Ben Maher and the exceptional Explosion W — a horse he describes as 'magic' — land Prague's prestigious Super Grand Prix
Ben Maher and his wonder horse Explosion W crowned a simply sensational season on Saturday (23 November) by winning the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix in Prague with the only double clear.
In a thrilling two-round competition for the 18 riders to have qualified throughout the season, the British rider faced immense pressure from final draw. But Ben and the 10-year-old Chacco-Blue gelding — known at home as “The BFG” — survived a nerve-shattering bounce of a rail at fence four, to deliver their second faultless performance of the evening and collect the €300,000 (£260,000) first prize.
“It’s been some of the best showjumping sport in the world here tonight with the top riders and horses — and what Explosion has done over the past two years… he’s magic,” said Ben, who was crowned champion in the overall LGCT rankings for the second time this season, as well as leading the London Knights to victory in the Global Champions League and winning individual silver at the European Championships.
“I just enjoy every moment right now, but this is very special and a moment I’ll never forget.”
“The whole year, this horse was the champion of the season and he confirmed it again tonight,” said LGCT founder and president Jan Tops.
“There was high expectation that he was going to win but this was a reward for what he’s been doing all season.”
The runner-up spot in the Super Grand Prix went to Irishman Darragh Kenny and the 13-year-old stallion Balou Du Reventon, who picked up a time-fault in each round to finish on a score of two.
Switzerland’s European champion Martin Fuchs and his great partner Clooney 51 rocketed home clear in round two, having hit a rail in round one, ensuring they were the fastest of the four-faulters and on the podium in third.
The Prague Playoffs conclude on Sunday with the GCL Super Cup and you can read about all the action from the show in the next issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 28 November.