Ben Maher turns up the heat in Miami

The Longines Global Champions Tour 2016 season got underway on the beautiful beach setting of Miami, and day one got off to a good start for the Brits.

With a sizzling round that matched the Miami temperature, Ben Maher topped the 1.45m with 1.54 sec in hand on Aristo Z, the Andiamo/Flamenco De Semilly 12-year-old initially ridden in Britain by Barry Dove before Ben took over in late 2010 at the end of his six-year-old year.

Ben spoke of Aristo and his love of the jetset lifestyle.

“He’s had an easy year, just one outing so far and he’s a specialist in this type of ring, he loves Cannes and Monaco and the ocean beach weather,” he said.

Belgium’s Jos Verlooy slotted Farfelu De La Pomme into second. Britain’s Laura Renwick was fifth on the Obos Quality/Cavalier Royale eight-year-old MHS Washington. John Whitaker gave the fresh Argento a steady run to post a double clear, and Scott Brash did the same for Hello Gu’Nor, incurring just one time penalty.

USA-based Brit Amanda Derbyshire headed the 1.25/1.30m on the Cardento/Espri 10-year-old Cannavaro BH, winning by a slender 0.16 sec. Jess Mendoza was just two sec behind her on the 12-year-old mare Zahra II but such was the competition, they were in 16th spot.

And Amanda also popped Lady Maria BH, a 0-year-old Cartani/Corrado I Holsteiner mare, into third in the 1.40/1.45m. Alexandra Thornton and the 14-year-old Caballero took 11th.

In the big class of the day, the 1.50/1.55m speed, Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano and Caspar claimed top spot with the USA’s McLain Ward second on Rothchild and Ireland’s Bertram Allen in third on Quiet Easy 4. Both John Whitaker on Lord of Arabia and Ben Maher with Sarena clocked four faults each to drop to 12th and 16th.

Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso