Ben Maher flies the banner for Britain at the Wellington International Winter Equestrian Festival

Ben Maher & Point Break, winners of the $200,000 JTWG, Inc. CSIO4* Grand Prix. Photo © Sportfot

It’s been a successful trip to the sunshine of the Wellington International Winter Equestrian Festival for Olympian Ben Maher, with a $200,000 win on the final day of the festival on the 3rd March on board Point Break (Action-Breaker x Balou du Rouet), owned by Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright.

Ben’s win comes on week eight of the festival when he topped the leaderboard in the JTWG, Inc. CSI04* Grand Prix. Five combinations jumped the USA’s Steve Stephens and Nick Granat’s challenging course, with Maher, the first to jump clear and into the jump off, the only one to go double clear.

USA’s Coco Faith took second place with Hillside Farm LLC’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Aventador 5 (Arpeggio x Landadel) with just a single time fault in the jump off. Third place went to Zoe Conter for Belgium, with Stephen Stables’ Oldenburg mare . La Una (Chacco-Blue x For Pleasure). Conter rode the fastest four-fault round over the short course.

“This is probably the biggest grand prix he’s won,” said Maher of the Swedish stallion, Point Break. “His athleticism is what separates him from the other horses. The way he can bend his body and move his shoulder allows my job to become much easier. I can ride at the jumps and trust that he can do the job for me. It wasn’t so long ago he was spooking off every golf cart, but he was always a very talented horse and he’s progressed on very nicely.”

Without doubt it’s been a great trip for Maher, with a further win on Thursday in the Adequate WEFN Challenge Cup Qualifier.

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“To finish on this today has topped off a great week. The strength and depth in my team–both horses and people–it’s a great time to be able to ride right now,” Maher, whose consistent results also secured him the Martha Jolicoeur Leading International Rider Award too, said.

The top five results for the $200,000 JTWG, Inc. CSO4* Grand prix were:

1st Ben Maher (GBR) & Point Break: 2014 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Action-Breaker x Balou du Rouet)Owners: Charlotte Rossetter, Pamela Wright, Ben Maher

2nd Coco Fath (USA) & Aventador 5: 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Arpeggio x Landadel)
Owner: Hillside Farm, LLC

3rd Zoe Conter (BEL) & La Una: 2011 Oldenburg mare (Chacco-Blue x For Pleasure)
Owner: Stephex Stables

4th Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Champion League: 2013 Hanoverian gelding (Cador 5 x Contendro I)
Owner: Della Wordley

5th Tom Wachman (IRL) & Berlux Z: 2011 Zangersheide gelding (Berlin x Major de la Cour)
Owner: Coolmore Showjumping

Maher’s team experienced further success with his groom, Kirsty Bond, winning the $500 Grooms’ Award in recognition of her care for Point Break.

Tom Wachman (IRL) accepted the Niall Grimes “Sheers” Perpetual Trophy as top money-earning Irish rider during CSIO week at WEF, and earlier in the afternoon, Ashlee Bond (ISR) was honoured with the Kate Nash Boone Style Award, presented by Michael Meller, for her style of riding and ability to maintain sportsmanlike composure while competing during CSIO week at WEF.

The International competition at WEF with CSI5* and 2* classes resumes on 6 March.

Katie Gilmour is the host of Poles, Piaffe & Prosecco: the podcast for riders that love to train, laugh and drink prosecco! The podcast is free to listen to on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Feature image: Ben Maher & Point Break, winners of the $200,000 JTWG, Inc. CSIO4* Grand Prix. Photo © Sportfot


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