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Breath-Taking Stage Set for LGCT Miami Beach

Release date: 15/04/2017

Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso

The second round of the Longines Global Champions Tour kicks off in the stunning Miami Beach - show jumping fans are joined by delighted holidaymakers on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean for amazing event, which allows spectators the chance to walk up to the arena and witness the world's best right up close and personal. LGCT Miami Beach is one of the most unique venues for equestrian sport anywhere in the world with a breathtaking backdrop of rolling waves and white sands.

A formidable eight out of the world’s top ten ranked riders, including all of the top five, are in the breath-taking destination for the second leg in the 2017 Longines Global Champions Tour season. Home hero and World Number 1 McLain Ward (USA) leads the star-studded field to the highly anticipated venue, alongside World Number 2 and fellow American Kent Farrington (USA) and World Number 3, Daniel Deusser (GER).

Current LGCT Ranking leader Martin Fuchs (SUI) will be hoping to keep his Championship dream alive, as he heads to Miami Beach fresh from his LGCT Grand Prix of Mexico City win. Olympic Gold Medallist, Scott Brash (GBR) will return to the venue where he wowed the crowd in a sensational Grand Prix win in 2015 with Hello Sanctos. Fresh from his CSI5* win in Mexico City with Hello M’Lady, the top British athlete will battle it out against the likes of Christian Ahlmann (GER), Eric Lamaze (CAN), Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), Simon Delestre (FRA) and Harrie Smolders (NED), all of whom proved they were in stunning shape with strong results during the first leg of the season.

The Championship battle will take a dynamic turn, as riders move from the expansive grass arena of Mexico City to the smaller sand arena of Miami Beach, balancing all the challenges and advantages that may bring. With the sparkling Atlantic ocean just metres from the arena’s edge, the setting has become one of the most iconic in the sport, with riders, guests and fans flocking to the unique set up. With it’s vast array of cocktail bars, art houses and chic elegance, Miami Beach is one of the most iconic cities in the world - a fitting backdrop for a three day display of top calibre sport and entertainment.

Picking up on the Miami vibe, there is a cool social scene as hundreds of VIP guests enjoy ringside views of top sporting action and a jaw-dropping view across the sand arena to the turquoise ocean. The interior of the chic VIP Hospitality Lounge is enhanced by stunning displays from Plant The Future reinforcing the tropical feel of the Florida destination.

Before the event kicked off VIPs enjoyed a glamorous cocktail party on the dramatic rooftop of 1Hotel overlooking the spectacular stretch of beach. Georgina Bloomberg, Jessica Springsteen and Tom Selleck’s daughter Hannah were among the elegant party guests.

American fans will also have plenty of local talent to cheer for as Laura Kraut (USA), Lauren Hough (USA), Jessica Springsteen (USA), Jennifer Gates (USA), Jack Hardin Towell (USA), Audrey Coulter (USA), Lucy Davis (USA), Todd Minikus (USA) and Margie Engle (USA) all take to home turf hoping to impress in front of a home crowd.

Longines Global Champions Tour is set for an electrifying season in its 12th year as the power, speed and precision delivered by the world’s top human and equine athletes in show jumping continues to dazzle.

So far this weekend, Harrie Smolders (NED) and Jane Richard Philips (SUI) have won the opening CSI5* classes, with both riders looking on form ahead of Saturday's Grand Prix. On Friday, Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) put in another stunning display to take the top spot with his powerful stallion Halifax van het Kluizebos.

Tune in at 13:15 local time to watch the GCL final, and join us at 16:45 for the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Miami Beach on GCT TV.