Ben Maher will head to New York to defend his Longines Global Champions Tour (LCGT) title with the help of his European silver medal-winning ride Explosion W.
There is just one point between Belgium’s Pieter Devos (278) and Ben (277) ahead of the series final, which runs from 27 to 29 September.
Ben, who won the title with Explosion in 2018 in Rome, is sitting second in the LGCT league table.
The riders’ best nine scores of this season will count and their results so far gives Ben a slight advantage over Pieter ahead of the final.
Ben must finish fifth or higher in Sunday’s LGCT grand prix to secure the 2019 crown. But if Pieter finishes fifth or higher, Ben must finish in at least 14th place to retain his title.
Poden Farms, Ben’s long-term backer, shared a video of Explosion being loaded into the horsebox on 19 September ahead of his flight to New York.
Pieter is also currently in the running to take the Longines Global Champions League with the St Tropez Pirates team, who head the leaderboard on 302 points.
Germany’s Daniel Deusser is lying third on 259 points and is still in with a chance of taking the title.
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British riders joining Ben at the finals include Scott Brash and rising star 20-year-old Harry Charles.
Ireland also have a strong contingent heading to New York, with Shane Breen, Michael Duffy, Darragh Kenny and Shane Sweetnam featuring on the start list.
Other top names jumping for glory, include Marcus Ehning, Peder Fredricson, Kent Farrington and European champion Martin Fuchs.
After the New York final, the last GCT/L event of the season is the Prague Playoffs. The top placed rider in each GCT grand prix across the season is invited to compete in the ‘super grand prix’ and the leading teams will also go head-to-head for the ‘super cup’ (21 to 24 November).
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