Equestrian: Nineteen-year-old Bertram Allen continues to stun the world of show jumping, qualifying for the Longines World Cup final yesterday in his first season when runner-up in Zurich, Switzerland.
The result aboard the grey mare Molly Malone V elevated the Wexford rider to third in the Western European League, his impressive 51 points ensuring his peers will give him due respect when they gather for April’s final in Las Vegas.
Allen had to give way to Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and the gelding Carlo on the day, but he was not too displeased, saying his focus now was on Vegas.
“I thought someone might beat me in the jump-off, and Sergio did one stride less to the last, but I’m happy with my result. Molly’s such a fantastic mare. I’ll give her another break, and then we’ll start getting ready for Las Vegas. It’s great to have picked up the points for the final and I’m looking forward to it now,” said Allen, who gave due warning of his prowess when winning his debut competition in Verona, Italy, in November.
Allen was one of seven in yesterday’s 40-strong field to clear a first-round course he described as “big, but fair”, though Moya had a sticky moment at the 1.60mtr Longines vertical, with Carlo just about wriggling over it .
Allen was third to go in the jump-off, producing a copybook clear in 39.48 seconds on the grey 11-year-old mare. Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson gave it a go on Casall ASK, but fell short by over 1.5 seconds.
Moya, however, showed he meant business from the outset and matched Allen until the penultimate, before urging the grey to the last, going a stride fewer than Allen to finish just under a tenth of a second faster.
German-based Allen netted €37,000 for his performance and praise from Ireland how jumping manager Robert Splaine.
“Today was a remarkable achievement for young Bertram Allen... He is an outstanding talent, and an outstanding ambassador for both his country and for the sport.”
Jessica Kürten went out of contention in round on eight faults with Arezzo VDL, but she was applauded by the crowed and was also the recipient of a presentation from the organisers to mark what was her last international competition.
Billy Twomey ended round one on Diaghilev with eight faults, having on Friday scored a win on Joe Flynn’s Ardcolum Duke.
For the second week in a row, Denis Lynch retired in the World Cup class, this time with Abbervail van het Dingeshof.
At the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, Shane Sweetnam kept the Irish flag flying, the Corkman piloting Cyklon to victory in a $34,000 speed class.
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