Race to Cheltenham: Two to Go

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With the start of the BetVictor European Masters today in Austria there are just two events to be completed before the final field is confirmed for this season’s Coral World Grand Prix.

To return to The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse from 3-9 February following its successful debut at the venue last season, the tournament will again take its place as the first of the three-part Coral Series and see 32 players battle to win the £100,000 top prize.

Who will qualify?

As was the case last season, the top 32 players on the one-year ranking list will earn their places at the World Grand Prix.

In contrast to the official world ranking list (which is calculated over a rolling two-year period), the one-year ranking list includes only prize money earned since the start of this season at the 2019 Riga Masters, through to and including the 2020 German Masters in Berlin. This covers a total of 10 counting events, eight of which have already been completed, with just the action in Austria and Germany still to come over the next fortnight.

For the avoidance of doubt, this does not include prize money earned from maximum or high break prizes, or invitational events such as the Shanghai Masters or Champion of Champions.

The state of play

Last season saw the final qualifying place taken by Gary Wilson with £48,600 and already this year’s final total looks set to eclipse that tally.

On looking at the Race to the World Grand Prix standings, including prize money earned so far at the European Masters and German Masters qualifiers, those either side of the crucial cut-off include:

25th – Matt Selt – £51,750
26th – Matthew Stevens – £50,750
27th – Li Hang – £50,500
28th – Zhao Xintong – £50,250
29th – Michael Holt – £50,000
30th – Zhou Yuelong – £49,250
31st – Xiao Guodong – £49,000
32nd – Ben Woollaston – £46,250
35th – Scott Donaldson – £43,750
36th – Anthony McGill – £43,000
38th – Luca Brecel – £40,500
39th– Jak Jones – £39,750
41st – Robbie Williams – £39,500
41st – Yuan Sijun – £39,500
44th – Nigel Bond – £38,250
46th – Noppon Saengkham – £37,000
48th – Sunny Akani – £36,500

NOTE: Players outside of the top 32 and already out of both upcoming events have been excluded from the above list.

Of the players currently ranked within the world’s top 32 on the official ranking list, seven are currently outside of the same positions on the one-year ranking list based on their prize money earned this season.

The highest ranked among them is former European Masters champion Jimmy Robertson (41), the world number 22 already out of the running having failed to qualify for either Austria or Germany.

Also set to miss out as it stands are Ricky Walden (34), Scott Donaldson (35), Anthony McGill (36), Mark Davis (45), Ryan Day (65) and Lyu Haotian (70).

Among those currently in position to qualify at the expense of those players is Kurt Maflin (16) following a successful start to the season which saw him reach his third-career ranking event semi-final at the Riga Masters.

Others inside of the top 32 on the one-year list include Liang Wenbo (23), Matthew Stevens (26), Li Hang (27), Zhao Xintong (28), Michael Holt (29) and Ben Woollaston (32).

The Race to Cheltenham continues this week with the BetVictor European Masters.