Britain’s elite showjumpers continue on top form as Ben Maher triumphs in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Paris riding the talented 10-year-old mare Ginger-Blue
BEN MAHER sealed a triumphant hat-trick for British riders on the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) in recent weeks when claiming the Paris grand prix, this time on his top mare Ginger-Blue, owned by Jane Clark.
Ben was following up on his Valkenswaard victory with Explosion W at the start of June and Scott Brash’s success in Stockholm the previous week and it proved an emotional afternoon for the Hertfordshire rider, who received a standing ovation on his lap of honour.
“This is the first time we have jumped and had cheers and that atmosphere we have been missing for the past 18 months,” he said.
Just three riders reached the jump-off after a strong field was caught out by a stern 1.60m test combined by a tight time allowed set by Gregory Bodo under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
Ben and the 10-year-old Plot Blue daughter set the standard with an impressive opening clear in 39.35sec. He was pursued by his fellow Brit and relative LGCT newcomer Jodie Hall-McAteer, 21, with her mother Mandy Hall’s 12-year-old gelding Salt’n Peppa, competing in her first grand prix jump-off on the tour. An ambitious turn to the penultimate fence resulted in a refusal and the pair crossed the line with eight faults in total, but the youngster was delighted with her achievement and that of her “amazing” horse.
“It is unbelievable, it is a dream come true,” she said. “I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to compete at this level.”
Last to go was Egyptian rider Sameh El Dahan riding WKD Aimez Moi and he was determined to give it his best shot with a red-hot performance, but, like Jodie, he fell foul of the penultimate fence, adding four faults to what would have been a winning time of 38.45sec.
“It feels incredible. It has been a great day here and it was a really hard grand prix – one of the hardest I’ve jumped recently,” reflected Ben. “It is always great here with the crowd in Paris. Ginger-Blue fought hard for me in the first round. She is a naturally fast horse, so I rode the jump-off without taking too many risks to put pressure on the other two.”
As Ben has already qualified for the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs in November, the ticket was handed down to runner-up Sameh.
This report will also be available in this Thursday’s Horse & Hound magazine
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