Via: Global Champions Tour
An electrifying three-way battle for the championship will unfold on another capital city stage this weekend as Longines Global Champions Tour ranking leader and World No1 Scott Brash (GBR) will look to maintain his Championship lead ahead of nearest rivals Luciana Diniz (POR) and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE).
One of the most spectacular settings on the circuit gets underway in the thrilling city of Vienna as the championship races towards its culmination. The high calibre event will see many of the world’s top riders compete beneath the dazzling City Hall (Rathaus) surrounded by the stunning monuments of Austria’s capital city. Earlier today a pre-event press conference took place in the impressive Palais Liechtenstein, and saw the organisers showcase the venue to media. Longines Global Champions Tour Sports Director Marco Danese commented: "It is fantastic to be able to bring equestrian sports into the hearts of major european cities - the audience loves it - and in Vienna we have an amazing field of riders, which will be very exciting. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the LGT Bank which will present the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Vienna this year."
Meinhard Platzer (CEO LGT Bank Austria) explained that long-term thinking is part of LGT Private Banking's success: "The Princely Family of Liechtenstein has a long history with horses and equestrian sport. It is an interesting market that lives off of the involvement of passionate people. LGT presents this year's Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Vienna and I think that we can be proud to have such an outstanding event in the heart of our city. I am looking forward to some exciting days of competition!"
Co-organizer Thomas Frühmann talked about the sporting highlights: "We are happy to welcome many of the world's best show jumping riders to Vienna, including the current world number one Scott Brash (GBR) who is the ranking leader on the Longines Global Champions Tour. Furthermore, the previous champions of Vienna, Luciana Diniz (POR), GLOCK rider Gerco Schröder (NED) and Marcus Ehning (GER) are all competing."
Last year’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Vienna was won by Marcus Ehning (GER), who will be present once more and hoping to continue his success after his strong bronze medal place in Rome last weekend. His compatriots Daniel Deusser (GER), Marco Kutscher (GER) and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) will also be in action. Top riders such as John Whitaker (GBR), Kevin Staut (FRA), Lauren Hough (USA), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Ben Maher (GBR), Pius Schwizer (SUI) and Harrie Smolders (NED) will also be competing at the penultimate show of 2015.
Host Gregor Gschlenk spoke on behalf of the organising committee: "We improved a lot this year, after all we aim to offer perfect conditions for riders, horses, spectators and all visitors. We have redesigned the VIP area and the press office is now located directly next to the arena. There is a total of 550.000 Euros in prize money. But you can check that out for yourself when we take the Fiaker (Vienna's famous horse drawn carriages) to visit the location!"
Local star and Olympic silver medallist Thomas Frühmann (AUT) will be in attendance and hoping to secure a strong result in front of his home crowd, and the weekend will see Max Kühner (AUT), Gerfried Puck (AUT), Markus Saurugg (AUT), Rolandand Engelbrech and Dieter Köfler (AUS) battling it out under the iconic City Hall.
Stunning Vienna, also know as the 'City of Music', will host the Tour for the 4th year in a row. The Austrian capital is a city famous for its imperial culture, architecture, musical history and beautiful palaces. Another jewel in the crown of glittering destinations which make up this showjumping Tour, Vienna is home to many high-profile organisations, including the United Nations and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. This centre of European music has been voted one the most world's most liveable cities and consistently ranks highly as a world centre of cultural innovation.
The city of Vienna has over 27 castles and more than 150 palaces, including Empress Sisi's baroque former summer residence, Schönbrunn Palace. The 14th round of the 2015 Championship series will see a full four days of competition, with CSI2* classes starting on Thursday 17th September and CSI5* classes from Friday 18th - Sunday 20th September. The Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Vienna presented by LGT Private Banking will take place on Saturday 19th September at 18:30 local time and will be broadcast live on Eurosport and BeIN Sports from the second round. The Grand Prix will also be live on ORF+, Equidia Live, Class Horse TV. All CSI5* classes will be live via GCT TV on the Longines Global Champions Tour website. For a full schedule of events, please click here.