Ben Maher rallies to win Grand Prix

Theresa McCaffrey

They say that all true champions manage to pull through despite not being at their very best.

For years, Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United teams would find it within them to grind out a result or get a last minute winner without playing that well. That is what can define being a champion and time and time again Sir Alex's sides would pick up trophies when there had been spells when they were slightly off their game.

The same can be said about Ben Maher. The showjumper has not had the best of weeks at Olympia but secured himself the perfect early Christmas present by claiming the Grand Prix title on Sunday (December 22nd). In front of a packed out crowd at The London International Horse Show, Maher demonstrated why he is one of the best in the business when it comes to showjumping.

On board Tripple X III, Maher was able to hold off competition from the likes of showjumping legend John Whitaker and France's Penelope Leprevost to claim the title. Leprevost had posted a time of 32.73 in the 12-horse jump-off but Maher was able to break this by a full second leaving the home crowd in raptures.

However, Maher's delight was almost short lived as Whitaker, with his horse Argento, was just 0.07 seconds from taking home the title himself. Maher, an Olympic and European gold medalist, was overjoyed that he had managed to come through and score a famous victory to cap 2013 off in style.

Maher explained how it was also a little bit of luck that helped him through after clipping the second fence: "I heard the crowd gasp, but if anything that helped me. There’s huge prize money all over the world but you can’t beat history and all the people cheering. I’d rather win the grand prix at Olympia than anywhere else in the world."