Ben Maher’s brilliant form continues with wins in both the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix and the Longines Global League in Madrid.
Ben was riding the up-and-coming Explosion W in both competitions. He only competed the nine-year-old gelding for the first time at the Shanghai leg two weeks ago, but they have already formed a strong partnership.
They were one of ten combinations to make it through to the jump-off in the Madrid Grand Prix. Other big names included two-time LGCT champions Scott Brash and Edwina Tops-Alexander.
Edwina set off at a galloping pace with California, but had a pole over the final oxer. Scott and his ever-reliable Ursula jumped a double clear in 40.77sec, but it wasn’t quite fast enough to challenge the podium places and they finished fifth.
Rocket up the rankings
Home hero Eduardo Álvarez Aznar (Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot) and Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts set the fastest time – finishing on exactly the same time of 39.79secs. But Ben and Explosion W were still to jump.
Following the GCL win, Ben had said Explosion was quick. He proved just how fast this young horse could go, to stop the clock on 37.73sec, which was almost two seconds faster than the rest of the field.
This put Álvarez and Nicola joint second, with Pieter Devos (Espoir) in third place.
Ben’s LGCT win has earned him a coveted ticket to the GC Play Offs, where he will compete in the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix. The result also sees him rocket up the overall rankings, to sit one point behind Scott Brash.
The day before his Grand Prix win, Ben won the second round of the Longines Global League, taking the London Knights to victory for the second time this season.
The Knights played a strategic game, fielding U25 star Emily Moffitt on the first round and bringing in Nicola Philippaerts alongside anchor Ben Maher on Saturday. Ben and Nicola rode the only double clear of the day to win the class and secure their place at the top of the overall rankings.
Second place went to Laura Kraut and Abdel Said of the Rome Gladiators, and third to Daniel Deusser and Pedro Veniss, riding for the Shanghai Swans.
You can watch both of Ben’s wins as we are showing GCL 2018: Madrid on Saturday 12 May at 7pm, followed by the GCT 2018: Madrid at 9pm on Horse & Country TV and Amazon Video. Both shows will then be available to watch on Catch Up.