Robert Splaine to Allen: Play your usual game in World Cup final

Ireland manager Robert Splaine yesterday had one piece of advice for Bertram Allen going into next week’s World Cup final: Play your usual game, writes John Tynan.

Allen will gamble in Las Vegas on being one of the youngest riders to lift the title, and Splaine, a man of vast experience, says the 19-year-old Wexfordnative has already shown he has a winning formula with the grey mare Molly Malone V, who gave him the first of two World Cup qualifier victories in his debut in Verona, Italy, last November.

“Bertram doesn’t need to change anything, because whatever he is doing, he’s doing it right,” said Splaine, who was taking time out yesterday from competing at the Millstreet Welcome Tour.

“The lad is hugely talented. I’ve observed him since he was in the pony ranks and he’s been very successful.

“It’s amazing to think that only last year he jumped his first senior nations cup in Linz in Austria, and his rise up the ranks has been meteoric.

“But, I think also that he has the strong support of his family, so there are lots of reasons for his success, not just his pedigree and talent,” said the Corkman, as he joined in the chorus of support for the teenager.

Allen, who has risen to 10th in the Longines World Rankings, has shown he can better his peers, his two World Cup qualifier wins helping to put him second in the Western European League.

Accordingly, Splaine felt it was “easy” to say Allen was a justifiable favourite and that “it wouldn’t be wrong” to say it, but he cautioned that there were many variables, not least luck.

“The World Cup final is a huge challenge and there are so many talented combinations, but if he has a rub of the green he has a great chance of doing very well, even the capability of winning it.

“However, a lot of things have to go right in a championships. It is a long week of tough jumping,” said Splaine.

The manager will travel to Las Vegas for the final, but will go via this weekend’s Saut Hermès show at the Grand Palais in Paris, where Allen rides Romanov, the 17-year-old that carried him to victory in the World Cup qualifier in Bordeaux in February. Notably, he also has his new ride Quiet Easy 4. Splaine will also cast his eye over Denis Lynch with Abbervail Van Het Dingeshof and Quote Zavaan; and Billy Twomey with Diaghilev and Tinka’s Serenade, while Michael Duffy and Eoin McMahon compete at U25 level.

Lynch proved best of the Irish in $600,000 Longines Global Champions Tour class at Miami, Florida, last weekend, placing 12th.

The Tipperary rider saddled up Ho Go van de Padenborre in the inaugural event, and was the only one of three Irish contestants to make the second-round of the three-round competition.

Darragh Kenny went into battle on Sans Soucis Z, who is not long returned after a six-month injury-enforced lay-off. The US-based Offaly rider was aiming to show the chestnut gelding has returned to form.

However, the pair put up eight faults, a score that will give Splaine food for thought.

Corkman Shane Sweetnam finished with nine faults on the nine-year-old stallion Chaqui Z.

  • The Millstreet Welcome Tour is counting down to tomorrow’s grand prix, with €5,500 on offer.

Longford’s Robert Harrison notched up a double last Sunday, topping the leaderboard in the speed class on Knockbaun Douggie. He followed up with victory in the feature competition on Holly Castleforbes, beating Tipperary’s Seamus Hayes (Barichello W) by quarter of a second in an eight-horse jump-off.

The tour concludes on Sunday with the second of two events at Drishane Castle. It has attracted 200 entries.

  • It is interesting to note that Cameron Hanley is competing Living The Dream in Lummen, Belgium, during the three-week spring tour which culminates with the first leg of the Furusiyya Nations Cup.

In January, the Mayoman lost the ride on his top mounts, when owners Eleonore Paschoud and Yves Bouvier moved them to the Swiss stables of Pius Schwizer.

However, Hanley has a 50% share in Living The Dream, the talented 10-year-old gelding.

Yesterday, he said there was “still no agreement reached” with the co-owners on the future of the horse.

  • Liam O’Meara extended his lead in the Connolly Red Mills/HSI Spring Tour contest when fifth with Mr Coolcaum in Barnadown last Sunday. This is despite dropping points, having reached his quota of nine point-counting results.

He now stands on 62 points, 32 more than John Floody, whose sixth place last Sunday with Mise Le Meas saw him move to share second place on the leaderboard with Catherine Thornton. While it is mathematically possible for O’Meara to be caught, a top-four finish on Sunday in Mullingar, or the following week in Warrington, or a top-six placing in the final in Coilog — where points-and-a-half are on offer — will give him the title even if either Floody or Thornton win all three legs.

Last Sunday’s contest went the way of young rider Anna Carway and her appropriately-named mount Winner. In a 17-horse jump-off, she held sway by a fifth of a second over Capt Geoff Curran (Shannondale Rahona).

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