Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
Irish star Bertram Allen and his brilliant 12 year old grey mare Molly Malone V took the precedented Prix Massimo Dutti trophy this afternoon after a thirteen rider jump-off had the Monaco crowds on the edge of the seat during the fast paced round. The formidable combination took top honours in the 1.50/1.55m class, jumping double clear in an impressive 34.56s as the sun started its descent over the Port Hercule harbour.
A top class field of 37 horses and riders took centre stage in the small sand arena, nestled between the Formula 1 pit lane and super yachts birthed nearby. Olympic medallist Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and his stunning grey stallion Clarimo ASK were one of the early pace setters, earning their place in the jump off after the tough and tight demanding course took its toll on the top riders. Last event’s Grand Prix winners, Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Forever were another combination to make up the thirteen riders through, with the 14 year old chestnut gelding leaping his way effortlessly through the course, and were the first to go clear.
Georgina Bloomberg (USA) put in another stunning round, this time with Caleno 3 to join those in the jump-off. She was joined by compatriot Audrey Coulter (USA) and Alex, Jane Richard Philips (SUI) and Zekina Z, Piergiorgio Bucci (ITA) with Casallo Z and Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) with the big striding Caspar 232.
First to go into the jump-off Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Forever caught and unlucky pole, with the new challenge a test for the best. Bertram Allen (IRL) was the first to raise the bar, throwing down the gaunlet for the rest of the field as he galloped to the fences with Molly Malone V. A brilliant turn to the full height vertical at number three saved valuable seconds, and the pair stopped the clocks at 34.56s. The ever speedy David Will (GER) and Cento du Rouet looked to be close to Bertram’s heels, with the pair finishing on the exact same time last event in Cannes. But he was just pipped to the post, finishing just two tenths of a second behind in 34.74s.
One of the final riders to go was Jerome Guery (BEL) and Alicante, another dangerously fast combination who saw double success in the LGCT Chantilly speed classes earlier this month. Jerome and Alicante gave it there all, and came excruciatingly close to Bertram’s time, crossing the line in 34.64s. The top three finished within a whisker of each other, with fourth place man Pieter Devos and Apart almost two seconds behind them. Switzerland’s Christina Liebherr and L.B. Eagle Eye took fifth position and Katharina Offel (GER) with Umeunig round out the top six after a fascinating first day of competition in Monte Carlo.