A RECORD number of 11 Irish show jumpers will line out in the Global Champions League (GCL) for the 2018 season.
This season sees a new line-up of 19 teams for the league, which guarantees an overall season prize purse of €35 million, including €12 million to be shared at the new GC Prague Play Offs in Prague in December from 13th-16th.
Changes to team names plus the creation of new teams this season sees some of Ireland’s top ranked riders named. The new team of Miami Celtics is made up of Denis Lynch, Shane Breen, Cameron Hanley, Michael Duffy (U25) and America’s Jessica Springsteen.
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam joins the fray for the first time with Shanghai Swans, as does Co Louth’s Mark McAuley who has been named for Montreal Diamonds.
With an Under 25 rider on every team a standard requirement, Daniel Coyle (23) joins Cannes Stars and Michael G Duffy (21) will line out for Madrid in Motion.
Meanwhile, Bertram Allen (Valkenswaard United), Darragh Kenny (Paris Panthers), and Cian O’Connor (New York Empire) return. Allen was on the winning team in 2016 and was runner-up last season.
16 action-packed events in the regular season will culminate in the team and individual finals at Doha, Qatar, this November. And this year, the pressure will be more intense in the battle to earn a golden ticket to the GC Prague Play Offs.
Only 16 of the 19 teams will qualify for the GCL Super Cup at the GC Prague Play Offs. And the Czech capital will also see every individual LGCT Grand Prix winner invited to the prestigious Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix.
This year's GCL sees 90% of athletes (excluding the U25 competitors) ranked in the top 250* in the world, including 25 out of the top 30 riders. And 25% of the total athletes taking part in the GCL this season are aged under 25.
The 2018 season will kick off in Mexico City from 22nd - 25th March Fans around the world will be able to watch all the sporting drama unfold on the official GC TV live streaming platform.