Ben Maher Returns to Ring in 2019 With $71,200 NetJets Classic CSI4* Win

Wellington, Fla. – Feb.2, 2019 – Saturday at the CP Palm Beach Masters CSI4*-W once again hosted FEI competition on the pristine grass arena of Deeridge Farm with the $71,200 NetJets Classic CSI4*. Twenty-three horse-and-rider combinations passed through the first-round starting timers, but it was Great Britain’s Ben Maher who was just quick enough to best an electrifying jump-off and capture the victory in his first competition of 2019 aboard Poden Farms’ Cirus du Ruisseau Z.

Ben Maher and Cirus du Ruisseau Z

Alan Wade’s (IRL) track challenged horses and athletes over 16 obstacles with three double combinations and a liverpool, whittling down the starting entries to just 7 pairs to see in the second round. Ireland’s Conor Swail, who guaranteed a jump-off with the second clear starting round, set the jump-off pace with Rose Hill Farm’s Rubens LS la Silla. Swail and the 13-year-old Selle Français stallion were the first to produce a double-clear round in a speedy time of 44.82 seconds.

Conor Swail and Rubens LS la Silla
Conor Swail and Rubens LS la Silla

Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Lucifer V, the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Evergate Stables LLC, challenged Swail’s speed, flying to another double-clear finish less than one-tenth of a second behind the pace, in 45.04 seconds. Maher and the 9-year-old Zangersheide, “Cirus,” saw the track set and rose to the occasion, shaving just one-fourteenth of a second off of Swail’s time to steal the lead with a final time of 44.82 seconds.

Nayel Nassar and Lucifer V
Nayel Nassar and Lucifer V

Adding to the excitement of competitive rounds, Eve Jobs (USA) and her own Venue d’Fees des Hazalles, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, perfectly matched Nassar’s time of 45.04 seconds. Although nearly one-fourth of a second separated the top four combinations, Maher’s unbeatable finish would maintain his lead for first place, while Swail captured a close second and Jobs would tie Nassar for third.

Eve Jobs and Venue d'Fees des Hazalles
Eve Jobs and Venue d’Fees des Hazalles

Earlier in the morning, competition commenced on the turf with the $25,000 Platinum Championship Grand Prix, presented by Upperville Colt & Horse Show (UCHS), where the 2018 $216,000 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI4* winner, Ali Wolff, bested 37 entries to capture the victory with Double H Farm’s HH Venice Beach.

Competition will culminate Sunday, Feb. 3, with the highly anticipated $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping™ World Cup Wellington CSI4*-W at 1 p.m. where riders hope to gain points in order to qualify for the prestigious Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden April 3-7, 2019.


Ben Maher – $71,200 NetJets Classic CSI4* winner

Ben Maher and Cirus du Ruisseau Z

On the jump-off:
“I was watching the big screen in the warm-up and [Cirus du Ruisseau Z] is pretty new to this level, but he is a fast horse. The NetJets double was quite a hard combination to jump so I made sure not to go too fast early on to get the double out of the way and then tried to go as fast as I could around the last part of the course and the jumps came up just right. I didn’t have to pull really anywhere, every time I turned, sometimes you’re lucky and it comes up for you and sometimes it doesn’t. Cirus really rose to the challenge today and I’m very happy with the way he’s progressed over the last few months.”

On Cirus du Ruisseau Z:
“Cirus is a great character, he’s a trier. We’ve had him just over a year now, he’s purchased by Poden Farms. He is being produced and in the end will probably move to Emily Moffitt. He is really an easy horse. He loves to do his job, he’s naturally fast, and he’s a pleasure in the stable. I promised him a day off tomorrow and that he could go in the field if he jumped a clear round in the jump-off so my groom will make sure that I hold my word to that tomorrow! He’s really a lovely horse to have in the stable and I’m very lucky to be able to ride many good horses right now. The season for me is building the younger horses and some of my old horses from last season are still resting, so I’m commuting a little between Europe and America this season. I’ve been anxious to get riding this year and it was my first show that I’ve competed at. I’m very happy with the way it’s started.”

On competing at the Palm Beach Masters:
“It’s a beautiful, fresh, modern, clean environment and amazing for the horses, riders, grooms and owners. Really nothing is too much trouble and again I have to say thank you to the Jacobs family for believing in our sport and giving back to our sport. Without a family like what they’re doing here, shows like this wouldn’t exist. The way the show has developed in the last two to three years is incredible and hopefully they’re enjoying it too like us riders and they can continue to develop the show in the future.”

Conor Swail – Second place

On the jump-off:
“I was very happy with how the round went. I certainly went as quick as I could, my guy is sort of more scopey and has more of a slower canter so it’s much more difficult when you’re up against these guys with a quicker step. This is my first show with [Rubens LS la Silla] this year and he was very successful last year with me and I was delighted with how he went. I thought the round went well for me. There were a lot of quick riders and these two guys beside were very close and there nothing really between the winner and I think there was .2 [seconds] between the first four. It was very tight. It was an exciting class and it’s a beautiful venue and it’s great to be up here talking about it.”

On competing at the Palm Beach Masters:
“It’s a wonderful venue, even our warm up rings in the mornings are pristine. It’s a wonderful venue to participate at.”

Eve Jobs – Tied for third place (with Nayel Nassar)

On the jump-off:
“I’m thrilled. I tried to go as fast as I could. I didn’t actually see it but I heard that Conor did seven strides up the first line and got there really nicely. I’ve shown against him a lot in 2018 so I know his horse can leave out strides really easily. I definitely got there and I’m thrilled with my horse, she was awesome.”

On competing at the Palm Beach Masters:
“They just put on a really quality show and I’m very lucky to have gotten to jump here and I really hope that I can in the future as well, it’s one of my favorites.”


$71,200 NetJets Classic CSI4*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Cirus du Ruisseau Z / Ben Maher / GBR / 0 | 82.33 / 0 | 44.82
2. Rubens LS la Silla / Conor Swail / IRL / 0 | 80.26 / 0 | 44.96
3. Lucifer V / Nayel Nassar / EGY / 0 | 80.00 / 0 / 45.04
3. Venue d’Fees des Hazalles / Eve Jobs / USA / 0 | 79.57 / 0 | 45.04
5. Palina de l’Escaut / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / 0 | 82.96 / 0 | 48.44
6. Babalou / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 80.38 / 4 | 45.20
7. Cristo / Martin Fuchs / SUI / 0 | 80.65 / 4 | 47.28
8. Chameur / Georgina Bloomberg / USA / 1 | 83.76
9. Toulago / Adrienne Sternlicht / USA / 4 | 77.39
10. Galan S / Beat Mändli / SUI / 4 | 79.43
11. D.Carolus / Jonathan McCrea / USA / 4 | 79.98
12. HH Gigi’s Girl / McLain Ward / USA / 4 | 82.96

For full results, click here.

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