Meet Ben Maher’s new star: ‘She’s a real championship, big-time horse for the future’

  • The reigning Olympic champion Ben Maher has added a few new horses to his string this year and one that is really catching the eye is the nine-year-old mare Dallas Vegas Batilly. This French-bred daughter of Cap Kennedy came to Ben’s Hertfordshire stables in the summer, bought by the same owners as his Olympic gold medal-winning partner Explosion W, Pamela Wright and Charlotte Rossetter.

    “We were very lucky that Pamela and Charlotte were looking to help me strengthen the team of horses around Explosion W, Point Break and Enjeu De Grisien, the eight-year-old I jumped in London,” Ben told H&H

    He and Dallas Vegas Batilly first stepped up to five-star level at the World Cup show in Lyon, France, in October. Their most notable performance came weeks later at the prestigious CHI Geneva where they jumped clear in the first round of the Rolex grand prix, part of the Rolex Grand Slam and one of the toughest competitions on the circuit.

    “In Geneva, Dallas really showed who she is,” said Ben. “The Rolex grand prix is a huge, incredible class and I think she’s proved she’s a real championship, big-time horse for the future. Obviously Explosion and Faltic HB are more proven, but she’s very, very talented.”

    Ben Maher: “Dallas Vegas Batilly is very, very exciting”

    Dallas Vegas Batilly had previously been produced by French showjumper Nicolas Delmotte and had jumped double clear in Aachen this year, but it has taken a while for the mare “to adjust to my system” explained Ben.

    “Nicolas is an amazing rider, but very different to me in the way he rides,” he said. “As a rider, it’s also my job to adapt to the horse, but for us to be successful as a partnership there are some things I’m willing to compromise on and some things I’m not!”

    At the London International Horse Show in front of their home crowd, the pair just had one fence down in Sunday’s Longines FEI World Cup qualifier, won by Ben’s team-mate Scott Brash.

    “Geneva was a completely different environment and I was able to use a bit of my experience to help her through,” said Ben of their grand prix round there. “Her inexperience just showed a bit on the turn in the jump-off [where they faulted to finish 12th behind McLain Ward on HH Azur], then in London she jumped very well, but it’s a tight environment and I probably need another couple of months to solidify our partnership together, but it’s very, very exciting.

    “So I’m in an incredible situation in my career and I’m very thankful to both Jane Clark and to Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright for supporting me,” said Ben Maher. “I’ve been so spoiled over the years – between Cella, Tripple X, Explosion W, Faltic HB and now Dallas, I’m so fortunate to have the horses that have been given to me.

    “I have a great team of horses now, so the excuses are running out – I need to start winning something!”

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