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London International Horse Show 2023 kicks off with a home win for Ben Maher and Ginger-Blue

Saturday, 16 December 2023
CSI5*-W London International Horse Show 2023

Photo @ LondonInternationalHorseShow/Peter Nixon. Ben Maher and Ginger-Blue won the CSI5*-W 1.50m Champagne-Taittinger Ivy Stakes in London. Photo @ London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon.


Edited press release from London International Horse Show



This week, the 2023/2024 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League moves on to London International Horse Show for its 8th leg of the season and the five-star action got underway on Friday with a home win for Great Britain's very own Ben Maher and the 12-year-old Ginger-Blue (Plot Blue x Royal Bravour, bred by P. Verberne) in the CSI5*-W 1.50 Champagne-Taittinger Ivy Stakes.

The 1.50m competition with a jump-off had 35 participants lined up, with 14 horse-and-rider-combinations from eight different nations clearing their way into the jump-off. Demonstrating his prowess as the current world number two, Maher set the standard as the first to go aboard Ginger-Blue – executing a heart-stopping round, including a remarkable sixpence turn to the Post Box-vertical at fence number four, which posed a challenge for several other combinations.

Maher's time of 34.54 seconds remained unchallenged until Max Kühner (AUT) and EIC Cooley Jump the Q (Pacino x Obos Quality, bred by Pam Walshe) slotted into second in 35.83 as the last combination out. Kendra Claricia Brinkop (GER) and Do It Easy (Vigo Cece x Laeken) took the third place, while Jodie Hall McAteer (GBR) and Hardessa (Berlin x Kashmir van Schuttershof, bred by G. Kempers) finished fourth, followed by Peder Fredricson (SWE) aboard SV Vroom de La Pomme Z (Vigo d'Arsouilles x Untouchable, bred by Geert Baertsoen) in fifth. 

Speaking about his win and about Ginger-Blue, Maher said: “I’m very happy, it is great to get a win this early on in the week. I love this time of year and seeing everyone here at London International Horse Show. It was a long wait, being first to go with 14 in the jump-off, but Ginger-Blue is a naturally fast horse and it all worked out in the end. She’s experienced and we have a long-term partnership. I'm looking forward to riding her in the London Grand Prix on Monday, a class in which she came second in a couple of years ago.”

Photo @ LondonInternationalHorseShow/Peter Nixon. Matthew Sampson and MGH Candy Girl won the CSI5*-W 1.45m Christmas Pudding Speed Stakes. Photo @ London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon.

The opening five-star showjumping class at the 2023-edition of London International Horse Show was the CSI5*-W 1.45m Christmas Pudding Speed Stakes, featuring many of the world’s best horses and riders. Setting the early pace was Max Kühner and EIC Daloubet (Diamant de Semilly x Baloubet du Rouet, bred by Family Camitz v/Linus Camitz), who jumped the first clear in a time of 57.69 seconds. Robert Whitaker (GBR) and Chatondo (Chacco-Blue x Cartoon 21, bred by Gestüt Lewitz/Paul Schockemöhle) showed the time was beatable, shaving off over three seconds on Kühner’s time, but had four faults at the last. Marcus Ehning (GER) – who has competed at the London International Horse Show every year since he won a gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games – and DPS Revere (Hermes de Reve x Dobel's Cento, bred by Dara O'Malley) produced a smooth clear, but the time was not enough to challenge the lead.

It was not until the final third of the competition that the leaderboard changed. Duarte Seabra (POR) and Fernhill Balou Beau (Sligo Candy Boy x Cavalier Royale, bred by Donal Clarke) were the first to take over the lead, however the Portuguese rider’s position was short lived, with Conor Swail (IRL) and Casturano (Castelan x Canturo, bred by Detlef Hennings) making all the turns required to move to the top of the leaderboard. France's former world number one Kevin Staut and Vivante Grafinia PS (Vivant vd Heffinck x Balou du Rouet, bred by Gestüt Lewitz/Paul Schockemöhle) put on an excellent performance as the penultimate pair to go, but their time was only good enough for eventual fourth place. Last to go, Matt Sampson – the London Grand Prix winner from the 2022 show – and MGH Candy Girl (Sligo Candy Boy x Cruising, bred by Timothy Kelleher) set off meaning business from the first fence and had the crowd on their feet as they took the victory for Great Britain with a scintillating clear round in a time of 52.43 seconds, pushing Swail to second, Duarte to third and Staut to fourth, while Jur Vrieling (NED) and Lhynara (Lyjanero x Diarado, bred by Birgit Becker) finished fifth.

“It is really nice to kick off a week like this," the 33-year-old Sampson, who spends much of his year in Canada, said. "She is a fantastic horse – she is so careful and she was knocking on the door for a win like that. She jumped at the Horse of the Year Show with Gemma Stevens, who produced her, so it is a joint victory for us all. She has never jumped in an environment like this with all the crowds, so I am delighted. There is no crowd in the world that compares to the one at London International Horse Show. We work hard all year to get to the show, so to achieve a win in front of such a vibrant crowd is truly amazing.”


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