The British Olympic gold medallist Ben Maher and Poden Farms’ extraordinary Expolsion W have dominated the individual championship this year. They have not only won the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Rome , but have taken the overall Championship title also.
“It has been an incredible season, I can’t quite believe it. It is great to be back in the top end of the sport. Explosion W is incredibly fast, I have never ridden a horse as fast without really pushing him. What a horse. Explosion is phenomenal for his age.
“I have a lot to thank Poden Farms and the Moffitt family for for supporting me, it is a team effort. To finish in style like this is something I will savour for some time. To win is a dream come true.”
Ben is also at the top of the GCL overall team championship ranking with London Knights and could take that title at the finals in Doha in Qatar in November.
Jan Tops, Founder and President LGCT commented, “No one deserved it more than Ben this season. He’s had three wins. He has two great horses in super shape and he’s the well deserved Champion of the year. He managed his horses well, he had the goal to win this - it’s the most difficult [Championship] to win over 16 legs, against all the best horses and riders in the world. You have to have a good plan, great management and of course a bit of luck but he did everything well and it’s very well deserved.
“There was a bit of pressure today, with the team for GCL, and to qualify for the Grand Prix. Explosion took a bit of time to settle [in Rome], he wasn’t quite as relexed in the first couple of rounds but as I was warming up for the Grand Prix I could feel him kicking into gear as he normally does. He jumped incredible today. I was fortunate as last to go - he’s naturally very very fast, and I made one or two mistakes in previous rounds which cost me greatly! I’m very proud of this horse.
As Jan said it’s a long season, I’ve been competing in LGCT since almost the beginning and never really come close - never had the horsepower or the number of horses, so I have a lot to thank Poden Farms for and the Moffitt family. As Jan said it’s a team effort, they are young horses - we have a strong group of grooms and riders behind me, so it’s really thanks to them.
To finish early means I can relax a bit, rest the horses and go to Doha with goals in mind. GCL is very important for the London Knights. But it’s been an incredible season for me - if someone said to me six months ago that I’d be sitting here with two 9 year old horses I would never have believed that. I can’t quite believe it to be honest. Even today, I just kept my head down, stuck to my plan, trust my horse. I have to believe that he will clear every jump, and I know he’s fast, so it’s great to be back in the top end of the sport this year. I’m really going to enjoy this moment."
The riders now head to Doha for the final round of the 17-event season. The 2018 winner is decided but Alberto Zorzi, Scott Brash and Christian Ahlmann could all finish on the podium there.
Ben will be crowned 2018 Champion of Champions and the fight for second and third continues.