Allen takes GCT grand prix in terrific style

Bertram Allen is typically taciturn, even as he frequently proves himself one of show jumping’s most amazing talents, yet even he conceded the manner of his latest triumph in the Global Champions Tour in Paris was extraordinary.

Allen takes GCT grand prix in terrific style

The Wexford rider became the youngest winner of a GCT grand prix with a champagne performance, posting the fastest of three triple clears with the veteran Romanov. For once, he departed from his usual self-effacing script, but only just.

“Romanov is 17, I’m only two years older, it’s not ordinary, I guess,” Allen ventured, when asked of his achievement.

Yet, what is most remarkable is the ease with which he bests the sport’s best, winning two World Cup qualifiers in the last season - his first coming on his debut in Verona, repeating the performance in Bordeaux - before going on to place third in the finals in Las Vegas in April, denied by a narrow margin.

Whether it is coincidence is open to question, but Allen cited the role of the course-builder in his latest success.

“After Verona and Bordeaux, I see that every time I jump a class built by Uliano Vezzani, it ends up with a victory,” said Allen.

Ordinarily, Offaly rider Darragh Kenny’s third place with Sans Soucis Z would be worthy of a headline, but, on the day, he came up against a tyro who makes winning look like the natural order.

US-based Kenny and the 12-year-old chestnut gelding were the first to post a triple clear after five made it to the jump-off.

However, it wasn’t long before Allen’s elan and tactics proved unbeatable, in particular his tight turn to the third last, with Romanov responding to the call for a big effort, that ultimately earned the German-based rider the top prize of €105,600.

Portugal’s Luciana Diniz, second last to go with Fit For Fun, looked to be slower than Allen, but then galloped to the last with the crowd sensing a new leader.

However, she crossed the finish line half a second down on the target to finish runner-up.

Allen paid tribute to Romanov, owned by his mentor Cork’s Billy Twomey.

“I’ve only done a few Longines Global Champions Tours, because I wasn’t ranked high enough last year, so, to have my first podium finish and to get on top is even more special. I have to show so much appreciation to my horse - 17 years old and trying that hard over three rounds in this heat and everything was really special.”

In Arnhem, the Netherlands, Cian O’Connor scored a double on Quidam’s Cherie. The Meath-based rider topped the leaderboard in a speed class and followed up with victory in a jump-off class on Saturday on the bay mare.

Conor Swail repeated the feat at the five-star show in Spruce Meadows, Canada. The Co Down rider opened with victory in the Suncast Cup riding Susan Grange’s gelding Simba de la Roque, then won the bigger Progress Energy Cup with Vanessa Mannix’s stallion Grand Cru vd Vijf Eiken, the results earning him €30,000.

The O’Meara brothers from Nenagh Co Tipperary dominated the feature classes at West Clare Show on Saturday, with Liam taking the top two spots in the Connolly’s Red Mills Munster Grand Prix, aboard Mr Coolcaum and Curraghaigue Jack Take Fligh, respectively, while his younger brother Martin claimed the FBD Speed Series with The Cobbler.

In Omagh, Co Tyrone, Daniel Coyle lifted the Premier Series grand prix with Zuidam. In a contest that produced just two double clears, he finished with nine seconds to spare over Vincent Byrne on Hannibal V Overis Z.

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