Ben Maher’s ‘dream day’: grand prix win in New York secures Global Champions Tour series title

Britain’s Ben Maher completed a dream day with victory in the Longines grand prix in New York today (Saturday, 28 September), a win which also secured him the Longines Global Champions Tour series title for the second year in a row.

“It was the dream to win both the team and individual titles — it doesn’t happen very often,” said Ben, referencing the fact he also claimed the Global Champions League team win and series title earlier in the day with London Knights partner Martin Fuchs.

Belgium’s Pieter Devos and Germany’s Daniel Deusser were also in the running for the individual series title coming into the New York leg, but Daniel dropped out after the first round when Killer Queen VDM hit the last fence, the upright at 13.

Pieter was third to go in the jump-off, but his challenge fell apart when Claire Z refused at the second part of the Longines combination.

“Pieter put the pressure on me when he jumped clear in the first round, but then he had that unfortunate mistake,” said Ben. “Explosion jumped incredibly in the first round and I had nothing to lose in the jump-off. I took every risk and it’s just a great way to end an incredible season.”

Pieter finished second in the overall rankings, with Daniel third. Britain’s Scott Brash was also in the prize-money in 14th.

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Second place in the grand prix earned Germany’s Marcus Ehning the final spot in the super grand prix at the Playoffs in Prague in November. He and Cornado NRW were 0.57 of a second slower than Ben and Explosion.

European champion Martin Fuchs also completed a good day with a jump-off spot in the grand prix and he and The Sinner took third place in the class after a game attempt from final draw.

Full report on the Longines Global Champions Tour from New York in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (issue dated 3 Oct0ber).