Ben Maher turns up the heat to win the opening CSI5* Class in Madrid

1 May-A sunny and bustling Club de Campo Villa de Madrid set the backdrop for the first of the CSI5* International show jumping events in the Spanish leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour, with riders completing the 1.45m Coca-Cola course in two phases.

Ahead of Saturday's LGCT of Madrid Grand Prix a stellar line up, including many of the world's best show jumpers, took part in the early competition, and saw Ben Maher (GBR) race the clock to take a clear round of 35.13 and win with his nine year old bay gelding, Contigo 37. John Whitaker (GBR) brought his dark bay stallion, Argento, to his first event of the year and kicked off his 2015 debut in style finishing in second place with another clear round and time of 35.55, making it a British 1-2.

Third place was taken by Marcus Ehning (GER) and his nine year old bay mare, Cristy who also went clear with a time of 36.01; less than a second off the winning time and a clear indication of the calibre of competition in this stage of the event. Jessica Springsteen (USA) set the initial pace, taking an early lead with her nine year old stallion, Carolina 31, with a clear round and a best time of 40.52 however finished in sixth place. 14th to start Jane Richard Philips (SUI) soon bettered her time after completing a clear round on her bay gelding, Pablo de Virton, with a strong speed round of 39.13 and finished the class in 5th. Both however, were eclipsed by Ben Maher (GBR) who took a less conventional and far shorter path with his gelding, going clear with a speedy 35.13, and maintaining the lead ahead of the thirty seven remaining competitors.

Next up is the second of the CSI5* classes, the 1.50m round which sees riders jump against the clock and starts at 18:00 local time. The LGCT of Madrid Grand Prix takes centre stage on Saturday 2nd May at 17:00 local time, with current LGCT leader Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) looking to maintain his lead ahead of this closet competitors Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER), Doda de Miranda (BRA), Simon Delestre (FRA) and Scott Brash (GBR).

Source press release

Image: S.Grasso