Tag Archives: Ben Maher

Kenny and Maher Take Top Titles in the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumpers

Darragh Kenny and Cicomein VDL. © Sportfot.

January 27, 2021 – Wellington, FL – In a California split, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Ben Maher (GBR) took home blue ribbons after topping a field of 121 entries in the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumpers as week three of competition got underway at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Wednesday, January 27.

Just seventh to go in the starting order, Kenny and Cicomein VDL, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by HCK Collection, LLC, navigated all eight obstacles in the jump-off without fault for a double clear effort in a time of 36.036 seconds, quick enough to hold the lead right through to the finish.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Ben Maher and Tic Tac Claim Victory in $137,000 Restylane Grand Prix CSI3*

Ben Maher and Tic Tac. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – It was a thrilling finish for the final day of the second week of FEI competition at the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) as Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher (GBR) and the 18-year-old stallion Tic Tac, owned by Jane Forbes Clark, edged the competition by just one one-hundredth of a second to take top honors in the $137,000 Restylane Grand Prix CSI3* on Sunday, January 24.

On the derby field at Equestrian Village, a total of 42 entries entered the ring to tackle the course designed by Oscar Soberon (USA) with 12 qualifying to return for the jump-off. Maher executed the track flawlessly aboard the SBS stallion by Clinton x Panama Du Seigneur, leaving all eight obstacles in their cups to secure the win in a blistering time of 43.56 seconds, just one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Canada’s Eric Lamaze.

Ashley Vogel Marks Another Win in the $25,000 FEI Hermès U25 Grand Prix

The U25 riders took to the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Sunday afternoon to contest the first $25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix, and the class of 55 welcomed 10 back for the jump-off on the Oscar Soberon-designed course. The U25 Series will return for WEF 4 with the $25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix Series Team Event.

Notching their second U25 victory of the week, Ashley Vogel (USA) and her 2009 Zangersheide mare Bellissimo Z (Bamako de Muze x C’est Elle Z) flew through the jump-off timers in 39.10 seconds, solidifying the blue ribbon during their first week ever competing on the Derby Field.

Trailing just behind the duo was Lucy Deslauriers (USA) aboard the Luja LLC’s 2011 Selle Francais gelding Billy de Beaufor (Allegreto x HH Rosine De Beaufor), finishing with 39.43 seconds on the clock. Third place went to the USA’s Tanner Korotkin and Deauville S, a 2006 Holsteiner gelding (Diamante de Semilly x Touch of Class) owned by Castlewood Farm Inc., who concluded their jump-off in 40.56 seconds.

Mark Bluman and Noortje Vd Windheuvel Victorious in the $30,000 CP Grand Prix

It was a day of firsts for Mark Bluman (ISR) as he and his mount, the eight-year-old Noortje Vd Windheuvel owned by Over the Top Stables, LLC, flew to the top of the podium in the $30,000 CP Grand Prix, their first grand prix class together. They were also first to go in the starting order, first to return in the jump-off, and as luck would have it, they ended the class in first place with a double-clear effort in a time of 42.784 seconds.

“Since we got her I’ve been saying that she [was] one of the most talented seven-year-olds I’ve ever ridden,” he beamed. “She has a great attitude, she’s quiet, and she always wants to do a good job for you. She’s fast, scopey, and has all the qualities to be a real grand prix horse.”

The Belgian Warmblood mare by Farfleu De Muze x Calista Vd Windheuvel showed those aforementioned qualities as they raced around the shortened course with authority to solidify the win.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Ben Maher Victorious over Eric Lamaze in Battle of Olympic Gold Medalists at Royal Horse Show

Ben Maher and Tic Tac. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, ON – It was a true battle of excellence as Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher of Great Britain nudged Canadian Olympic individual gold medalist Eric Lamaze for victory in the $85,000 Big Ben International Challenge on Thursday night, November 7, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 97th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt set a testing track that allowed the best horses and riders in the world to showcase their skills in front of a packed house in the Coca-Cola Coliseum. A total of 15 riders qualified for the jump-off, setting the stage for a battle of epic proportions.

As the 10th rider back for the jump-off, Lamaze set a blistering pace in front of the home crowd, slicing and dicing around the shortened track before galloping through the timers in 37.17 seconds. Next to challenge, Maher used Tic Tac’s huge stride to his advantage. When the clock flashed 36.75 seconds, Maher moved to the top of the leaderboard and remained there to take the win for owner Jane Clark.

“I think a lot of people didn’t like me in the stadium here this evening to beat Eric, but it’s sport; I always try my best!” said Maher, 34, who won a team gold medal as a member of the British team at the 2012 London Olympics.

“[Tic Tac] deserved this win,” continued Maher of the 16-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion. “He’s been knocking at the door. He didn’t jump many shows, but he had a couple of second places, so it’s nice to win a class with importance like this this evening.”

While Lamaze, 51, was forced to settle for second with Fine Lady 5, he currently leads both the GroupBy Leading International Rider and Leading Canadian Rider standings, helped by a win in the $37,000 Jolera International Strength and Speed Challenge on Wednesday, November 6.

Third place in Thursday night’s class went to Margie Goldstein Engle, 61, of the United States who stopped the jump-off clock in 37.61 seconds riding Dicas, owned by Gladewinds Partners, LLC.

Earlier in the day, Daniel Coyle of Ireland claimed the win in the afternoon’s featured $37,000 Brickenden Trophy. Riding Farrel for owner Ariel Grange, Coyle topped a 12-horse jump-off after posting the winning time of 31.85 seconds. Next into the Coca-Cola Coliseum, 18-year-old Brian Moggre of the United States made a valiant attempt to catch the leading time riding MTM Flutterby, but he settled for second place when the clock flashed 32.28 seconds. Australia’s Rowan Willis took third place with a time of 33.29 riding Calisto 26, while Lamaze and his mount, Chacco Kid, were fourth with a time of 33.68 seconds.

For more information, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Phenomenal Horsepower Propels London Knights to 2019 GCL Championship Victory

Ben Maher and Explosion W. Photo by GCL/Stefano Grasso.

New York, NY – The power pairings of Explosion W and Ben Maher and Clooney 51 and Martin Fuchs propelled London Knights to victory in the GCL New York and the overall 2019 Championship with drama until the final seconds.

Four flawless clear rounds were delivered by the unbeatable Knights who secured a historic second GCL title win after a rollercoaster season saw their duel with St. Tropez Pirates dominate the team series this year.

The Knights finished three points ahead of St. Tropez Pirates, with a total of 326 points this year. Madrid in Motion secured third in the Championship with 303 points, with the Shanghai Swans just hanging onto their fourth place, meaning they too will fast-track to the semi-finals at the GCL Super Cup at the GC Prague Playoffs.

The dramatic backdrop of the Lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty provided one of the greatest stages for top-level show jumping as the world’s top riders and horses competed in the LGCT and GCL Finals for the first-time ever on Governors Island.

New Yorkers and visitors to the City filled the grandstands and cheered on the teams including home city team New York Empire, owned by Georgina Bloomberg who was watched by her father and former New York Mayor Michael.

Among guests were tennis ace Andre Agassi, supermodel Christy Turlington, and fashion designer Donna Karan for the first ever LGCT event in New York.

It was all about big names, big views, and big guns as the Knights fielded their top horses in their bid to seize the GCL Championship.

“For me, I’m biased but I have an incredible horse. To team up like this is a unique concept, where can you bring these kinds of horses together from different countries and compete like this. It was memorable day that’s for sure.

I’ve been to New York a couple times before to visit. It’s an incredible city. I don’t think anyone was sure what to expect. But, when we came here, like Global Champions does, they make the logistics incredibly easy for the grooms and the horses. The accommodations and how we are all looked after is five star. For the first year, I think the show is a huge success. There were big crowds here; it was well advertised and when I came out of the ring there were many people saying they enjoyed the day so hopefully this will grow.” ~ Ben Maher

City of Dreams Delivers as Maher Takes 2019 LGCT Title in New York

It was ‘game, set, and match’ after Ben Maher (GBR) wrote history aboard Explosion W in an extraordinary Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of New York, taking the LGCT Grand Prix win and the 2019 Championship title just hours after helping to secure the GCL team series crown for the London Knights.

In the city that never sleeps it would turn out to be a superlative showdown with a script that sporting dreams are made of. With spectators filling the rafters of the grandstand and positioned in every inch of space, the equestrian world watched as the knife-edge Championship reached its conclusion on Governors Island.

Devos (BEL) lead the overall ranking by just one point, but with pressure reaching fever pitch it was Ben Maher (GBR) who kept a cool head in a seven-rider jump-off to catapult himself to the title win – his second after taking the 2018 Championship.

A beaming Ben said: “I knew it would be a tough weekend – the dream was to win the team [title] and the individual. It doesn’t happen often. What a horse – he’s incredible. He understands me, I understand him, we have a great connection, and it’s a pleasure to be in the sport like this.

“It’s incredible [to win the title for a second year running]. Last year was unexpected; this year I’ve used Explosion a little less; I’ve used Concona, Madame X and F One USA, so I’m lucky to have so many great horses and great owners.”

In a touching sporting moment, Maher praised his rival Pieter Devos, who was just beaten into second place in the Championship. “[Pieter] gave a great fight; it was a push all the way to the end. I’m sure he’s going to come back strong.”

More info: www.gcglobalchampions.com.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jennifer@jumpmediallc.com

Championship Decider on Knife Edge as Knights Take Pole in New York

Ben Maher of the London Knights aboard Explosion W. Photo by GCL/Stefano Grasso.

New York, NY – In a script worthy of the Broadway stage, GCL New York Round 1 saw the London Knights claim pole position – propelling themselves back into the 2019 title fight as Saturday’s Championship decider rests on a knife edge.

London Knights’ formidable combination of Martin Fuchs with Clooney 51 and Ben Maher aboard Explosion W blew away the competition in a jaw-dropping class, taking pole position and every advantage possible heading into Saturday’s showdown.

However, just one rail away after the results are the current ranking leaders St. Tropez Pirates, with Pieter Devos and Dani G. Waldman collecting just 4 faults in the complex class to put them within touching distance of a podium – and the Championship title.

In a drama-fueled day, the Shanghai Swans – who were placed second in the overall rankings so far – were eliminated from the competition after Peder Fredricson and Zacramento unexpectedly parted ways during the first round of action. Their elimination would mean the team cannot improve on their score, dropping the Swans out of contention for the title.

Martin Fuchs spoke after their round: “It helped that we have two of the best horses in the world and are in great shape, so it’s a great start. My horse Clooney is in the best shape he’s ever been now.”

Teammate and team manager Ben Maher revealed the team’s tactics: “Martin and I sat down and we had a plan this week. We have our two best horses here, and it’s the first time we’ve teamed them up together.”

But the experienced British Olympic gold medalist remained clear-headed: “One minute you can be winning, the next you can be out, and every score counts. We’ve come with one of the best teams possible this weekend to put pressure on the others, so we’ll hope to produce more clear rounds tomorrow.”

Constant van Paesschen Dazzles in LGCT New York Opener

Victory was sweet for Belgium when Constant van Paesschen and his striking 10-year-old black stallion Vendetta Treize took top call in the opening event of the inaugural Longines Global Champions Tour New York. Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP) claimed the runner-up position riding F, while Abdel Saïd (EGY) rounded out the top-three podium finishes on Axel 111 Z.

With his mount’s owner and breeder, Amandine Wittouck, watching from the sidelines, van Paesschen posted a blistering clear over Uliano Vezzani’s (ITA) opening CSI5* track. Of the round, he touted: “The horse jumped very well and it’s a very nice feeling to win. I wanted to try and leave one out somewhere, but I saw that it wasn’t coming up like I wanted so I stuck to the plan. The horse really tried, and I was crossing my fingers!

“To realize [an event] at this venue is unbelievable,” continued van Paesschen of the latest breathtaking addition to the LGCT circuit on Governors Island in New York, NY. “We have been riding all year in unbelievable locations, but this one stands out.”

Panoramic views of downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty provided a quintessential backdrop for the first day of competition at the Longines Global Champions Tour of New York and the riders rose to the test.

More info: www.gcglobalchampions.com.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jennifer@jumpmediallc.com

Show Jumping A-List Heads for LGCT New York Finals

Jessica Springsteen. Photo by Stefano Grasso/LGCT.

New York, NY – An A-List of the world’s show jumping stars is heading for the LGCT Finals in New York on September 27-29 on Governors Island in New York City.

With anticipation mounting, it was revealed that some of the top U.S. riders competing at the spectacular venue of Governors Island will be McLain Ward, Kent Farrington, Georgina Bloomberg, Margie Goldstein-Engle, Jessica Springsteen, and Jennifer Gates.

They will be up against a star-studded international field including Pieter Devos (BEL), Marcus Ehning (GER), Ben Maher (GBR), Daniel Deusser (GER), Peder Fredericson (SWE), Martin Fuchs (SUI), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Darragh Kenny (IRL), Scott Brash (GBR), Harrie Smolders (NED), Simon Delestre (FRA), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE), and Olivier Philippaerts (BEL).

Every afternoon from Friday, September 27 to Sunday, September 29, the top athletes in show jumping will face off in the purpose-built sand arena and there is FREE ADMISSION for spectators who will be able to watch the competition.

U.S. rider Jessica Springsteen, who won last weekend’s LGCT Grand Prix in St. Tropez, spoke of the excitement surrounding the event in New York, near where she grew up with her dad Bruce and mom Patti in New Jersey. She said: “It’s my hometown; my whole family are coming. I think it is going to be unbelievable – I’m so looking forward to it!”

Star Strikers Revealed for Final GCL Face Off in New York

High stakes, enormous pressure, and big expectations… the GCL team competition is set to reach fever pitch as the battle for supremacy rockets to its conclusion in New York.

Throughout the year the GCL team competition has seen more drama, tactics, and excitement than ever before, with all 16 teams experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions this season.

Currently leading are the St. Tropez Pirates with a score of 304 points, closely followed by the Shanghai Swans on 302 so far. Just six points behind at 296 are the former leaders and 2018 Champions London Knights, while Madrid in Motion are a further six points away with 290 overall.

As well as the Championship title, teams are fighting for a place in the GC Prague Playoffs GCL Super Cup, with the top four ranked teams fast-tracking to the semi-finals – a huge advantage in the fight for the 3 million euro prize pot and chance to etch their names into the history books.

An Unmissable LGCT Showdown in New York

The Longines Global Champions Tour Finals in New York are set to be an unmissable showdown with only one point separating the season’s top two riders, Pieter Devos (BEL) and Ben Maher (GBR), in the Championship.

The fight for the LGCT crown is on a knife edge in one of the closest duels in the history of the LGCT. In a dramatic shake-up last weekend, Devos took over the ranking lead after finishing second in the LGCT Grand Prix of Ramatuelle/Saint-Tropez, putting him on 278 points, just one point ahead of Maher on 277.

Both riders have been volleying for the lead, leapfrogging each other to take over the top spot in the ranking at different points throughout the season.

However, with only nine scores counting in each rider’s tally, Maher is in a slightly stronger position heading into the Finals in New York despite being second currently in the ranking.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jennifer@jumpmediallc.com

Olympian Ben Maher Tops LGCT Grand Prix of London

Maher and Explosion W (Photo courtesy of Stefano Grasso)

Rome, Italy (August 16, 2019) – Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Maher’s show jumping prowess has been the subject of championship stories at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, the 2012 London Games, and numerous international competitions around the globe. On the famed Longines Global Champion Tour (LGCT) circuit, Maher has consistently topped its destination events over the past two years, and this summer was victorious not only in his nation’s capital of London while representing the home team London Knights, but is well positioned to reclaim his 2018 LGCT Champion of Champions title for 2019.

Maher kicked off the 2019 LGCT season with a second-place finish aboard his anchor KWPN stallion, Explosion W (Chacco Blue x Untouchable), in the LGCT of Doha. Subsequent top finishes for Maher and teammates on the London Knights in Stockholm, Sweden and Casais/Estoril, Portugal further cemented their prestige in the LGCT ranks. From August 2nd to 4th, Maher truly proved his star power, winning the LGCT Grand Prix of London and skyrocketing both himself and his team to top rankings in the tour and league. In a four-horse jump-off and aboard Explosion W, Maher edged out Shane Sweetnam aboard Alejandro and Darragh Kenny aboard Classic Dream to take the win on a time of 38.98. It was double gravy for Maher, who won not only for his home team, the London Knights, but also in his nation’s capital.

Following the LGCT in London and the subsequent LGCT Valkenswaard, Maher sits perfectly poised to pounce at future destinations and be named the 2019 LGCT Champion of Champions for the second year in a row. Maher no doubt has his sights set on further victories and ultimately Tokyo 2020.

Media contact:
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com

Explosive Start for Ben Maher at CHIO Aachen

Ben Maher and Explosion W (Photo credit: Tiffany Van Halle)

The first Rolex Grand Prix qualifier, the Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe, provided thrilling entertainment for the packed crowds at CHIO Aachen. The nail-biting jump-off saw Great Britain’s Ben Maher take the top prize following a tightly fought contest, with Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Daniel Deusser finishing in second and third place, respectively.

With eleven horse and rider combinations reaching the jump-off it was Dutch rider, Marc Houtzager, who put the pressure on his fellow competitors with a careful round in 50.13 seconds to secure the first clear on the scoreboard. But much to the delight of the home-crowd, Germany’s Daniel Deusser showed off his enviable skill to shave nearly three seconds off Houtzager’s time and with an eruption from the patriotic spectators, he took the lead. His position was not held for long, with Great Britain’s Ben Maher and the notoriously fast chestnut gelding, Explosion W, producing an electrifying round finishing in 46.28 seconds, a time that proved too difficult to beat.

Explosion W looks to be in amazing form; how did he feel during this first class?

It is his first time in Aachen; he hasn’t seen many arenas like this in his life yet, but when you put the tack on and you get on this horse, he makes you believe you can do anything. He makes my life and my job much easier than most!

There seemed to be few problems at the water; was that an issue for Explosion at all?

It wasn’t an issue for him, but it was an issue for me! I actually made a mistake. I made eight strides in the first round instead of nine. I had a kick in the head this morning from a fall, so maybe I can’t count anymore! But he made up for my small mistake and that’s the difference between an incredible horse like him and some of the other horses I have had.

It appeared to be quite a difficult course for the first 5* class at CHIO Aachen; what are your thoughts on this?

I agree, it was a difficult first class, but it creates good sport for the spectators to watch when they see a little drama like this in competition. It was a big course and, judging it on this, we now know what might be coming on Sunday for the Rolex Grand Prix.

CHIO Aachen is renowned as one of the best equestrian events in the world; how does it feel to win here?

Winning never gets old. I am very competitive! I think the difference with winning here is the size of the arena and the number of fans that are watching; we don’t have that in a sport normally. I think that’s what makes it even more special, to ride into this ring that has so much history and so many people following it; that’s why every rider wants to win here.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Ben Maher and Don Vito Top $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic

Ben Maher and Don Vito. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 28, 2018 – The third week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) ended with a victory for Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher (GBR) riding Don Vito in the $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic on Sunday to conclude Adequan® CSI3*.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Brilliant British Post Back-to-Back Win in Rome

(L to R) Michael Whitaker, Di Lampard Chef d’Equipe, Ben Maher, Jessica Mendoza and John Whitaker. (FEI/Stefano Secchi)

Rome (ITA), 27 May 2016 – Team Great Britain clinched the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping title for the second year in a row at Piazza di Siena in Rome (ITA). And it was the genius of the legendary John Whitaker that sealed the result with a brilliant last-to-go run with Ornellaia. The 60-year-old rider is one of the best-loved characters in the sport, and could afford a single fence down in the second round. But true to form, he left all the poles in place to post one of four double-clears on a day of brilliant sport to secure the winning British total at just four faults.

The World and European champions from The Netherlands were firm favourites as the action began, but they disappeared from the reckoning with a disappointing second round and it was the French and Americans who eventually filled runner-up spot with 12 faults each. Germany slotted into fourth ahead of the The Netherlands in fifth while Canada lined up sixth ahead of Sweden and Italy who divided seventh place.

Pre-Olympic tension

The air at Piazza di Siena was filled with pre-Olympic tension and, from the outset, the British demonstrated their resolve. As defending Olympic champions they came up against teams they may well meet in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) in just over two months’ time, and the message was loud and clear. They were the only side to conclude the first round on a zero score as John Whitaker’s first fault-free effort was matched by Ben Maher with Tic Tac and Jessica Mendoza riding Spirit T.  Michael Whitaker, who along with his older brother was also a member of the winning team at Piazza di Siena 12 months ago, produced the first-round discount score with nine faults from Cassionato. But his foot-perfect second run would prove pivotal to the end result.

This was Great Britain’s eleventh victory at Piazza di Siena since the Nations Cup was first staged at the iconic venue in 1926 and, as Chef d’Equipe, Di Lampard, pointed out afterwards, Friday’s performances just make her selection decisions for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games all the more difficult. “But that’s OK,” she said. “It’s a really good problem to have!”

Wide open

As the second round began the competition was still wide open, with the Americans, Dutch, French and the host nation all stalking the leading British with just four faults on their respective score-cards. Sweden had already racked up eight faults while the Canadians and Germans had nine apiece, and with additional penalties none of these nations would feature prominently at the end of the day. One of the standout performances of the day, however, came from Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson and the very exciting 10-year-old mare H&M Cue Channa 42 who cruised around both rounds with the greatest of ease.

Despite a fabulous double-clear from Penelope Leprevost and Vagabond de la Pomme, the French lost their grip, and the Americans did likewise when also adding eight more faults even though their anchor partnership of McLain Ward and HH Azur were also foot-perfect for a second time. Italian chances were dashed with 20 faults to add to their tally, but the biggest surprise was the collapse of the Dutch whose pathfinder, World and European champion Jeroen Dubbeldam, added 16 faults to his first-round single error with SFN Zenith on a day his team will probably prefer to forget.

It was impossible to predict the outcome, however, when Ben Maher kicked off Britain’s second round with a mistake at the first element of the difficult double at fence eight as well as the last fence. Mendoza hit only the delicate vertical that followed the spooky hedge-filled oxer at fence five, but then Michael Whitaker began to pull it back with a great clear from the enigmatic Cassionato who was a lot more settled on his second tour of the arena.

This ensured that his brother had a fence in hand coming into the ring to bring the competition to a close. John said afterwards that it was less pressure than 12 months ago – “I didn’t have a fence in hand that day” – but he still had a job to do. And he did it in style, his clear round leaving his team two fences clear of the joint-runners-up from America and France.

Delighted

John was delighted with Ornellaia. “This was her first Nations Cup and she showed what she can do,” he said. He has already decided that his more familiar ride, the stallion Argento, won’t be going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “Argento is a great horse; he’s a real fighter but he has his limits and I don’t want to push him beyond them. Ornellaia has done some good things already; she’s really careful and she’s the one for Rio if I am needed, and if I am asked to go. I’m definitely keen to go; the Olympics are the Olympics and there’s nothing like them; everyone feels that way, but I’m probably not in the top five (for selection) if Big Star (Nick Skelton) and Sanctos (Scott Brash) are ready,” he explained.

John reckons his brother Michael’s grey stallion also has great Olympic potential. “There’s nothing that horse can’t jump!” he said. Michael admitted that Cassionato was “a bit too fresh” in the first round – “He was jumping up so high, so in the second round I had to ask him to come back down!” he explained. Cassionato certainly seems to have a whole lot of fun every time he goes in the ring – “He’s a bit like a very naughty boy!” Michael said with a laugh.

It was John who was the hero of the day, however, and not for the first time in his life. This man whose career has embraced so many wonderful moments and so many great horses, including the legendary Milton and Ryan’s Son, said this evening that he continues to relish the fun and excitement every time he goes in the ring. “I don’t feel the pressure anymore; I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted to do so now I just go out and enjoy myself – I’ve got nothing to prove,” said the great horseman, who once again was filled with pride when sealing victory for his country.

That pride and passion precisely mirrors the unique spirit of the jewel in the crown of the FEI – the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup.

For further information on the ninth leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 series Piazza di Siena in Rome (ITA), visit www.piazzadisiena.org or contact Press Officer Caterina Vagnozzi, press@equi-equipe.com, +39 335 6107070.

The next leg of the series will take place in St Gallen (SUI) on Friday 3 June. For information on the Swiss fixture, go to www.csio.ch or contact Press Officer Roman Gasser, roman.gasser@csio.ch, +41 79 635 50 05.

Full result here.

Quotes:

Show Director Eleonora Ottaviani: “What makes me really happy is that all the riders and the Chef d’equipes wanted to give priority to the Nations Cup this week, because this is our sport.”

Show President, Vittorio Orlandi: “I’m very glad that my two friends for many years, John and Michael (Whitaker), have won with their team. Congratulations to you and the young riders on your team; today’s competition was super-spectacular!”

FEI Jumping Director John Roche: “This was an outstanding performance by the British today. And the FEI is very proud to be connected with this event at this iconic location; long may it continue!”

Jessica Mendoza GBR: “This is my first time in Rome; the jumping was amazing and the course was great. I’ll be enjoying a few drinks with my team tonight!”

Ben Maher GBR: “I started riding Tic Tac in January in 1.40m classes and La Baule (in France, two weeks ago) was his first international show where we jumped 1.50m. I’m still getting to know him but he has a lot of experience and I’m looking forward to the future with him.”

For further information on the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping series, check out this link.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Rome:

Caterina Vagnozzi
Press Officer
press@equi-equipe.com
+39 3356107070

At FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46