New York, N.Y. – Sept. 28, 2019 – Athletes returned to Governors Island Saturday for the second day of the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) of New York which would highlight the highly anticipated LGCT Grand Prix of New York CSI5*, preceded by the final round of the Global Champions League (GCL), culminating with the presentation of the two overall series championships. Riding in flawless fashion, Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Explosion W, owned by Poden Farms, swept every major title of the afternoon. The pair earned wins in both the LGCT Grand Prix of New York CSI5* and the GCL New York as a member of the London Knights to ultimately top the 2019 LGCT and GCL overall standings, earning four separate accolades to conclude the day.
Uliano Vezzani (ITA) tested 35 horse-and-rider combinations across his 16-effort 1.60m grand prix track, complete with the backdrop of city skyscrapers and fan-filled bleachers. The starting order was whittled down to the seven combinations of Alberto Zorzi (ITA), Marcus Ehning (GER), Pieter Devos (BEL), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE), Marc Houtzager (NED), Maher and Martin Fuchs (SUI) who would return for the jump-off.
Second in the order, Ehning set forth an impressive clear round time of 34.65 seconds to set the jump-off pace with Cornado NRW. The pair’s time appeared uncatchable until the two GCL-winning team members of the London Knights, Maher and Fuchs, remained as the final challengers of the second round. Maher and Explosion W delivered with a winning time of 34.08 seconds to earn their third LGCT grand prix win of the year. Fuchs followed aboard Luigi Baleri’s The Sinner to finish on a time of 34.95 which would see the duo finish in third place. Ehning ultimately ended in second place to capture the last slot for the Super Grand Prix in Prague as Maher has already secured his spot.
Maher and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding produced an astounding effort, jumping a perfect four clear rounds across Friday and Saturday’s competition which crowned them as back-to-back LGCT series champions. Maher earned his ninth LGCT-career win on Saturday, which also marked Explosion W’s third consecutive CSI5* grand prix win. The pair previously captured wins during the LGCT tour at stops in Rome and London.
The championship for the overall LGCT standings was a head-to-head battle between Maher and Devos as the season neared the end. Devos led the series ahead of Saturday’s final competition where Maher overtook the championship title and Devos ultimately finished in second place followed by Daniel Deusser (GER) in third.
The earlier GCL competition concluded two rounds in New York in addition to the overall season where the London Knights’ Maher and Fuchs emerged victorious. The pair jumped a total of four clear rounds across Friday and Saturday’s competition to finish on a perfect score and clinch the overall season title. Maher described the group as a “dream team” as each athlete rode their Eurpean Championship gold and silver-medal mounts Clooney 51 and Explosion W, respectively. The London Knights won five events through the year and earned back-to-back championships after winning in 2018 to remain uncatchable with their overall 2019 season victory. The team consists of Maher, Fuchs, Olivier Philippaerts, Nicola Philippaerts, Gudrun Patteet and Emily Moffitt. In a close battle, the St Tropez Pirates ultimately finished in a close second place made up of Edwina Tops-Alexander, Devos, Athina Onassis, Dani G. Waldman, Olivier Robert and Laura Klaphake. Madrid in Motion captured third place with members Maikel van der Vleuten, Mark McAuley, Eric van der Vleuten, Eduardo Álvarez Aznar, Cindy van der Straten and Michael G Duffy.
Finishing in second place during Saturday’s competition was the Paris Panthers team of Darragh Kenny (IRL) who rode double-clear with Ann Thompson’s Romeo 88 and Harrie Smolders (NED) with Evergate Stables LLC’s Monaco. The Prague Lions captured the third place award with Niels Bruynseels aboard Gancia de Muze and Marc Houtzager with Sterrehof’s Dante on an eight-fault two-day total.
The action at LGCT New York concludes Sunday, Sept. 29, and will highlight the Grand Prix CSI2* at 11:15 a.m. and the 1.50m CSI5* at 3:15 p.m. In its first year, New York marked the final event on the 18-stop tour as athletes look next to the Global Champions Playoffs in Prague set to take place from Thursday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 24.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Ben Maher (GBR) – 2019 Longines Global Champions Tour series winner
On Explosion W:
“[Explosion W] has won seven legs of the tour this year, but I think it is important to remember that I rode four horses this season. Concona jumped two clear rounds in the grand prix at only 9 years old. I also have F One USA, and Madame X. I am very lucky to have owners like Jane Clark and Poden Farms to contribute to this. Explosion has won three 5* grand prix classes here at the end and one day I am going to have to wake up and realize that I may not get to ride [another horse] like this. It only comes around once in a lifetime and I am so thankful to Poden Farms to ride a horse like this. And Cormac, his groom – he has a groom to himself and he deserves it. He knows everything about the horse. We have to travel a lot these days and he rides the horse a lot for me. He never jumps at home and keeps himself fit.”
On his tour rivalry with Pieter Devos:
“Pieter gave it everything and last weekend in Saint Tropez, unfortunately my horse wasn’t quite fit so I didn’t have a good show. I was on my way home in the car and I heard that Pieter was second and that put a lot of pressure on me to come here and Pieter jumps clear in the grand prix. He really does push me and congratulations to him – I appreciate the comments he has made to me. The TV here the last few weeks has made it a big rivalry but it is sport and we appreciate our horses.”
On Explosion W’s background:
“Poden Farms bought him when he was seven years old and he was with a stable rider for a year and a half. He built towards Wellington and some people may have seen him in the Nations Cup with our stable rider at the time. I took over the ride in April of last year and just he came forward so quick. He is a careful horse and very sensitive. He won’t let me on him without giving him sugar – he would run away. I think he likes me but that is just the way he is. He is a real character and likes the people that he knows. He is just an incredible horse so intelligent and even when he is tired he sees shadows and dirt on the floor. It is what makes him so sharp when he is jumping.”
Pieter Devos (BEL) – Second place
On finishing second:
“To be very honest, I think I would have liked to win today but I think that is very normal. But I can be very proud to be second after one of the best combinations in the world. I think I can be very proud of my season and my horses and what they have achieved for me this season. I think they did an incredible job and I want to thank them for that. It was not just New York but there was great sport all season and I think that is what our sport is about. It is not just about one weekend, you have to be consistent all season in order to be in this top three so I am happy to be here and I want to also congratulate Ben [Maher] and Daniel [Deusser] – for sure Ben because he did and incredible job. I tried to put the pressure on and in the end he was just better. He is the best. In the end, I am very happy with where I am.”
On the pressure to win the tour:
“Even with all the pressure, I really enjoyed it today and after my clear round in the grand prix I was very relieved and felt that I put the pressure on him but actually after seeing Explosion jumping in team competition I thought ‘Oh no! What do I have to do to beat him?’ I knew it would be very difficult. I just had to take a very big risk and I am very proud of my horse. I really tried everything in the jump off and i took all the risks and I took an angle in the combination and she didn’t understand it but she tried and we are very proud of our team.”
On Claire Z:
“I bought Claire together with my father in a field when she was two years old. We jumped her in a field over some kind of a tree and we were straight convinced that it was a real jumper. It took time to producer her. She was very hot and energetic which I can use now but in the beginning it was hard to handle. We have spent hours and hours on her to make a solid combination and it has worked out really well. We can rely on one another and have some great results.”
Daniel Deusser (GER) – Third place
On finishing third in the Longines Championship:
“I’m very happy… It’s a championship of the whole season. You see us ride in all different places, on grass, on sand, in small arenas, and big arenas. It’s very important to me. I tried my best but I couldn’t reach them this time.”
Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of New York CSI5*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Explosion W / Ben Maher / GBR / Poden Farms / 0 | 74.03 / 0 | 34.08
2. Cornado NRW / Marcus Ehning / GER / Nordrhein-Westfälisches Landgestüt / 0 | 73.78 / 0 | 34.65
3. The Sinner / Martin Fuchs / SUI / Luigi Baleri / 0 | 77.70 / 0 | 34.95
4. Ulane de Coquerie / Alberto Zorzi / ITA / Alessio Lucia / 0 | 76.24 / 0 | 35.11
5. Sterrehof’s Dante / Marc Houtzager / NED / Stoeterij Sterrehof / 0 | 76.64 / 0 | 35.31
6. H&M Indiana / Malin Baryard-Johnsson / SWE / Stuteri Arch / 0 | 75.34 / 0 | 35.68
7. Claire Z / Pieter Devos / BEL / Devos Stables / 0 | 76.75 / 8 | 51.29
8. Lizziemary / Dani G. Waldman / ISR / The Golden Group, Dani G. Waldman / 4 | 73.17
9. Romeo 88 / Darragh Kenny / IRL / Ann Thompson / 4 | 74.34
10. Gancia de Muze / Niels Bruynseels / BEL / Erna Vaes,Krystle Wienen / 4 | 74.78
11. Jacobien Dwerse Hagen / Jos Verlooy / BEL / Eurohorse,Iñigo Lopez de la Osa / 4 | 75.42
12. Killer Queen VDM / Daniel Deusser / GER / Stephex Stables-Carpentier-W.Lelie / 4 | 75.91