The British rider jumped clear in the first two rounds over Frank Rothenberger’s courses and joined six others who had achieved double clears in the jump-off.
Here, Ben put in the second fastest round, but at the expense of having the penultimate fence, an upright, down.
“I’m very happy — disappointed but happy at same time,” he said. “My horse was incredible — you have to take chances in the Aachen grand prix and I felt I did right thing to second last, without too much risk, but I ended up a bit close to it.”
The class was won by US rider Kent Farrington, with the experienced 13-year-old Gazelle. He finished 0.37 of a second faster than the home side’s Daniel Deusser (Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z), who was last to go in the jump-off, but could not catch the speedy bay mare.
Kent said: “The course was typical of an Aachen course — you are seeing the best of the best and every test out there is difficult. Rideability, scope and carefulness are all going to be tested over two rounds and there was no easy part of the course.”
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World champions Simone Blum and DSP Alice finished fourth for the home side, with Ireland’s Darragh Kenny fifth on Chaqui Z.
Jérôme Guery and Quel Homme De Hus — who slipped badly on a turn in the jump-off and nearly fell, resulting in a refusal — landed sixth for Belgium. The USA’s McLain Ward (HH Azur) took seventh with the fastest jump-off round, but with two upright fences down, the first and the penultimate.
Full reports on the dressage, eventing and showjumping in next week’s Horse & Hound (dated 25 July).