Ben Maher thrilled the home crowd on the final night of the London International Horse Show, winning the Olympia grand prix.
Ben and his Olympic and European gold medal-winning partner Tripple X III had been out of luck all week, but saved the best until last and took the final major class of the show last night (Sunday 22 December).
He narrowly pipped fellow Brit John Whitaker, who was riding Argento, to the top spot. Penelope Leprevost and Flora de Mariposa finished 3rd.
Tripple X rattled a pole in the jump off, but it stayed up, securing Ben the win — the first time a Brit has topped the grand prix since Robert Smith in 2005.
“I heard the crowd gasp but, if anything, that helped me,” said Ben. “There’s huge prize-money all over the world, but you can’t beat history and all the people cheering.”
Ben became the 3rd British senior rider to win at the show — alongside William Funnell and Laura Renwick. Laura was also crowned leading rider of the show.
And John Whitaker was pleased with his runner’s up place on Argento.
“I’m excited about this horse,” he said. “He’s improving all the time and was bang on today.”
For a full Olympia report and more on the Olympia Grand Prix, don’t miss the next issue of Horse & Hound — out on Saturday 28 December.