Ben Maher’s long-time lead on Winning Good came to an end in the latter stages of the 5* 1.50/1.55m on day one in Monte Carlo on the Global Champions tour.
Fifty-one contended this speed class with Ben upping the pace on the Winningmood nine-year-old. But a possible win was denied by late-drawn Pius Schwizer riding for Switzerland on Chidame Z and Ben had to settle for the runner-up spot 0.48 sec.
Scott Brash guided the For Pleasure 12-year-old Hello Forever into fourth and Michael Whitaker was immediately behind for fifth on the Locarno/Cavalier Royale 12-year-old JB’s Hot Stuff. Shane Breen was also clear to take 10th on the 10-year-old Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker.
This class ran concurrently with the first round of the Global Champions League and Scott, as one half of the New York Empire with David Will on Deluxe Ilton, stood at the top on a zero score with 1.97 sec in hand over the Scandinavian Vikings. However, it is tight at the top as five teams are currently clear and on a zero score. It is all to play for.
Ben and Winning Good were obviously clear but London Knights partner Martin Fuchs returned on four faults with Chaplin to put the team in sixth at the halfway stage.
John Whitaker and Argento found a fleet turn of foot in the 5* 1.45m to finish second.
Fifty-three contended this two-phase class and the 16-year-old Arko stallion Argento responded to John’s every question to slot into the runner-up spot 0.75 sec behind the winner, France’s Simon Delestre and Chesall Zimequest.
Ben guided the Continio 11-year-old Madame X into fourth with Scott Brash also posting a double clear for eighth on the nine-year-old Hello Mr President.
Jemma Kirk claimed two of the top four places in the 2* 1.40m two-phase. She slotted the 14-year-old Quelisto into second place 0.53 sec behind the winner, and also picked up fourth on the Corofino nine-year-old Vagabon Des Forets. Nick Benterman eased the Diamant De Semilly nine-year-old Frau Antje into fifth.
Tess Michael claimed victory in the 2* 1.15m two-phase with E.Harley, the Van Gogh nine-year-old winning the 23-horse class with 0.44 sec to spare.
Nick guided Chaccorio into sixth spot in the 2* 1.25/1.30m two-phase, the Chacco-Blue eight-year-old finishing more than four sec behind the winner. Henry Truelove claimed eighth on Golly Girl and Olivia Mawson was also double clear aboard Gilka B for ninth.
Photos © Jumping Around & Stefano Grasso/GCT