Great Britain’s Ben Maher Opens Nations Cup Week in Winning Form at Wellington International

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The world collides at Wellington International this week as the CSIO4* Nations Cup takes up the spotlight during the Winter Equestrian Festival’s (WEF) Week 8, presented by Florida Coast Equipment. Opening the prestigious week, Ben Maher (GBR) clinched the $32,000 Adequan® CSIO4* WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 on Thursday as a qualifier for Sunday’s $200,000 CSIO4* JWTG, Inc. Grand Prix.

Riding Ginger-Blue – or “Cookie” as the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare is referred to in the barn – the reigning Olympic champion topped a field of 64 horse-and-rider combinations bursting with talent from all corners of the world. The one-round, two-phase format designed by Steve Stephens (USA) left Maher at the top of the leaderboard over USA’s Karl Cook by just shy of a full second.  

Maher stopped the clock at 69.44 seconds for owner Jane Forbes Clark, while Cook ended on 70.38 aboard his 2023 Pan-American Games mount, Caracole de la Roque, owned by Helen Signe Ostby. Fellow U.S. rider Charlotte Jacobs rounded out the podium in the irons of Rincoola Milsean for owner North Star in 71.03 seconds. “It’s always special to win any FEI competition, especially here in Wellington; there’s a lot of good horse and rider combinations any week,” said Maher. “But, as you see this week there’s a lot of people that fly in especially for this week, so to start it like this is a confidence boost.”  

Of Ginger-Blue (Plot Blue x Royal Bravour), a horse Maher started developing as a seven-year-old, he noted, “She’s a horse that’s better when she’s running and jumping. She’ll get more confidence before the Nations Cup this week. I’ve had her for many years, but this will be her first Nations Cup with me. It’s nice to give her the chance here, and she certainly showed in her last few rounds that she’s ready for the challenge.”

Full results

Press release WEF | Ben Maher & Ginger-Blue, winners of the $32,000 Adequan® CSIO4* WEF Challenge Cup Round 8. Photo © Sportfot

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