Ben Maher and Diva II win €372,000 grand Prix
Sunday 08 March 2015
Last night saw Ben Maher and the British Bred 10 year-old chestnut mare Diva II, owned by Tatiana Korsakova, clinch a brilliant win over Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum to secure the €372,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix in Wellington, Florida by just a fraction of a second.
The final combination to come forward in the jump off, it had looked like Meredith couldn’t be beaten but Ben, who put his foot on the accelerator from the start, managed to break the finish line in a time of 46.03 seconds. This was just enough to relegate Meredith, the first of the three to go in the final round, into second place with her time of 46.31 seconds. Laura Kraut for the USA took third place with her longstanding partner Cedric.
With such huge prize money at stake there wasn't an empty seat in the grandstands at this superb venue which seemed all the more atmospheric with this major competition being played out under spotlights. Alan Wade from Ireland was the course designer that had tested the riders to the hilt, hitting the note perfectly in terms of giving the spectators a thrilling class with it having culminated in a three way jump off from a field of just over forty.
Talking afterwards Ben commented “It was a pretty quick turnaround for me. I was second from the end so Diva did not have much time to recover from the first round. The jump off was probably my best ever round on Diva, She’s come a long way this circuit”.