Ben Maher kicked off his FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) campaign in fine style with victory in last weekend’s $30,000 Mar-a-Lago Club Grand Prix in Palm Beach, Florida (12 January) with relatively new ride Kavanagh IV.
The 12-year-old Kannan/Carousel gelding joined Ben’s team last autumn from John and Laura Renwicks’ yard.
“I took over the ride a few months ago when I was resting the other horses in England. He went quite well in the first week, so John and Laura kindly left him with me,” explained Ben, who jumped 1 of only 2 double clears in the class — America’s Paris Sellon (Heracross) was more than 5sec off the pace in second.
“He’s the most laid back horse there is,” continued Ben. “I actually didn’t ride him all week — my girlfriend did — so maybe I’ll stick to that plan.”
With Jane Clark’s big guns Cella and Urico waiting in the wings, the current world number 2 has an enviable array of horsepower to campaign in Florida over the coming weeks.
“I am looking forward to riding Cella and Urico,” he said. “We rested Urico for the indoor season, but he’s in great shape and he’ll start here next week. Cella will be saved for the bigger grands prix and will probably come out in about 3 weeks’ time.”