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Ben Maher finds his form in Wellington

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Tackeray and Ben Maher looking comfortable under the palm trees. Photo by Sportfot.Great Britain's Ben Maher finished first and second in today's $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic aboard his horses Tackeray and Quiet Easy 4. Held as a Rolex FEI world ranking competition, the class was the feature event on Wednesday as the seventh week of the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) got underway. 

Today's 1.45m class featured 57 horse and rider combinations from 16 different nations competing over a speed course set by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany. Nineteen entries cleared the course without fault and battled against the clock. Maher took the first place prize with Mrs. Phillips' twelve-year-old KWPN stallion Tackeray (Quick Star x Sandro), stopping the clock in 60 seconds flat. Maher captured the second position aboard Mrs. Phillips' eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding Quiet Easy 4 (Quidam's Rubin x Zapateado), with a time of 60.36 seconds.

"It was a good class. I've got a big bill here, so I have to start trying to win some money," Maher laughed after the class. "I have been bringing the horses on slowly the last few weeks, getting used to the newer ones. It was a nice course; not too big. They left a lot of options to leave strides out in certain places and I don't know, the course just suited me I guess."

"Tackeray I have had for six months now; he is a useful horse," Maher stated. "He jumped the World Cup and then we dropped him down. There is a good variety of classes that he is capable of being good in."Quiet Easy is a horse that we have had for three years now since he was five years old. He was with a girl at home riding and doing all of the young horse classes, so this is my first show with him here in Florida. She gave him a great education, then when he was eight it was always the plan that he would come to me and I would bring him on. It is looking like he is going to be very useful," Maher explained.

Finishing in third, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Gama Chamaco crossed the timers in 60.81 seconds. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Wang Chung M2S finished fourth in 60.93 seconds. Pablo Barrios (VEN) and G&C Flash finished in 61.51 seconds for fifth place. Darragh Kenny and Lipton De L'Othain rounded out the top six with their time of 62.32 seconds.

Maher was pleased with his young mounts today and plans to bring out his top horses during the week as the competition advances. Maher's greatest Olympic Games prospect, Tripple X III, just arrived in Florida and jumped clear in this morning's $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Power and Speed class in his first time showing outdoors for the year. The pair most recently finished fifth in the World Cup Qualifier in Zurich, Switzerland.

"I am going to build him up here. They want me to jump the Nations Cup. It wasn't in my original plan, but we need to try and get on a winning roll with our team I think, so we need to try hard early," Maher said. "Tripple X is the one I am aiming hopefully for London. He has a very strict plan between now and the selection. Then Robin Hood is here. He is doing the 1.30m classes. My plan is to build him up slowly.

Lauren Hough (USA) was a double winner today in the International Arena. She rode OhLaLa to the win in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m class out of 65 entries, then came back in the second $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m class to win with Z Canta, owned by Pasmore Stables. David McPherson (GBR) and Silver Spring won the final Spy Coast Farm 1.40m class of the day.

Final Results: $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m ClassicA good start to Ben's first show riding Quiet Easy. Photo by Sportfot.

1. TACKERAY: 2000 KWPN stallion by Quick Star x Sandro
BEN MAHER (GBR), Mrs. Phillips: 0/60.00
 2. QUIET EASY 4: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Quidam's Rubin x Zapateado
BEN MAHER (GBR), Mrs. Phillips: 0/60.36

3. GAMA CHAMACO: 2004 Silla Argentina gelding by Carpe Diem Z x Atlantus Z
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Kerry Anne LLC: 0/60.81 

4. WANG CHUNG M2S: 2003 KWPN stallion by Royal Bravour x Ahorn
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Morningside Stud & Torrey Pine Stables: 0/60.93  

5. G&C FLASH: 2002 Hanoverian gelding by Forrester x Grannus
PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), Gustavo Mirabal: 0/61.51

6. LIPTON DE L'OTHAIN: 1999 SFB gelding by Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Prince Du Logis
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Windward Farm: 0/62.32

7. FATALIS FATUM: 1995 Hanoverian stallion by For Pleasure x Espri 
DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Daniel Bluman: 0/62.72

8. ZHIVAGO: 2003 KWPN gelding by No Limit x Kigali
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/64.44

9. RAMINA: 2001 Holsteiner mare by Corrado 1 x Maikater 1
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Alexandra Bartlett: 0/64.68
 10. SYRAH: 2003 Warmblood mare by Baloubet Du Rouet x Unknown
MOLLY ASHE-CAWLEY (USA), Dunkeld Associates: 0/66.83  

11. EXQUIS WALNUT DE MUZE: 1999 BWP gelding by Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin
HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Team Exquis: 0/67.22  12. UNIQUE IX: 2001 KWPN gelding by Heartbreaker x Vasco
TINA FLETCHER (GBR), Lady Harris & Lady Kirkham: 0/67.73

Source: Jennifer Wood Media Inc

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