Showjumper Ben Maher makes his mark

BEN MAHER claimed a superb victory in the World Cup at Olympia today, ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in London.

The Hertforshire-based showjumper emulated Michael Whitaker’s success in last year’s blue riband event, by defeating a top-class field against fellow Olympic contenders.

Former British number one Maher rose to the challenge with Tripple X III and just missed out on a medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Maher produced the horse from scratch and defeated many of the world’s best. allowing the breeder an extra sense of satisfaction.

“I don’t claim to be an expert breeder, but then I get one (horse) that turns out like that,” said Maher.

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“I did everything with him - saddle on, first show, everything - and he was always a pleasure to ride.

“Perhaps I am always conscious of over-protecting my horses. I know how good he can be, and next year is the ultimate goal. I didn’t want to peak too early.”

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Maher is up against the likes of Nick Skelton, Michael Whitaker, Robert Smith and Scott Brash for a place in the Great Britain squad for next year’s Games.

“The problem is also that he has got to get experience. He has got to prove he is good enough to make the team, firstly,” added Maher on Tripple X

“Even here, I am changing small things the way I ride. That is an important part of the process between now and next year.

“But this victory is surreal. I am still trying to take it in.”

Maher won 33,000 euros, prevailing after an 11-horse jump-off that included his British colleagues Robert Whitaker (USA Today) and Guy Williams (Titus).

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