Ben Maher wins WEF grand prix

Ben Maher wins WEF grand prix


  • The Olympic champion Ben Maher, who celebrates his fortieth birthday right this moment (30 January), is in flying type already this yr and earned his third massive class win of WEF (Winter Equestrian Competition) on Saturday, this time using prime new mare Dallas Vegas Batilly.

    There was additionally grand prix success nearer to residence for Eire’s Mikey Pender, and 16-year-old Maisy Williams continues to impress whereas James Smith racked up an excellent tally of 10 worldwide victories in a single week. Right here is H&H’s round-up of this week’s worldwide winners, plus showjumping outcomes.



    ‘It’s been some time since I’ve run to the final fence like that in a jump-off’

    Olympic champion Ben Maher landed Saturday’s NetJets CSI4* grand prix on the Winter Equestrian Competition (WEF) with prime new mare Dallas Vegas Batilly, owned by Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright.

    Ben and the 10-year-old Selle Francais mare got here residence quickest in a 14-way jump-off to beat Eire’s Shane Sweetnam using the big-striding Namaste Van Het Eyckeveld and US rider Kent Farrington on rising star Toulayna.

    “She’s taken a while to get used to me and my system,” mentioned Ben, who first teamed up with the “delicate” mare 4 months in the past, taking on from Frenchman Nicolas Delmotte. “She’s jumped some nice rounds and was clear within the grand prix in Geneva. However each time we come to the jump-off; we’ve had issues with the steering.

    “I’ve realized I’ve to ask her to do issues, not inform her.”

    “We’ve solely had her for 4 months and it’s been a little bit of a trial and error course of, however she’s an unbelievable horse and eventually we managed to determine the jump-off this night when the time counts,” defined Ben. “It’s at all times prime competitors right here, wonderful environment, it was packed this night, and it was a tough sufficient course for this early within the yr.

    “I actually tried to not watch what the others have been doing [in the jump-off] and I don’t have a lot expertise with Dallas on the minute, typically once I’ve turned too quick she’s bought opinionated on me, however all the things got here off proper tonight and it offers me quite a lot of confidence for the long run. I do know she has an enormous stride so fortuitously I knew I may get there [to the final fence] – it was fairly lengthy and it’s been some time since I’ve been working to the final fence like that in a jump-off! But it surely was good enjoyable and it couldn’t be a greater begin to the yr.”

    Ben’s groom Derren Lake received the $500 grooms’ award, offered by Double H Farm.

    Eire’s Bertram Allen was additionally a winner at Wellington Worldwide, topping a 1.45m velocity class on the Billy Mexico daughter Emmylou, for homeowners Ballywalter Stables and Noel Delahunty Connaught Bloodstock.

    “I’ve a really aggressive horse and he or she gave an enormous effort,” mentioned Bertram. “She’s simply implausible and I knew that if I rode effectively that I may have an opportunity right this moment.”

    Pender’s glory and a 10-class profitable streak

    Irish rider Mikey Pender and HHS Calais landed the CSI3* grand prix on week one of many Villamoura Atlantic Tour in Portugal, simply beating Nice Britain’s Olli Fletcher and Whats up William after 13 mixtures jumped off for the €13,150 prime prize. The day prior to this Mikey had additionally received the 1.40m jump-off class with the eight-year-old HHS Los Angeles.

    British showjumper James Smith loved an exceptional profitable streak of 10 worldwide courses within the opening week, profitable all the things from younger horse courses to a world rating competitors with the Renwicks’ nice Arkuga.

    “We had a great week!” mentioned James. “I’ve just a few of Laura Renwick’s horses whereas she’s on her method again. I rode Michelob for them for the primary time and he received the six-year-old courses each day, then seven-year-old Dame Diamant Z received two.”

    James additionally made his debut with new journey Juno Rose 23, a 2022 HOYS finalist for earlier rider Emma Crawford.

    “This was my first present together with her and he or she received each day – three out of three – she’s very good,” James advised H&H.

    “John Renwick is thought for liking to win, so we have been pretty going for it from the beginning of the tour! However they’re a stunning bunch of horses so that they make my job a lot simpler. It was a great week – it’ll be arduous to maintain it going however we’ll attempt!”

    Amongst this week’s different massive three-star winners have been Chloe Aston (Diatendra Von Rocherrath Z) and Man Williams on the 18-year-old Rouge De Ravel. Man’s 16-year-old daughter Maisy topped Friday’s 1.30m velocity class on new journey Piggle van de Bucxtale, having additionally received a younger horse class with Gold Rush.

    Julien Epaillard and Donatello d’Auge, winners of the World Cup qualifier in Amsterdam

    Credit score: Arnd Bronkhorst

    Epaillard claims a World Cup hat-trick

    Speedy French rider Julien Epaillard loved a exceptional profitable streak by 2022 and has began 2023 in the identical vein, posting his third victory of the World Cup season in Amsterdam.

    He and the 10-year-old mare Donatello D’Auge soared residence faster than runners-up 23-year-old Swiss rider Edouard Schmitz and Quno, with Brazilian Yuri Mansur and the nice Vitiki ending an emotional third after an eight-strong jump-off.

    Julien, ranked quantity three on this planet, now heads the Western European League desk forward of the World Cup Last in USA in April.

    “It’s my first five-star win with Donatello D’Auge, so it’s actually particular for the household and the staff,” he mentioned.

    Edouard Schmitz, who’s half the age of the winner, quipped: “Subsequent time I’ll beat the previous man!” And Yuri Mansur mentioned of Vitiki, who has returned from a damaged leg incurred in a fall in Aachen. “We had such an extended and arduous story, however the best way he’s leaping this season is unbelievable. This horse is at all times emotional for me.”

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