9.15pm-10.30pm – British Eurosport
Sunday 9th June
Longines Global Champions Tour – London (Day 4)
LIVE: 4.00pm-7.00pm – BBC Red Button