Photo: Stefano Grasso/GCL

Ben Maher has narrowly missed out on claiming his first Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) title of the season – riding a horse he had never competed before.

‘All the risks’

Ben was just over half a second slower than Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet, who took the title in the Shanghai Grand Prix riding Coree.

“I knew I had to take all the risks and she jumped amazing,” said Gregory.

Ben enjoyed a great weekend in the third leg of the tour, as he won the Global Champions League the day before with fellow Brit Emily Moffit.

‘Very happy’

Ben was riding the relatively inexperienced Explosion W in both classes. It was the first time he had competed the nine-year-old, and was delighted with his performance.

“We’ve had him in the stable since he was seven and this weekend is the first show I’ve had on him,” said Ben. “I’ve ridden him once or twice when he was younger so I’m very happy with him today.

“Our stable rider has done an amazing job with him and he’s been consistent all week. Yesterday and today I went as fast as I could, but there was no chance to beat Gregory today. I hope I can keep the horse for a couple more shows!”

Brash on top

Gregory’s victory has secured his place in the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix at the new GC Prague Play Offs in December, where he will line up against Scott Brash and Edwina Tops-Alexander.

Scott is currently at the top of the LGCT leaderboard, after coming fifth in Shanghai on Hello Shelby.

“He’s a young horse, so I wasn’t expecting too much, so I’m delighted to finish double clear and fifth,” said Scott. “It’s still early days though [in the LGCT series], so I’m not getting too ahead of myself.”

You can watch Ben and Scott in action when GCT 2018: Shanghai premieres on Saturday 28 April at 8pm on Horse & Country TV and Amazon VideoThe show will then be available to watch on Catch Up.