It was ‘game, set and match’ today 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.
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„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.”