It seems a lifetime ago that we last celebrated Ben Maher and his exceptional partner Explosion W winning a big-money grand prix.
But all that changed on Sunday (6 September) when he and Amanda Derbyshire racked up a brilliant British one-two in the annual $500,000 (£386,700) AIG grand prix at the HITS-on-the-Hudson national show in New York, USA.
A total of 51 riders lined up for the world’s biggest prize pot this year and just four jumped clear over a challenging course designed by Florencio Hernandez of Mexico.
Ben Maher was jumping at only his second show since lockdown and admitted to being probably a bit more nervous than he usually is.
He sneaked home just 0.21sec inside the time in the first round then was drawn second to go in the jump-off, following straight after his team-mate Amanda Derbyshire. The US-based British team rider posted a careful clear round with the 12-year-old Cornwall BH in 56.34sec.
Ben and Explosion then soared into a commanding lead of more than five seconds, which proved unbeatable, and he went home with a cheque for $150,000 (£116,000).
“He jumped incredible and the track had everything in it — a wide oxer, Liverpool, the three combinations — you need a very good horse to be able to jump that and that is why he is so special,” said Ben of the 11-year-old son of Chacco-Blue.
“Explosion had only jumped one grand prix earlier in the year. This being the biggest prize money grand prix in the world was one of the reasons we decided not to go back to Europe this summer,” added Ben.
How did it all begin for this phenomenal duo?
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“The show grounds have been amazing and management and the entire staff couldn’t have been more helpful. It’s my first time here and it’s definitely a place I’ll remember!”
Amanda had also finished second in the 2019 running of this $500,000 grand prix and this year she finished just ahead of US rider Hunter Holloway riding Pepita Con Spita.
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