Ben Maher turns up the heat with opening win in Miami Beach.

Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso

Great Britain’s Ben Maher (GBR) and his beautiful chestnut gelding Aristo Z stole the first win of the weekend in the spectacular Miami Beach. Ben galloped away from the rest of the field in the CSI5* 1.45m class, winning by over a second ahead of young Belgian star Jos Verlooy (BEL) and Farfelu de la Pomme. Third place went to Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) and Argelith Squid, who finished just tenths away from Jos with a time of 27.01s.

Sunbathers and spectators lined the arena, just a stones throw from the water’s edge, to watch the world’s top horses and riders in action at the opening round of CSI5* competition. The Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix riders took to the stunning sand arena for the first time, with home riders Ali Wolff (USA), Beezie Maddon (USA), Laura Kraut (USA) and Quentin Judge (USA) all finishing high on the scoreboard much to the delight of the watching crowd. Laura Renwick (GBR), Jane Richard Philips (SUI) and Alberto Michán Halbinger (MEX) were also hot contenders and looking on fine form ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix, finishing well within the top ten.

Course designer Uliano Vezzani set a welcoming course for the first round of CSI5* competition, with a total tally of 25 riders jumping double clear. Last year’s Grand Prix winner Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Guv’nor had an unlucky time fault, with top US Rider Kent Farrington picking up two faults in the first phase. This was the first opportunity for the riders to really flex their muscles ahead of the Grand Prix, with other big names to look out for such as Daniel Deusser (GER), Kevin Staut (FRA), John Whitaker (GBR), Bertram Allen (IRE) and Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) to name just a few, looking ready and on form ahead of Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach.

Source: Longines Global Champions Tour