Show jumpers Bertram Allen and Darragh Kenny were in the money at the weekend in Hong Kong and Florida, respectively.
Allen was making his debut in the Longines Masters in the Far East event and the Wexford native pocketed more than $100,000 for his efforts, his first big prize of $31,000 coming in Friday’s Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy with Quiet Easy 4.
On Saturday, John Whitaker looked to have the Longines Speed Challenge wrapped up with a superb display on Lord of Arabia when seventh into the arena.
It left the British veteran seated in the number one chair on the winner’s podium until Allen, last to go, ejected him, the 20-year-old and Quainton Stud’s 12-year-old chestnut gelding lowering the target time by over half a second to earn another $31,000.
In taking victory, Allen had gained revenge for finishing third on Hector van d’Abdijhoeve to Whitaker in the earlier Airbus Trophy speed class and the latter had a message for his young rival: “He seems to be winning everything at the moment, I wish he would go away.”
Allen reflected on a show that was proving to be a return to success, the young man having gone through a lean period by his standards.
“My luck recently has not been very good, but I knew that it had to change soon and it has, thankfully.
"It is a dream come true to win this event and to have been able to beat John, who is such a legend,” he said.
His run of good form continued yesterday when he opted for Hector van d’Abdijhoeve in the feature Longines Masters.
The nine-year-old grey had already helped Allen to a number of placings in the run-up to the $500,000 class and the stallion’s sharpness put the German-based rider among 12 combinations in the jump-off.
While the pair reproduced their first-round clear, the clock showed a time that was only good enough for fifth place, though it earned Allen another $30,000 to bring his winnings to over $100,000.
Germany’s Marco Kutscher proved the toast of the show when, after being ill all week, he battled to line out in yesterday’s contest.
It proved worthwhile, as he ran out winner when last to go on Van Gogh to claim $165,000.
The performance also made him 250,000 euro richer for winning a second non-consecutive Longines Grand Prix, following his win in Los Angeles last year.
Darragh Kenny was in devastating form to win Friday’s $130,000 grand prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, on Red Star D’Argent, a horse he only saddled up for the first time in January.
One of only three in the jump-off, he came home ahead of American star Laura Kraut aboard the Irish-bred ISHD Dual Star and her compatriot Sayre Happy on Ludwig’s Joker B.
Kenny’s mount, an 11-year-old Selle Francais stallion, was previously ridden by Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and was sent to him with the intention of being sold. Kenny said the partnership had taken time to gel.
“My relationship with him is very new,” said Kenny. “He was formerly ridden by a very good friend of mine, Sergio Moya.
"We had talked about the horse coming this winter for me to ride a little bit. He came about five or six weeks ago, and I have just really been getting to know him the last few weeks. He has jumped a lot of good rounds, but has had an unlucky jump down.
"Today he was fantastic. This was the first grand prix I have jumped him in. I have jumped some WEF [Challenge Cups] and some 1.50m [classes].
"I did not feel 100% comfortable that I knew him, that I had the right bridle, and everything like that. This week, he felt fantastic.
“The idea is to sell the horse, and that is why he came here for me to ride and show,” Kenny continued.
“I have had a lot of horses come and go lately.
"Some have gotten sold, some have gone to other people, and it does not really bother me, because I am trying to produce new horses all of the time so that they can get sold and I can have horses to ride at the top level. The last few weeks I have been very unlucky, so to get this win is really great.”
Chapot’s mount ISHD Dual Star was previously ridden by Cian O’Connor, who, with Sam Du Challois, produced one of only two clears in the second round of Friday’s nations cup at the HITS show in Ocala, Florida, having opened on eight faults.
The clear helped the Irish team that also included Richie Moloney (Ypaja Yando, 9/8), Shane Sweetnam (Eregast Van’t Kiezelhoft, 4/4), and Kevin Babington (Mark Q, 12/8 ), to fifth place on 33 faults in the eight-nation contest.
Favourites, the US, ran out winners over a bold track designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, with Mexico - mentored by Irish legend Eddie Macken - placing second, while Colombia put up a tremendous battle to clinch third spot ahead of Australia, under chef d’equipe Stevie Macken, son of Eddie.
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