'Magic' Ben Maher wins $1.4 million Super Grand Prix

Ben Maher and his horse Explosion W closed out a season for the ages by taking the Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix in Prague to complete his hat-trick of titles in 2019.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 9:00 AM
Updated: Nov 25, 2019 9:00 AM

Under pressure as the hot favorite in show jumping's richest competition, Ben Maher did what he does best: win.

The all-conquering Briton and his Dutch-bred wonderhorse Explosion W finished their stellar season on a high as they triumphed in the $1.4 million Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Super Grand Prix in Prague.

Staged in the O2 Arena in Prague, the Super Grand Prix is one of the main events of the four-day GC Playoffs, the sport's richest competition with a record $13 million in prize money.

"Magic," Maher told the crowd, when asked what he thought about Explosion W, a feisty 10-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding.

READ: Ben Maher living New York dream with second overall LGCT title

'No words'

"There are no words that can explain him," said Maher, who sealed his second straight overall LGCT title earlier this year after a dominating season that saw the pair win in New York, London and Rome.

The LGCT Super Grand Prix pitted all 18 individual winners this season against each other.

"This time last year, we had a tough show here, he didn't like the Prague arena here, had a little bit of a problem on the top corner, but he's come back stronger and he proved that he is as good as he is tonight," Maher said.

Bouncing pole

After going clear in the first round, Maher rode into a packed O2 arena in the second round in the knowledge another error-free ride would hand him victory over Ireland's Darragh Kenny and Balou du Reventon, who had been leading with two time faults over two rounds.

Maher, an Olympic champion at his home London Summer Olympics in 2012, knows all about performing under pressure.

But for a split second, it looked as if Maher had thrown it all away. Approaching the third fence, the big-striding Explosion W touched a pole. It bounced up in the air as the crowd gasped, but didn't fall.

"I took some risk, I didn't go too fast to jump the clear round," said Maher, whose win was applauded by American rock star Bruce Springsteen. "I had some luck over there on the pink one and it stayed up. I knew it would be my day," said the 36-year-old Maher, the only rider to produce two clear rounds.

"I just tried to keep my eye on the job, but I know, when he touches a fence like that, normally, he doesn't touch another fence in the course," said Maher. "I had a little luck, that's what sports is all about."

An emotional Maher also paid tribute to his team.

"Just amazing feeling, to be able to win here, on this horse, and the people that are around me, to make this possible, they all know who they are. It's an amazing feeling towards the end of the year."

GCL Super Cup

The four-day Global Champions Playoffs will end on Sunday with the €6.4 million GCL Super Cup for teams.

Last year, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar of Spain teamed up with Holland's Marc Houtzager and Maikel van der Vleuten to take the inaugural GCL Super Cup for the Madrid in Motion team.

Madrid in Motion will join Paris Panthers, Valkenswaard United, Shanghai Swans, Monaco Aces and Cannes Stars in Sunday's final, which will see the winning team ride away with €3 million in prize money.

Friday's semifinals saw the shock elimination of pre-event favorites London Knights, led by Maher, and the St. Tropez Pirates.

The London Knights had finished the regular season at the top of the leaderboard for the second year running, with €2.3 million in prize money. The Pirates, led by last year's LGCT Super Grand Prix champion Edwina Tops-Alexander of Australia, had finished the regular season in second place, with €1.7 million in earnings.

Huntsville/Redstone
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 35°
Muscle Shoals
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 37°
Huntsville/Madison
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
Decatur
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 33°
Fort Payne
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 676039

Reported Deaths: 8311
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby752601102
Davidson69679654
Knox38097389
Hamilton34075324
Rutherford32696282
Unassigned22259128
Williamson21054138
Sumner17980229
Out of TN1581878
Wilson14242154
Montgomery14085148
Sullivan12405209
Washington11757191
Blount11708122
Maury10812122
Bradley1058390
Sevier10320108
Putnam9790136
Madison9011178
Robertson751685
Hamblen6855106
Anderson6678101
Greene6500108
Tipton611664
Gibson5571111
Coffee552981
Dickson529277
Cumberland528672
Bedford523885
Roane510777
Carter5053112
Lawrence502869
McMinn500473
Warren492753
Loudon487750
Dyer469281
Jefferson464975
Monroe447362
Hawkins438668
Franklin403556
Obion396474
Fayette388951
Rhea376155
Lincoln372944
Cocke338956
Weakley337848
Marshall335836
Cheatham330528
Henderson330155
Campbell318139
Giles317371
Hardeman306452
White305543
Carroll304459
Hardin295446
Lauderdale291031
Macon284150
Wayne259519
Henry257357
Overton249142
DeKalb239340
Haywood237245
McNairy233642
Smith228427
Trousdale228314
Marion222731
Scott222431
Hickman219734
Fentress211031
Grainger204935
Claiborne202021
Johnson200531
Morgan186615
Crockett179638
Bledsoe172610
Chester171037
Unicoi164643
Cannon155419
Lake154019
Decatur145926
Polk139817
Grundy138220
Union136821
Sequatchie133318
Humphreys131117
Benton130935
Lewis126820
Meigs111916
Stewart103820
Jackson102821
Perry93725
Houston93122
Clay92026
Moore7888
Pickett66819
Van Buren6487
Hancock3986

Community Events