Maher Masters the Challenge

Ben Maher - one of the likely members of the British Olympic showjumping team - proved his supremacy today when winning the LED Sports Europe Hickstead Master's Challenge on a borrowed ride. 

Ben Maher (c) Sam Lamb.jpg

The Herts-based 28-year-old rode Parvati De Breve for the first time a few days earlier, but Ben steered the mare round the course in faultless fashion to win in a time of 45.97sec.

"I've got her on loan from Laura Renwick. The mare arrived Tuesday, and I rode her once, and then brought her here today," he said.

The LED Sports Europe Hickstead Master's Challenge comprises a timed course of fences followed by a row of ascending upright gates. "The gates are a challenge because the horse has been travelling around the rest of the course at speed, so it can be difficult for them to switch off and take them on," he added.

Ben was 3.49sec faster than Jane Annett and Zidane V, who were second, while Anna Edwards and Diaghilev were third.

Earlier this afternoon, Ireland claimed the honours in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial, with Andrew Bourns and Roundthorn Madios taking the top spot. A total of 45 riders took part in the competition, with the top 35 qualifying for Sunday's Carpetright Derby.

Andrew is originally from Co Galway, but has been based in the United States for the last five years, being based in Wellington, Florida during the winter and spending summers based just north of New York.

He bought the 10-year-old Irish-bred bay gelding by Clover Hill four years ago in the Aachen young horse performance sales. Andrew is over in Europe in order to take part in some of the FEI Nations Cup series.

"I didn't realise how fast we were going as he's very quick over the ground," said Andrew after his win.  "I have got three six-year-old horses here and I plan to come back here to Hickstead time and time again. The show organisation here has been fantastic and it's been well worth coming over from America. My main goal now is to impress the selectors and jump here in the FEI Nations Cup and Longines King George V Gold Cup at the July meeting."

A number of showing championships reached their conclusion today, with the supreme cob championship going to Allister Hood and The Comedian, and the Olympia Heritage Mountain & Moorland open ridden championship going to the Fell pony, Lydvale Jacob ridden by Victoria Edwards Sonnex.

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