Wellington, Florida, USA – January 27, 2021 – In a California split, Ben Maher (GBR) and Darragh Kenny (IRL) took home blue ribbons after topping a field of 121 entries in the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumpers as week three of competition got underway at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Wednesday, January 27.
“It’s hard to build for these types of classes when there are over 100 riders in them, so I thought it was a good course,” said Maher, currently ranked sixth in the world rankings. “Personally, I use those classes to help produce the horses that aren’t quite ready to go to the FEI classes, so it was enough course, technical enough, but at the same time, they didn’t get too many clear rounds.”
Over the course designed by Peter Grant (CAN) and Joey Rycroft (CAN), Maher and Jane Forbes Clark’s 10-year-old mare Royal Dutch Sport Horse (Dutch Warmblood) Ginger-Blue also put forth a double clear effort, stopping the timers at 37.329 seconds to capture the win in Section B.
The next two spot on the podium were claimed by American riders named Laura. Laura Chapot (USA) earned silver honors aboard Calafornia after tripping the jump-off timers in 38.860 seconds while Laura Kraut (USA) and Diadem du Thot also had a clean scorecard, rounding out the top with a final time of 39.236 during the tiebreaker.
Like Kenny, Maher will be campaigning multiple horses this week and is coming off an exciting victory in Sunday’s $137,000 Restylane Grand Prix CSI3*. As a true horseman, Maher has adjusted his plan for WEF with the talented mare by Plot Blue x Royal Bravour, noting that her long-term development is his top priority.
“I think she has a huge heart, and she’s very, very careful,” he said. “My initial plan setting out for WEF was to probably have her already jumping in one or two of the bigger FEI classes like the CSI3* Grand Prix classes, but I just feel that she needs a little bit more time to develop. I think I only competed on her twice the whole of last year, and I just feel like she’s lacking a little bit of experience. I want to take just a bit more time to produce her in the right way, so that when I’m ready to go for the bigger classes, that she’s been well enough educated and I don’t push her before she’s ready.”
Competition continues throughout the week as part of NetJets CSI3* show jumping with an action-packed schedule that features the Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers on Thursday, Friday’s $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 3, the CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic on Saturday, and the $137,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI3* Sunday afternoon. Don’t miss a minute of the action and tune in the free livestream for all feature classes.
Source: Press release Kate Pettersen / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot