Ben Maher is the home hero, winning the grand prix at the Longines Global Champions Tour and helping the London Knights to victory in the GCL
Great Britain’s Ben Maher has won the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London with the “incredible” Explosion W, completing the big-class double after helping the London Knights secure victory in the GCL team competition earlier in the day.
In a 12-way jump-off for grand prix honours on Saturday evening (3 August), Ben and the Poden Farms’ 10-year-old gelding produced an absolute belter of a round that couldn’t be beaten — despite having some of the best combinations in the world as opposition.
The Irish proved a dominant force behind, with Shane Sweetnam taking the runner-up spot riding another 10-year-old, Alejandro, with Darragh Kenny finishing third on another exciting prospect Classic Dream.
“Explosion W has had two seconds recently so he really deserved this win today,” said Ben of the horse with whom he has been selected to represent Great Britain at the European Championships later this month.
Ben was the first ever winner of the London leg of the LGCT back in 2013 on Cella, so was delighted to top the podium once again on home soil in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
“Winning at home is worth three of any other,” he said.
Each grand prix winner on the 18-leg LGCT series qualifies for the Super Grand Prix in Prague at the end of the season but as Ben had already picked up his ticket when finishing second to Martin Fuchs in Cascais, Portugal, last month, it was Shane Sweetnam who now finds himself in the elite field heading to the prestigious finale in November.
Earlier in the afternoon, Ben and Explosion W teamed up with Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Extra) to provide even more reason for the delighted home crowd to cheer. The London Knights won the GCL team competition for the second year running as the only team to remain faultless over two days of jumping.
“We took a risk, slowed it down and luckily we left the jumps up,” said Ben.
Don’t miss the full report from the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 8 August.