British Olympic Champion Ben Maher and Enjeu de Grisien wowed a Wellington, FL crowd in the first ‘Saturday Night Lights’ grand prix of the season at Wellington International on the evening of January 13. The pair won the $140,000 Southern Arches CSI3* Grand Prix from a 45-horse field over tracks designed by USA’s Nick Granat.
Maher is back under the lights of Wellington International after suffering a fall at the beginning of the 2023 WEF that sidelined him for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. However, the current world no. 2 has returned better than ever aboard Enjeu de Grisien, a 2014 Selle Français gelding (Toulon x Andiamo) he owns together with Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright.
“It’s great every Saturday night here,” said Maher, who is coming off an FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix win in London on Enjeu de Grisien. “It’s a good atmosphere and you have some of the best riders in the world which gives top sport.”
Maher eclipsed the leading time of U.S. Olympic Team Gold Medalist McLain Ward riding 2013 Oldenburg mare First Lady (Don Diarado x Lordanos), owned by Robin Parsky, from first draw of the evening. They crossed the timers in 37.49 seconds for second.
Fellow U.S. rider Spencer Smith and longtime partner Theodore Manciais, a 2007 Selle Français gelding (Kashmir van Schuttershof) owned by Ashland Farms, took third in 38.31 seconds.
“It was a difficult course; the time allowed is always a factor here, but my horse is doing very well and I was very happy,” said Maher of Enjeu de Grisien, the horse that joined his stable as a seven-year-old.