Ben Maher Victorious Over Eric Lamaze in Battle of Olympic Gold Medalists

Friday, November 8, 2019
Posted by Jump Media



Toronto, ON – It was a true battle of excellence as Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher of Great Britain nudged Canadian Olympic individual gold medalist Eric Lamaze for victory in the $85,000 Big Ben International Challenge on Thursday night, November 7, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 97th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Photo - Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Tic Tac won the $85,000 Big Ben International Challenge on Thursday evening, November 7, at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON. (Ben Radvanyi Photography)

Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt set a testing track that allowed the best horses and riders in the world to showcase their skills in front of a packed house in the Coca-Cola Coliseum. A total of 15 riders qualified for the jump-off, setting the stage for a battle of epic proportions.

As the 10th rider back for the jump-off, Lamaze set a blistering pace in front of the home crowd, slicing and dicing around the shortened track before galloping through the timers in 37.17 seconds. Next to challenge, Maher used Tic Tac’s huge stride to his advantage. When the clock flashed 36.75 seconds, Maher moved to the top of the leaderboard and remained there to take the win for owner Jane Clark.

“I think a lot of people didn’t like me in the stadium here this evening to beat Eric, but it’s sport; I always try my best!” said Maher, 34, who won a team gold medal as a member of the British team at the 2012 London Olympics.

“[Tic Tac] deserved this win,” continued Maher of the 16-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion. “He’s been knocking at the door. He didn’t jump many shows, but he had a couple of second places, so it’s nice to win a class with importance like this this evening.”

While Lamaze, 51, was forced to settle for second with Fine Lady 5, he currently leads both the GroupBy Leading International Rider and Leading Canadian Rider standings, helped by a win in the $37,000 Jolera International Strength and Speed Challenge on Wednesday, November 6.

Third place in Thursday night’s class went to Margie Goldstein Engle, 61, of the United States who stopped the jump-off clock in 37.61 seconds riding Dicas, owned by Gladewinds Partners, LLC.

Margie Engle, Ben Maher, and Eric Lamaze stood atop the podium as the top three in the $85,000 Big Ben International Challenge, held on Thursday, November 7 at the Royal Horse Show. (Photo: Ben Radvanyi Photography)

Earlier in the day, Daniel Coyle of Ireland claimed the win in the afternoon’s featured $37,000 Brickenden Trophy. Riding Farrel for owner Ariel Grange, Coyle topped a 12-horse jump-off after posting the winning time of 31.85 seconds. Next into the Coca-Cola Coliseum, 18-year-old Brian Moggre of the United States made a valiant attempt to catch the leading time riding MTM Flutterby, but he settled for second place when the clock flashed 32.28 seconds. Australia’s Rowan Willis took third place with a time of 33.29 riding Calisto 26, while Lamaze and his mount, Chacco Kid, were fourth with a time of 33.68 seconds.

International show jumping competition continues at the Royal Horse Show on Friday with the $50,000 Canadian Open International Challenge, presented by 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, before the Royal Horse Show culminates in the $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Toronto on Saturday night, November 9.

More than 1,000 horses from around the globe will compete for $980,000 in prize money during the 10-day CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show. VIP Platinum and Gold seating, as well as group and individual tickets, can be purchased HERE. All Royal Horse Show tickets include general admission to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

For more information, visit here.

Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto.

$85,000 Big Ben International Challenge – Final Results (Thursday, November 7)

Rider/Nation/Horse/Faults Time

1.   Ben Maher   Great Britain   Tic Tac   0:0   36.75
2.   Eric Lamaze   Canada   Fine Lady 5   0:0   37.17
3.   Margie Engle   United States   Dicas   0:0   37.61
4.   Jos Verlooy   Belgium   Varoune   0:0   38.59
5.   Laura Kraut   United States   Confu   0:0   38.65
6.   Beezie Madden   United States   Garant   0:0   38.83
7.   Mario Deslauriers   Canada   Amsterdam 27   0:0   39.06
8.   Ali Ramsay   Canada   Lutz   0:0   39.63
9.   Brian Moggre   United States   MTM Vivre le Reve   0:4   37.20
10.  Rowan Willis   Australia   Cartouch III   0:4   38.08

$37,000 Brickenden Trophy – Final Results (Thursday, November 7)

Rider/Nation/Horse/Faults Time

1.   Daniel Coyle   Ireland   Farrel   0:0   31.85
2.   Brian Moggre   United States   MTM Flutterby   0:0   32.28
3.   Rowan Willis   Australia   Calisto 26   0:0   33.29
4.   Eric Lamaze   Canada   Chacco Kid   0:0   33.68
5.   Shane Sweetnam   Ireland   Karlin Van’t Vennehof   0:0   34.24
6.   McLain Ward   United States   Cadans Z   0:4   31.79
7.   Erynn Ballard   Canada   Fellini S   0:4   34.46
8.   Bertram Allen   Ireland   GK Casper   0:4   36.31
9.   Kent Farrington   United States   Jasper   0:4   36.44
10.   Daniel Bluman   Israel   Gemma W   0:4   37.21
About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian event. The 97th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 1-10, 2019, at Exhibition Place, Toronto, Canada. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit