British rider Ben Maher secured a hat-trick of wins at the Paris leg of the 2018 Longines Global Champions Tour in the French capital.
His third win came aboard the nine-year-old chestnut Explosion W, who helped him claim the lion’s share of the €100,000 prize purse in the in the CSI5* 1.55m Longines Eiffel Challenge. Ben finished ahead of French home rider Nicolas Delmotte (Urano De Cartigny), and the World number one Harrie Smolders (NED) riding Zinius.
“I’m lucky that I have some incredible horses, so I have to say thank you to Poden Farms for letting me ride them — it’s a pleasure to jump at a high level like this with them,” Ben said. “Explosion is young; he’s better the more he jumps. I did my plan, and it worked out. The horses are very fit.”
Uliano Vezzani’s challenging and technical course featured plenty of related distances. The unique aspect of the Paris arena is its square shape, rather than rectangle or oval, making for shorter distances and disrupting the rhythm in the lines. A hefty double of oxers caught out many combinations, and a Renault plank set along the expansive VIP also claimed a few victims. But faults fell all around the arena.
It was Ben who emerged triumphant from the eight-horse jump-off when his time of 35.30 seconds just couldn’t be beaten. A number of riders went faster, but saw the final fence fall. Home rider Nicolas Delmotte was last to jump, but couldn’t quite go fast enough, finishing clear in 35.41 seconds. Harrie Smolders’ galloping finish in 37.75 seconds and was good enough for third.
In the Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix of Paris, Egyptian rider Sameh El Dahan was given a standing ovation as he celebrated a breathtaking victory on Suma’s Zorro.
The young Egyptian and his plucky mare turned the tables on the heavyweights of showjumping triumphing against 10 world class riders in an electrifying jump-off.
“I can’t explain my emotion,” said Sameh. “My mare tried her heart out. I am loving the crowds; everyone was behind us. I am so chuffed and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It was one of the best wins of my life.”
Bertram Allen (IRE) finished second, with Harrie Smolders logging another third place podium finish at the venue.
Sameh is the 10th rider to qualify for the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Playoffs in Prague in December. He joins a top-notch start list, which includes Peder Fredricson (SWE), Ben Maher (GBR), Scott Brash (GBR) and Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS).
Sign up to watch the action from the Paris leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour on Horse & Country on Saturday July 14 at 8pm EST.