Ben Maher was in a class of his own today in the Longines King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead, taking home the win on Tripple X III (Namelus R x Cantango) after producing the only double clear of the day. Ben was accompanied only by Ulrich Kirchhoff on Carlina (Carvallo x Landgraf I) and Marcus Ehning on Copin van de Broy (Darco x Brownboy) in the jump-off, but none of them could do anything about Ben and his wonderful home bred British stallion.
Only these three riders managed to deliver clears in the first round, something the other 46 riders in the class could not match. The track was demanding, and a lot of problems were caused by the water at fence four being followed by the Longines triple combination which again had the Hickstead planks following on a related distance. Then there was of course the last line with the massive Dublin gates as a combination at 11 and b that caused heart break.
Some were really unlucky such as Werner Muff who had the front pole on the final vertical down on Landthago (Landjunge x Carthago), Niklaus Rutschi on the lovely Windsor XV (Karandasj x Wellington) who had a foot in the water, Beezie Madden who also had the last down on Coral Reef Via Volo (Clinton x Heartbreaker) as well as Peter Charles who suffered the same faith after an otherwise amazing round on Murka’s Odie de Frevent (Urbain de Monnai x Jalisco B).
Ben, Ulrich and Marcus all produced picture perfect clears though – all showcasing their brilliant skills in the grass ring at Hickstead. As first to go in the jump-off, Ben certainly had to put some pressure on the two others – and so he did. The jump-off track was reduced to six fences and seven jumps, and it was after the combination halfway that Ben put Tripple X in full speed towards the gate and getting a great angle he raced down to the final line. Crossing the finish line on a clean sheet and on a time of 48.88 seconds there was no doubt that Ulrich and Marcus had to come up with a really good round to beat the home rider.
Ulrich was next on Carlina, and after opening very well with a perfect angel to the second vertical he unfortunately had to see the a-element of the combination fall to the ground. It resulted in four faults and a time of 51.12 seconds for the Ukrainian rider. Marcus was last in and also he got a great start on Copin van de Broy, but the b-element in the combination went down – and although his time was the best of the day at 48.72 seconds the German rider had to settle for second, something the home crowd did not seem to mind.
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