Olympic heroes Ben Maher and Explosion W receive standing ovation at London GCT

  • Ben Maher told an appreciative crowd at the London Longines Global Champions Tour that “maybe in the last few minutes” his gold-medal winning performance with Explosion W had finally sunk in.

    The incredible partnership were making their first public appearance since claiming individual gold in a memorable jump off in Tokyo, where he repeated Nick Skelton and Big Star’s 2016 feat by topping the podium ahead of Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and All In.

    “We’ve been busy with this show this week but this is so special to have everyone here, everyone who was rooting for us in Tokyo” Ben said. “I’m pleased people can enjoy Explosion and appreciate how good he is.”

    Ben was asked if he knew during his winning jump off performance, when he jumped fourth of the six combinations through, that he had done enough to take gold.

    “Not at all,” he said. “Peder, who is here, rode an amazing round. He has an incredible horse and they have been an incredible combination over the last few years.

    “Scott [Brash] and Peter [Charles] were there and they said ‘you will have to go full speed to beat Peder’.

    “In showjumping it’s never over til it’s over and I was hiding out the back very quietly when the last competitors went.”

    Explosion’s owners Pamela Wright and Charlotte Rossiter were also recognised, as was his groom Cormac Kenny. Ben’s fiancee Sophie Gracida, who he is due to marry next week, also joined them in the London LGCT arena.

    Explosion came to attention when taking his first wins as a nine-year-old on the Global tours.

    “He probably made his career on the Global tour, he’s won many grands prix and the final in Prague two years ago,” Ben said. “He really is incredible and I’m very excited to be able to ride him and Id like to thank his owners, of course.”

    Peder, who also added team gold to his individual silver, was also at the ceremony, where all the Olympic medal-winners were recognised. Other medal-winning riders competing at the London LGCT included Sweden’s Henrik Von Eckerman and the USA’s Laura Kraut, who collected a bouquet for her team silver medal-winning performance with Baloutinue.

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