GCT Valkenswaard Day One – Ben and Simon Just Quickest

Ben Maher. Photo credit: Lulu Kyriacou

Ben Maher Best in 14 Horse Jump Off

13/08/11 – Ben Maher flew to Valkenswaard from a short holiday break and showed he had made the best of the rest when he snatch victory in the 1.50m class this afternoon in Valkenswaard by only three tenths of a second. Riding Oscar who belongs to Ben’s holiday hosts, Mr and Mrs Cook, he rode a superlative jump off despite losing a stirrup over the second last fence. The win was all the more outstanding because Ben has only been jumping the horse competitively for a few weeks; GCT Chantilly was one of their first international outings together. “He just gets better and better,” said a smiling rider afterwards. Fourteen horses had been presented for the jump off over Uliano Vezzani’s course so the winner was bound to be the one who was the bravest, particularly as there was a long gallop to the last. Bernardo Alves, who was the first one to really attack the jump off course on his Monaco winner Bridgit and his time of 43.67 took nearly three seconds off the previous leaders, Gerco Schroder and Eurocommerce Pennsylvania, who ended up fifth. Emilio Bicocci and Olea brought the crowd to their feet but they could only managed 41.15. Michel Robert tried the same audacious gallop to the last that had worked so well in Chantilly with Kellemoi de Pepita but failed by over a second although 45.62 did earn him 1600 Euro for fourth spot.

Simon Delestre. Photo credit: Lulu Kyriacou

Earlier Simon Delestre and super speedy mare Orphee D’ Illion won the traditional opening ‘against the clock’ class, flying round in 62.58 to just prevent a home win for the Dutch by Albert Zoer and Samurai. In this, though the margin of victory was even smaller. Albert was almost last to go but could not quite catch the French pair with a time of 62.78. Venezula’s Pablo Barrios continued his good run of form started in Chantilly by being placed third with G & C Lagran in a time of 62.28. This win has netted Simon a 6400 Euro with Albert receiving 3200 Euro and Pablo 2400 Euro. It was a fair result for the Dutch though as Eric van der Vleuten was fourth and Harrie Smolders fifth.

The show continues tomorrow with the GCT Grand Prix of the Netherlands presented by the VDL Groep. Full results of the schedule for all classes including the Special Invitational and the CSI2*, along with the results, can be found on our website at www.globalchampionstour.com.


Class 1

1.     Simon Delestre (FRA) Orphee De L’illion, 0, 62.58, Euro 6400

2.     Albert Zoer (NED) Samurai, 0, 62.78, Euro 3200

3.     Pablos Barrios (VEN) G&G Lagran, 0, 64.24, Euro 2400

Class 2

1.     Ben Maher (GBR) Oscar, 0,0, 43.42, Euro 6400

2.     Bernardo Alves (BRA) Bridgit, 0,0, 43.67. Euro 3200

3.     Emilio Bicochi (ITA) Olea, 0,0, 44.15, Euro 2400


Simon Delestre: ”Orphee is always fast a bit crazy, I just have to hold onto her! A bit too little rein and she goes and jumps flat. So I did seven strides between one and two where other people had done six and then made it up on the rest of the course. She might be a grand prix horse one day, she is only eight now, super careful and always wants to win. Nearly as much as me!”

Ben Maher: ”I am really pleased with this horse and the owners, the Cooks, are great supporters who are planning to come and watch soon so I am really glad it is all going the right way for them.”

By Lulu Kyriacou

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