‘As good sport as you’ll see anywhere’: British one-two in spectacular London World Cup

  • The London International Horse Show crowd was treated to a spectacle of sport such as is rarely witnessed, when Ben Maher and Enjeu De Grisien triumphed in a spectacular Longines World Cup jump-off.

    The fact speed merchant Julien Epaillard finished fifth, on Donatello D’Auge, showed how fast the others had gone, and the lead changed hands three times in the last four rounds, with both Daniel Coyle (Legacy) and Scott Brash (Hello Jefferson) briefly powering to the front.

    Watch Ben talk about his winning round in the video below

    Julien, as is his wont, had put in a round that looked unbeatable on the 10-year-old gelding, and he held his lead despite strong challenges from Matt Sampson (Ebolensky) and Max Kuhner (EIC Up Toon Jacco Blue). Then Daniel came in and set the ring alight, turning the 13-year-old mare tighter and galloping faster than, surely, was possible. He took a second off Julien’s time, and looked set to take the title.

    But Scott was to come, and he and his 2021 Olympic ride, back to his brilliant best, put their collective foot down, jumping the vast Agria oxer before the final line at an acute angle, and taking a fifth of a second off Daniel’s time. This must be the round that secured Scott and Jefferson their second London World Cup in a row – but Ben was still to come.

    The nine-year-old gelding, owned by Ben, Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright, showed huge maturity, and Ben his superb horsemanship, as the crowd bellowed them down the long gallop to the last. As they finished half a second ahead of Scott, the roof of the ExCeL must have lifted.

    “This is the class everyone wants to win,” Ben said. “It’s a great time of year and that’s as good sport as you’ll have seen anywhere in a long time.”

    Ben has been riding the horse three years but it took time for the partnership to click.

    “He was always a very talented, high-energy horse but we had a bit of a problem taming him,” he said. “He was a bit of a wild beast, a lot of energy in a small package, and I was frustrated with myself as a horseman because I thought he didn’t like me. But we kept going and figured it out, then today – it’s all there and it’s very exciting.”

    Scott was delighted with Jefferson; Lady Pauline Harris and Lady Pauline Kirkham’s 14-year-old had had a break after Spruce Meadows in September, and had lost some muscle.

    “It took time to get him back, then he went to Geneva last week and jumped good, but here he feels back on form,” he said. “I’m delighted he’s back where he can be.”

    Watch Scott speak to H&H in the video below

    Scott added that the electric atmosphere of the ExCeL is something very special.

    “I think it brings out the best in the British riders; you want to give it your all,” he said. “I think that brings out the top sport.

    “My horse jumped amazing, I’m delighted with him, and fair play to Ben, he jumped a fantastic round to win.”

    Daniel and the 13-year-old mare he owns with Ariel Grange were the first to take a stride out between the double and the Liverpool; he said he knew something special would be needed to win the class.

    “This time of year she seems to become a different animal, but if you ride her correctly she usually jumps like she did today,” he said. “I’m very lucky to have her. I probably could have cut the turns a little tighter, but after my round I just thought if I win, great, but if not, it’s not meant to be. Ben and Scott were brilliant, and the crowd got to witness the best sport you can get. I have loved my first time competing at the London International Horse Show, and I will certainly be back.”

    Watch Daniel chat to H&H

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