Ben Maher secures victory in Palm Beach
Ben Maher jumped to the top in the Netjets Classic 1.55m with Cirus De Ruisseau Z at the CP Palm Beach Masters 4* meeting at Deeridge Farm in Wellington, Florida.
Seven of the 23 starters accessed the jump-off over the Alan Wade-designed course with Ireland’s Conor Swail setting the target on Rubens LS La Silla. But Ben managed to slice 0.14 sec off the time to take victory on Cirus.
“I had a lucky draw, I was quite close to the end with Darragh (Kenny) behind me but decided not to go too quickly on the first three jumps, the difficult NetJets combination. With Cirus being a young horse, I just got that out of the way and really sped up towards the end. I didn’t think I was fast enough. Although I was quicker, there were two riders behind me that really knew what they had to do. Darragh definitely took some chances early on. Fortunately for me it didn’t pay off for him today. Everything just came up right for me.
“My horse loves to do his job. I promised him a day off tomorrow. I said he could go in the field if he jumped a clear round in the jump-off, so my groom will make sure that I hold my word to that,” he added.
Four faults dropped Darragh and Babilu down to sixth, his time still 0.38 sc behind Ben.
Ben was also in the mix in Sunday’s FEI world cup qualifier as nine of the 38 starters contended the jump-off. But four faults in round two dropped the Conthargos nine-year-old Concona – owned by Poden Farms – down to sixth. The USA’s Alex Granato ook the win on Carlchen W with Canada’s Mario Deslauriers in second aboard Bardolina.
Also in Wellington at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre, Amanda Derbyshire jumped into fifth in the 4* grand prix with Roulette BH.
Thirteen of the 45 starters reached the jump-off with Amanda returning another clear on the year-old 2.30 sec behind the winner, the USA’s Beezie Madden on Darry Lou with McLain Ward in second aboard Tradition De La Roque.
Photo courtesy CP Palm Beach Masters Deeridge Farm