Ben Maher and Tic Tac win the WEF Grand Prix on Sunday

Ben Maher and Tic Tac win the WEF Grand Prix on Sunday

Ben Maher and Tic Tac in their victory gallop

It was a thrilling finish for the final day of the second week of FEI competition at the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) as Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher (GBR) and the 18-year-old stallion Tic Tac, owned by Jane Forbes Clark, edged the competition by just one one-hundredth of a second to take top honors in the $137,000 Restylane Grand Prix CSI3* on Sunday, January 24.

On the derby field at Equestrian Village, a total of 42 entries entered the ring to tackle the course designed by Oscar Soberon (USA) with 12 qualifying to return for the jump-off. Maher executed the track flawlessly aboard the SBS stallion by Clinton x Panama Du Seigneur, leaving all eight obstacles in their cups to secure the win in a blistering time of 43.56 seconds, just one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Canada’s Eric Lamaze.

“It was my lucky day, and sometimes it just happens like that,” he said with a big smile. “Eric is one of the fastest riders in the world, and he was on a great horse, so I think I had the luck of the draw. I was also on an experienced horse. Tic Tac is 18 and doesn’t come out very often, but he gives me great confidence and he did everything right for me today.”

It certainly came down to the wire with some of the world’s best riders giving the shortened course their best shot. Olympic gold medalist Lamaze also had a veteran partner for the test, finishing a close second aboard 18-year-old Fine Lady 5 for Artisan Farms and Little Creek Investments, in a time of 43.57 seconds.

Rounding out the top three was another rider known to be quite speedy, Conor Swail (IRL), with 13-year-old Holsteiner mare GK Coco Chanel for Vanessa Mannix. The pair gave it a solid try, keeping all the jumps up in a time of 44.04 seconds to slide into third place.

Final Results: $137,000 Restylane Grand Prix CSI3*

1. TIC TAC: 2003 SBS stallion by Clinton x Panama Du Seigneur
BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane Forbes Clark: 0/0/43.56

2. FINE LADY 5: 2003 Hanoverian mare by Forsyth x Drosselklang II
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms and Little Creek Investments: 0/0/43.57

3. GK COCO CHANEL: 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Clarimo x Lerano 2
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Vanessa Mannix: 0/0/44.04

4. GOLDWIN: 2012 BWP gelding by Emrald x Divine Idylle GTW De Tinmont
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Stars and Stripes: 0/0/44.64

5. CHACNA: 2007 Hanoverian mare by Chacco-Blue x Narew XX
ENRIQUE GONZALEZ (MEX), Enrique Gonzalez: 0/0/45.38

6. AKUNA MATTATA: 2008 Holsteiner mare by Quinar x Landwind II
NICOLE SHAHINIAN-SIMPSON (USA), Silver Raven Farms: 0/0/46.20

7. COCOLINA: 2011 Oldenburg mare by Conthargos x Carolina
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses, LLC: 0/0/46.53

8. EMMERTON: 2009 KWPN gelding by Silvio I x Artuna
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), SHL Farm: 0/0/46.65

9. ZAIA DI SAN GIOVANNI: 2009 mare by Cornet Obolensky
MAC CONE (CAN), Chadburn Holdings, Inc: 0/0/49.02

10. COLESTINA H: 2010 German Sport Horse mare by Colestus x Cardenio 2
DANIEL BLUMAN (ISR), Blue Star Investments: 0/4/45.52

11. CADIZ: 2010 KWPN gelding by Vigo D’arsouilles x Bardesther
CIAN O’CONNOR (IRL), Ronnoco Jump Ltd: 0/4/48.49

12. KAMILLA D: 2011 SCSL mare by Kashmir von Schuttershof x Canturo*Bois Margot
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Erynn Ballard: 0/4/48.55

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