Wellington, Fla.—March 7
Diva II has come quite a long way in a year. “I had her this time last year and we built up,” Ben Maher said. “I remember being in the medium schooling jumpers out in the back ring and still kicking out the back rails then. It is exciting for me.”
Maher’s careful development of Diva II resulted in a big win in the $372,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI-W 5* for the British rider. The pair topped a three-horse jump-off with Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum of Germany and Fibonacci 17 in second and U.S. rider Laura Kraut with Cedric third.
Alan Wade’s course under the lights tested all of the horses and riders Saturday night, and only those three, out of the 41 starters, were able to advance to the jump-off. It took 17 rounds before Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC’s Fibonacci 17 were the first pair to jump clear in round one. Another 17 rounds, and Laura Kraut and Cherry Knoll Farm Inc.’s Cedric jumped the second clear to make a jump-off. Second to last, Ben Maher and Tatiana Korsakova’s Diva II put in the third clear trip.
Michaels-Beerbaum and Fibonacci 17 were first to return, jumping clear over the short course in 46.31 seconds. Kraut and Cedric had one rail down in a slower time of 46.76 seconds. Maher and Diva II were last to go, clearing the course in 46.03 seconds for the win.
Watch Maher and Diva II’s jump-off round…
Maher started riding Diva II, a 10-year-old Anglo European mare by (Kannan x Berlioz), in November of 2014 and finished out last year’s Winter Equestrian Festival with a 1.50-meter win in Week 11 of the circuit. Diva has developed throughout the year and came back even better in 2015, stepping up to the bigger classes and proving her talent.
Despite jumping at the end of the class and returning for the second round after only a brief break, the mare put in the extra effort.
“It was a pretty quick turnaround for me. I was second from the end, so Diva did not have much time to recover, which I really felt in the warm-up especially before the jump-off,” Maher stated. “That jump-off probably was not my best ever round. Diva is hairy in the way she goes. She is not so conventional always, but I did not have a lot to lose. A couple weeks ago I played it safe. Tonight I knew I would be top three, so I figured that I would have a go and with a little bit of luck here and there, it paid off.
“I’m very happy with my horse tonight because I think Cedric is one of the best horses in the world for a long time and Meredith’s horse is probably right there coming into its prime,” Maher added. “Diva could not have been in better company.
“She has come a long way this circuit. Obviously Jane Clark is a great owner of mine, and we have had a building circuit with her horses. This is nice for another owner in Tatiana Korsakova. This is the first horse that they have owned at this level and hopefully this
After winning the $372,000 Suncast® CSI 5* Grand Prix two weeks ago, Michaels-Beerbaum was thrilled with another top finish for her talented mount, Fibonacci 17. The 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (For Feeling x Corland) has become a worldwide star since pairing up with the German rider and once again showed off his impressive jump under the lights.
“He felt great. He jumped the first round beautifully,” Michaels-Beerbaum expressed. “In the jump-off, I had a couple of things go wrong. I lost my stirrup after number 2, which made me nervous because he jumps so high [that] I would not like to jump a fence without a stirrup. I made sure I got my stirrup back before the next fence, which takes a little time, and then I had a slight slip going back to the oxer in front of the VIP, which he handled beautifully. These two little things cost you a couple tenths of a second.”
For Kraut, this top three finish with Cedric was emotional, as every moment with the 17-year-old gelding is cherished. A pint-sized Holsteiner by Chambertin x Carolus Z, Cedric gave it his all Saturday night and will now have a well-deserved break.
“I was saying to Meredith earlier, because she understands having had Shutterfly, that every time that horse puts in a performance like he did tonight it makes me want to cry,” Kraut acknowledged. “It is so emotional. He has such a big heart and tonight it was very, very difficult. I promised him earlier that if he was good tonight I would not make him do any more this circuit and he could have a little break. He must have heard me. I want to thank Margaret Duprey for making it possible for me to have this horse until he is 17 and on. It is a blessing every time.”
Final Results: $372,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI-W 5*, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate
1. DIVA II: 2005 AES mare by Kannan x Berlioz, BEN MAHER (GBR), Tatiana Korsakova: 0/0/46.03
2. FIBONACCI 17: 2005 Swedish Warmblood gelding by For Feeling x Corland, MEREDITH MICHAELS BEERBAUM (GER), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 0/0/46.31
3. CEDRIC: 1998 Holsteiner gelding by Chambertin x Carolus Z, LAURA KRAUT (USA), Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc: 0/4/46.76
4. WOKLAHOMA: 2003 KWPN mare by Sheraton x Calvados, ROBERTO TERAN, JR. (COL), Ark Partners LLC: 1/82.81
5. OHLALA: 2003 Swedish Warmblood mare by Orlando x Cardento, LAUREN HOUGH (USA), The Ohlala Group: 4/74.96
6. ROYCE: 2004 Oldenburg stallion by Café au Lait x Grandilot, MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Elm Rock LLC: 4/78.24
7. BARRON: 2004 Belgian Sport Horse gelding by For Pleasure x Nabab de Reve, LUCY DAVIS (USA), Old Oak Farm: 4/80.94
8. MACARTHUR: 2000 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Concorde x Unknown, MICHAEL MURPHY (USA), Christina Fried: 4/81.04
9. CARISMA: 1999 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cardento 933 x Maraton 600, DANIELLE GOLDSTEIN (ISR), Israeli Equestrian Partners: 4/81.93
10. SHOWGIRL: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Gold De Becourt x Elf III, YANN CANDELE (CAN), Watermark Group: 5/82.76
11. FLAMING STAR: 1999 AES gelding by Fairman x Unknown, CHARLIE JACOBS (USA), CMJ Sporthorse LLC: 5/83.72
12. FLOWER: 2005 Belgian Warmblood mare by Bon Ami x Randel Z, NINA FAGERSTROM (FIN), Nina Fagerstrom: 5/84.65