In a battle royal of Olympic team gold medallists, Ben Maher emerged victorious in a head-to-head with Canada’s Eric Lamaze at The Royal Horse Show, Toronto 4*, Canada, landing the $85,000 Big Ben International Challenge.
Quality was abound as a testing track from Canadian course-designer Michel Vaillancourt lost only eight riders from the original 23 starters with 15 coming forward to round two. Eric had the home crowd cheering with a blistering pace in the 10th draw on Fine Lady 5 to take the lead. But it was short-lived. Ben was in next with a determined challenge on Jane Clarks’ Clinton/Darco 16-year-old Tic Tac and flew into the lead with 0.42 sec in hand.
“I think a lot of people didn’t like me in the stadium here this evening to beat Eric, but it’s sport; I always try my best!” said Ben. “Tic Tac deserved this win, he’s been knocking at the door. He didn’t jump many shows, but he had a couple of second places, so it’s nice to win a class with importance like this this evening.”
Eight provided double clears with The USA’s Margie Engle finishing third on Dicas.
Text © Jumping Around/Photo courtesy Royal Horse Show/Ben Radvanyi Photography