Ben Maher found all the right answers over a difficult track to secure victory in the Turkish Airlines 1.60m in the awe-inspiring Aachen arena in Germany with the 10-year-old Explosion W.
“It was his first time in the Aachen arena and he hasn’t seen many arenas like this in his life, but when you put his tack on, he makes you believe you can do anything and makes my job easy,” said Ben.
Eleven of the 48 starters posted first round clears over Frank Rothenberger’s testing 13-fence track with Ben obviously one of them, although he admitted to an anxious moment.
“I made a mistake and went eight instead of nine down a distance, but he made up for that, that’s the difference between him and others,” said Ben, who had an explanation for his misjudgement – “In this morning’s competition [the 1.45m on F One USA], my horse fell round the corner and fell and I got kicked in the head – maybe I can’t count any more. It looked worse than it was, I was lucky.”
There was no mistake in the jump-off as Ben smoothly guided the Chacco-Blue/Baloubet Du Rouet 10-year-old into an unbeatable lead, the horse living up to his name and exploding over the fences with ease to win by 0.80 sec.
“Winning never gets old, the big difference here is the size of the arena and the many fans – you don’t get that often in this sport,” said Ben.
Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar finished second on Rokfeller De Pleville Bois Margot with Germany’s Daniel Deusser taking third aboard Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z.
British-based Swede Angelie von Essen rode the scopey Daniel into seventh in the 46-strong 1.50m two-phase, the 11-year-old Heartbreaker/Cavalier stallion finishing more than five sec behind the winner, Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt on Coby 8. Ben posted a steadier double clear with the nine-year-old Concona for 12th while British-based Irishman Peter Moloney returned clear and four to put Ornellaia into 20th.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around/courtesy Aachen