British star hits the £150,000 jackpot with Madrid hat-trick

  • IN a momentous afternoon in Madrid, Great Britain’s Ben Maher (Explosion W) produced a winning hat-trick and pocketed in excess of £150,000, also securing a golden ticket to the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix in Prague in December.

    The Hertfordshire rider now sits second in the overall Global Champions rankings, just behind his team-mate and two-time champion Scott Brash.

    “It was great sport. [Explosion] has always been a good horse, but this year he has really come forward,” said Ben, 35, of the Poden Farms-owned nine-year-old by Chacco Blue. “He has a great character and really enjoys his job.”

    Ben secured top spot in Saturday’s grand prix after helping his team the London Knights to victory in the Global Champions League earlier in the afternoon, where he also earned top individual honours as the fastest rider against the clock — all riding the charismatic chestnut Explosion W.

    “He is a naturally fast horse so I just use his natural speed,” said Ben. “Explosion is quirky, he has character but he is a very friendly horse and gives 110%.”

    Scott Brash and Ursula XII finished fifth in the grand prix, with one of seven double clears in this fierce competition.

    “She did three clear rounds [including the preceding class won by Ben] and it was just the rider that was not fast enough!” said Scott.

    London Knights have now earned back-to-back wins after they took the GCL in Shanghai last month. In Madrid, Ben was the anchor with team-mates Emily Moffitt (GBR) and Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) contesting round one and two respectively.

    “We have a really good team spirit,” said Ben. “We are always talking on the phone before the show, really working together, having a long debate. Shanghai was my first show on Explosion and it went very well and has continued.”

    Continued below…

    There was plenty to celebrate for a strong Irish contingent, too, as Sunday’s prestigious King’s Cup Volvo Trophy went to Denis Lynch riding RMF Echo. In a 12-rider showdown, the runner-up spot went to Pieter Devos (BEL) with Apart while Ireland’s Cameron Hanley was third on Eis Isaura.

    “He’s a naturally very quick horse,” said Denis. “He gives his best, and I’m very lucky to have him, so thanks to [owners] Rushy Marsh. We had a good shot to the last — we had a lucky rub, but you need luck to win like that!”

    Another Irish victory came for Darragh Kenny and Cassini Z in Friday’s Caixabank Trophy.

    Read the full report from Madrid, plus all the national showjumping action, in this week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday 10 May.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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