LGCT Chantilly: Race to be crowned cream of the show jumping crop

Dutch pair lead the way in the LGCT Chantilly
Dutch pair lead the way in the LGCT Chantilly

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    Dutch pair lead the way in the LGCT Chantilly

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Dutch pair lead the way in the LGCT Chantilly 01:59

Story highlights

  • The show jumping circuit arrives in Chantilly, France
  • Harrie Smolders and Maikel van der Vleuten eying overall glory
  • Five events remain this season

(CNN)It's better known as a home for horse racing, but the picturesque French city of Chantilly has this weekend opened its doors to show jumping.

With just five events remaining in the Longines Global Champions Tour -- the world's premier individual show jumping event -- the race to be crowned "Champion of Champions" is hotting up.
It's an all-Dutch affair at the top of the Tour standings, with Harrie Smolders currently holding a 22-point lead over countryman Maikel van der Vleuten, and both riders are going in search of their first ever championship crown.
    "It's a special competition to win," van der Vleuten, who is competing in his third season, tells CNN Equestrian.
    "It says a lot about the rider himself, about his horses, and about the way he's working with his horses over a long period."
    Having previously finished 15th and 33rd on the Tour, van der Vleuten is enjoying his best season to date. With runner-up in Shanghai and Cascais Estoril and third-place finishes in Madrid and Mexico City, he has helped himself to more than $330,000 in prize money.
    A grand prix victory has also alluded Smolders, although four top five finishes mean he currently heads the overall standings.
    In the shadow of the magnificent Château de Chantilly, both men will be hoping to go one step further this weekend.

    Smolders in the flow

    The LGCT visits 15 global destinations, starting the season in Miami, Mexico City, and Shanghai before moving to Europe.
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    It's a competition that lasts over sevens months and attracts the sport's biggest names, including show jumping veterans and Olympic gold medalists.
    "If you want to compete in all the events of the season, you need the right horses," explains van der Vleuten.
    "You need competitive horses, who are able to bring the right results in all kinds of arenas. You have to be consistent.
    "The man to beat this season I think is Harrie Smolders. He's a very strong rider, he's in the right flow."