Ben Maher living New York dream with second overall LGCT title

The 2019 Longines Global Champions Tour came to a dramatic finish with Ben Maher repeating as Champion of Champions and the London Knights winning the GCL.

Posted: Sep 30, 2019 10:00 AM
Updated: Sep 30, 2019 10:00 AM

Ben Maher produced a brilliant performance to win the New York leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour for the world's top show jumpers and claim the overall title for the second successive year.

Unlike last year, when Maher and his Dutch-bred wonderhorse, Explosion W, were so dominant they clinched the overall championship with one more event to go, the 2019 title race had gone right down to the wire. Maher had been trailing his rival Pieter Devos of Belgium by just one point before winning the 18th and final leg in New York.

Earlier on Saturday, Maher had also brought home the overall championship for the London Knights in the Global Champions League for teams.

"I knew it was going to be a tough weekend," said Maher. "The dream was going to be to win the team and the individual, obviously. And this doesn't happen very often."

Maher, a 36-year-old Briton, paid tribute to Explosion W, a big-striding, 10-year-old chestnut gelding. This season, the pair, who also won in Rome and London, have amassed €593,151 ($648,968) in prize money.

"What a horse," said Maher. "He is incredible and I am very lucky to ride him."

READ: Ben Maher on the secrets of his success

READ: Pieter Devos on the secrets of his success

Jump-off

Riding third in a seven-horse jump-off, the pressure seemed to get to Devos, who made a mistake early on that caused his horse Claire Z to stop in front of an oxer. The Belgian eventually finished in seventh place in New York with eight penalties.

"I don't know what to say really," said Maher, when asked if he had spoken to Devos. "I feel bad for him, it's been a tough day, he gave a great fight. ...He had an unfortunate mistake here. It's sport, it's happened to me before and I am sure he is going to come back strong."

As the sixth rider to go, Maher steered Explosion W round the sandy arena on Governors Island, off the southern tip of Manhattan, at a steady pace. The pair took the lead with a clear round in 34.08 seconds, beating the previous leader, Germany's Marcus Ehning and Cornado NRW, by 0.57 seconds.

Could the final rider, Maher's London Knights' teammate, Martin Fuchs, stage an upset?

Riding his second horse, The Sinner, the Swiss rider was never able to match Explosion W's pace, and eventually finished in third place, 0.87 seconds behind Maher.

READ: Global Champions 2019: Schedule and results

'A naturally fast horse'

"It was a fast jump-off here today, Explosion jumped incredible in the first round and the first round of the Grand Prix, so he gave me a lot of confidence," said Maher.

"He felt a little bit quiet, it's been a hot day here today for the jump-off, but I got going and picked the distance up everywhere I needed to pick it up," he added. "He is naturally a fast horse, he just understands me, I understand him, we have a great connection and it's just a pleasure to be in a sport like this."

Maher took his second overall individual title with 301 points, 18 points clear of Devos. Germany's Daniel Deusser finished in third place, at 34 points back.

"It's incredible," said Maher, who won Olympic gold at the 2012 London Games. "Last year was a little bit unexpected. I had two 9-year-old horses that really carried me the whole season, and we won one or two shows early, so there wasn't too much pressure. This year, I've used Explosion a little less. ...I've used multiple horses, and it just shows how lucky I am, to have the few owners that I have, and they support me to make this all possible."

Global Champions League

Earlier on Saturday, Maher and Fuchs won the New York leg to claim the overall Global Champions League championship for teams for the second straight year for the London Knights.

Fuchs, riding the experienced gelding Clooney 51, and Maher with Explosion W, produced four flawless rounds over two days to win the final event of the regular season. The Paris Panthers were second, while the Prague Lions finished third.

The Knights won the overall title with 326 points, just three points clear of Saint Tropez Pirates, and 23 points ahead of Madrid in Motion. The Knights had won Madrid, Cascais (Portugal), Stockholm and London earlier in the season.

As team manager and rider, Maher played an instrumental role in its success. After securing the win in New York, the Briton paid tribute to his team, which also included Under-25 rider Emily Moffitt of Britain and Belgian twin brothers Olivier and Nicola Philippaerts.

"The whole team have played a part," Maher said, adding it hadn't been an easy season as the Knights struggled with a few rider injuries.

It has also been a successful season for Fuchs, the newly crowned European champion.

"A great year for me," said Fuchs. "My horse Clooney has been fantastic the whole year, and to be in such a team with the London Knights and to be with Ben Maher performing always great, it's amazing."

The Knights had been lying in pole position in New York overnight, and after Fuchs and Clooney put down a clear round on Saturday, Maher rode into the arena as the final rider in the knowledge four penalties or better would bring home the overall team title once again.

Leaving nothing to chance, the experienced Briton took the fastest route around the course, finishing with a clear round.

"There was a lot of pressure before coming here," said Fuchs. "So we said we bring Clooney and Explosion, two of our best horses. We knew we had to win, and that's what we came for."

With the regular season now finished, all eyes will be on the GC Prague Playoffs. Staged in the middle of the Czech capital between November 21-24 , the Playoffs will see the world's top riders battling it out for a total prize money pot of $3.3 million.

Terre Haute
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 52°
Robinson
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 46°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Rockville
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 42°
Casey
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 42°
Brazil
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 52°
Marshall
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 52°
Decreasing clouds to sunshine and cool
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Truck hits house in Greene County

Image

Fifth person facing charges in a local murder investigation

Image

Police are looking for Putnamville inmate

Image

Death investigation in Knox County

Image

NORTH DAVIESS SECTIONAL

Image

NORTH KNOX SECTIONAL

Image

LINTON SECTIONAL

Image

WASHINGTON SECTIONAL

Image

VIN LIN SECTIONAL

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 368740

Reported Deaths: 9688
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1714375392
DuPage22100605
Lake20157508
Will17862426
Kane16211346
Winnebago9857179
St. Clair7814217
Madison7021154
McHenry6049120
Champaign594528
Unassigned4765270
Peoria443368
McLean404134
Rock Island388990
Sangamon374563
Kankakee331379
Macon283251
Kendall259528
Tazewell255953
LaSalle232063
DeKalb225142
Coles186438
Williamson183259
Boone179025
Adams176716
Clinton170926
Vermilion165310
Jackson151126
Whiteside132125
Randolph123815
Knox123116
Ogle11477
Effingham11394
Marion97617
Grundy9367
Franklin9308
Monroe90128
Stephenson9007
Jefferson89446
Bureau88117
Morgan86824
Henry8317
Christian80329
Macoupin77110
Union75125
McDonough72017
Lee6691
Fayette66622
Crawford6456
Shelby63812
Douglas6168
Livingston60810
Montgomery59515
Woodford58014
Logan5684
Saline5399
Warren4878
Bond4849
Iroquois47519
Fulton4731
Wayne47312
Jo Daviess4727
Jersey46721
Cass45911
Perry42116
Moultrie3965
Carroll3849
Johnson3400
Richland33016
Lawrence3248
Pike3234
Clay30213
Clark29811
Hancock2984
Mason2981
Washington2971
Greene28115
Cumberland2706
Jasper26010
White2594
De Witt2515
Mercer2446
Piatt2340
Pulaski2331
Wabash2185
Ford18711
Menard1731
Edgar1518
Marshall1483
Massac1472
Henderson1210
Alexander1171
Hamilton1142
Gallatin1062
Brown1050
Edwards1050
Scott1020
Putnam880
Schuyler881
Stark832
Calhoun670
Hardin530
Pope411
Out of IL90

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 157713

Reported Deaths: 4092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25392789
Lake13805355
St. Joseph9277163
Elkhart8890135
Allen8278230
Hamilton6215113
Vanderburgh588261
Tippecanoe375915
Hendricks3302133
Monroe326638
Porter322049
Johnson3151129
Delaware297074
Clark296762
Vigo264840
Madison240595
LaPorte226658
Cass225522
Warrick195265
Kosciusko187826
Floyd180167
Howard164066
Bartholomew143358
Marshall140026
Dubois139626
Wayne132130
Henry128430
Grant127839
Boone124550
Hancock119944
Noble117434
Jackson114416
Dearborn98028
Morgan94840
Lawrence90837
Daviess89334
Gibson88612
Clinton86716
Shelby83531
LaGrange81015
Knox77410
Harrison77324
Putnam73716
Posey7236
DeKalb72011
Fayette69018
Steuben6338
Miami6305
Jasper6175
White59215
Montgomery59022
Greene55337
Scott52413
Decatur50739
Adams5027
Whitley4636
Clay4537
Ripley4538
Sullivan44414
Wells43511
Wabash4219
Starke4157
Orange40925
Huntington4015
Spencer3956
Washington3783
Franklin37625
Jennings36913
Fulton3653
Randolph3659
Jefferson3435
Pike33518
Carroll32913
Perry32614
Jay3116
Fountain3073
Tipton27823
Vermillion2531
Parke2374
Newton23011
Blackford2193
Rush2184
Owen2071
Martin2000
Crawford1591
Pulaski1562
Brown1433
Ohio1327
Benton1120
Union1110
Switzerland960
Warren841
Unassigned0234