Ben Maher takes St Tropez Global Champions Tour title

...

Posted: Jun 4, 2018 12:42 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2018 12:42 PM

Ben Maher continued his successful Longines Global Champions Tour campaign by winning Saturday's Grand Prix of St Tropez.

It was the 25-year-old's second victory of the season having taken top honors in Madrid last month.

In Spain, the Briton rode Explosion W to victory but, with that horse resting back home, Maher put his faith in another nine-year-old gelding, Winning Good.

"I'm absolutely delighted," he said. "My horse, Winning Good, is only nine-years-old so he's young for this level. He gave me everything today. He was a bit tired in the jump-off which really tested his ability. I'm very lucky right now with the horses I have to ride. They are young and have bright futures.''

The event in the South of France was making its debut on the Longines Global Champions Tour.

Organized by the daughter of the late Greek shipping magnet Aristotle Onnasis, the Longines Athina Onassis Horse Show was established in 2014 and the red carpet was rolled out as VIPs and beautifully dressed guests flocked to the sixth event of the 2018 Global Champions season.

Just a short stroll from the turquoise waters of the famous Pampelonne Beach, under blue skies the crowd were treated to an exciting finale to the show. Of the 34 who qualified for the -300,000 Grand Prix, seven riders made it through to the jump-off against the clock.

First into the sand arena was the European Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist, Peder Fredricson. Riding Hasson WL he put the pressure on the remaining riders with a smooth clear.

Following the Swedish rider, poles fell for American Lillie Keenan and Belgium's Olivier Philippaerts and Niels Bruynseels before Australia's Edwina Tops-Alexander, on board her LGCT Miami Beach-winning horse, California, put in a faster clear to move into pole position.

Maher, the penultimate rider to enter the ring, would need to take a risk if he was to better her time. Turning tightly he took a stride out into the double of fences across the center of the arena, and his bravery was rewarded as he bettered the Australian's time by over a second.

The final rider, Carlos Lopez, from Colombia, split the pair to finish second to record a career best finish in an LGCT Grand Prix.

With the top five riders in the overall LGCT rankings all competing in St Tropez, the class had the potential to shake up the overall season rankings.

READ: The 62-year-old eying the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Leader, Scott Brash, earlier clocked up 12 penalties on his gelding, Hello Mr President, so failed to qualify for the Grand Prix.

His absence means he drops to third place with both Tops-Alexander and Maher moving above him. Australia's Tops-Alexander leads with 154 points, 11 clear of Maher on 143 with nine events remaining in 2018.

Global Champions League

Earlier in the day, Shanghai Swans recorded a comfortable victory in the Global Champions League team competition. Germany's Daniel Deusser and Brazil's Pedro Veniss were the only duo to record four clear rounds across the two-day team event.

Italian course designer Uliano Vetzzani took no prisoners in building Saturday's final round. With most of the fences up to the 1m 55cm maximum height and in the small purpose-built arena, poles fell as the very best were tested.

Of the 62 starters, only 12 riders jumped clear and the enthusiastic crowd were treated to a master class from the winning team.

Veniss, riding his powerful chestnut stallion Quabri de L'Isle, was the first of the pair to make the course look easy. His clear round gave German Olympic bronze medalist, Deusser, an eight fault, or two pole, buffer ahead of his round.

A buffer that wasn't needed as he, like Viness, recorded a smooth clear on Tobago Z to claim the top spot on the podium.

Deusser said he didn't feel any nerves as he entered the arena as the last rider to go. "With Pedro jumping clear, the pressure was off me," he said. "Nevertheless I was very confident in my horse after he jumped so well in the first round yesterday. The fences were big enough for the size of the arena and they came very fast. I can see why the course caused so much trouble.''

The top 16-ranked teams this season will qualify for the inaugural Global Champions Play Offs in Prague in December, which has a record prize pot of $10m, including $3m for the winning team.

Veniss added: "Our goal for this season is to qualify for Prague so we will keep fighting for that. My horse was amazing today and it's a pleasure to ride alongside Daniel."

League leaders, London Knights, moved up from fifth place overnight to claim second. The pair of Maher and Belgium's Olivier Philippaerts finished on eight faults, or two poles down, with with home favourite Roger-Yves Bost and Colombia's Carlos Lopez in third for Chantilly Pegasus.

Having won in both Shanghai and Madrid, London Knights second-place finish sees them extend their lead at the top of the table after the sixth leg of the championship. Reigning league champions, Valkenswaard United, remain in second, while the win in St Tropez for Shangahi Swans moves them up to third place on the overall league leaderboard.

The Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League stay on the French Rivera with the next event taking place in Cannes next weekend.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather