Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT
Sameh El Dahan received a standing ovation at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Paris, after beating the world’s best in the Grand Prix.
‘Tried her heart out’
Sameh and his plucky mare Suma’s Zorro triumphed against 10 top riders in an electrifying jump off, set on the Champs de Mars, in the heart of the French capital.
“I can’t explain my emotions,” said Sameh, who originally qualified as a doctor. “My mare tried her heart out. I am loving the crowds, everyone was behind us. I am so chuffed it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
Sameh was joined on the podium by Bertram Allen in second place and world number one Harrie Smolders in third.
Round of his life
Bertram was first to go in the jump-off with his grey mare Molly Malone V, who raced around the course to set the standard of 36.86sec. It looked like his time wouldn’t be beaten, as the rest of the field tried but failed to knock him off the top spot.
However, penultimate rider Sameh rode the round of his life on his 14-year-old chestnut mare to stop the clock in a winning time of 36.32sec.
This put Bertram in second place, while Harrie Smolders and Don VHP Z pulled off a super tight turn to the double combination to finish on 37.06sec and take third place.
Ben Maher and Explosion W were fourth (37.71sec), which was enough for Ben to reclaim his place at the top of the series leaderboard.
Hat-trick of wins
Ben has had a great LGCT season and achieved his third win at the Paris leg. He secured his hat-trick in the €100.000 CSI5* Longines Eiffel Challenge, once again with Explosion W, who has proved his talent and consistency at the highest level of the sport – despite being just nine years old.
“I’m lucky that I have some incredible horses, so I have to say thank you to Poden Farms for letting me ride them – it’s a pleasure to jump at a high level like this with them,” said Ben. “[Explosion] is young, he’s better the more he jumps.”