The Longines Global Champions Tour (GCT) rolls into central London next month (4-6 August 2017) and Great Britain’s very own Ben Maher is one of the elite field of world class showjumpers heading to the prestigious five-star show.
The Hertfordshire rider will be bidding to repeat his victory from the inaugural London event in 2013, and this year he also represents the London Knights in the exciting Global Champions League (GCL) team competition, which comes to the UK for the first time.
“We definitely want to take the win home to put us back into the top spot,” says Ben.
The London Knights, in their dazzling red team jackets, made a big impact, winning in the opening event of this year’s GCL in Miami. They are currently poised in fourth in the overall standings at the midway point of the season.
“London Knights is a new team this year with Emily Moffitt [GBR], Eduardo Menezes [BRA], Enrique Gonzalez [MEX], myself and Kent Farrington [USA],” says Ben, who will be joined by Emily and Kent for their home leg.
“We’ve had a mixed start! We were good in the beginning, then we dropped down and probably should be placed a little higher overall than we are right now. But we’re looking to pull back using a few tactics.”
Ben has partnered the nine-year-old gelding Don Vito for several legs, including Miami (pictured), and exclusively reveals the lovely chestnut will be his team mount in London.
“He’s still a young horse, but has jumped two double clears for the team and I don’t think many other teams have had that many clears so he’s coming along nicely,” says Ben, who also has his Rio ride Tic Tac and the great mare Diva in his armoury this season.
Watch the interview below:
Talking about his fellow London Knights, Ben explains: “Kent at the moment is world number one for a reason – he’s winning everywhere and he has a huge team of horses behind him. We try to keep the horses to the arenas that we think are best [for them] and if we have the world number one on our team we’re not going to leave him at home.
“Emily Moffitt has probably been one of the most used under-25 riders on any team in the past 18 months, which is great. She has an amazing team of horses and she has a good, strong, positive attitude towards the sport. She doesn’t like to lose and even when I’m here she’s telling me not to mess around or she’ll take over! So it puts the pressure back on me. She needs time, she needs to learn and get experience. She’s had some great results, she’s got a new team of horses and she’ll feature a lot in the coming events of the GCL.”
Ben describes his grand prix win in London with Cella four years ago, where he beat Nick Skelton and Big Star into the runner-up spot, as one of his “most memorable grand prix wins ever” and is looking forward to competing at the show’s new venue in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea — most famous for hosting the annual Chelsea Flower Show.
“I’m very excited to have the Global Tour back in London,” he says. “We have a huge history with the sport in our country and London’s a great city.
“It’s always very special to win at home and Cella was a horse of a lifetime. It was one of those jump-offs where everything went to plan and I’ll remember it for a long time to come.”
It’s almost time to unfurl those Union flags once again as we’re treated to some superb sport on home soil — with plenty of British riders to cheer on!
The London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour runs from 4-6 August 2017. Head to globalchampionstour.com for more information and to buy tickets