Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
Bertram Allen delivered his own showcase of horsepower after an exceptional jump-off saw the young Irish star win the Mercedes-Benz Championat von Hamburg with his beautiful grey mare Molly Malone V. Adding another set of wheels to his already extensive garage, Bertram drove away the beautiful Mercedes-Benz car after claiming the win in spectacular style, and a 13-rider jump-off showcased the high calibre of the sport and exhilarating competition.
Speaking about his win, Bertram said: “I knew it was going to be [a really fast jump-off], so I said I’d go as fast as I felt comfortable with. And today it was just fast enough.”
Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) finished in 2nd with Citizenguard Cadjanine Z after a beautiful double clear and LGCT Ranking leader Christian Ahlmann (GER) looked on strong form and set to continue his run of success after finishing in third place with the chestnut stallion Epleaser van’t Heike, much to the delight of the local crowds.
With over 80,000 spectators expected at the prestigious German show, and more than 500 horses on site over the weekend, the Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg is set to be a magical affair. Fans packed the arena sides and grandstands to watch the world’s best in action today, with the CSI5* 1.55m class an exhilarating appetiser to the Grand Prix on Saturday.
Frank Rothenberger delivered a big, uncomplicated course, set to test the world’s best, and the field of 47 combinations from around the globe did not disappoint. A few had time faults, while others were forced into mistakes trying to get inside the time, as the first round of competition saw plenty of action and excitement with the crowd cheering passionately after every clear. A total of 13 riders went through to the jump-off, including seven local riders Maurice Tebbel (GER), Niklas Krieg (GER), Denis Nielsen (GER), Philipp Weishaupt (GER), Mario Stevens (GER), Christian Ahlmann (GER) and the legendary Ludger Beerbaum (GER), who rode Casello 2.
The jump-off track saw great distances between fences, encouraging a galloping stride and suiting those who had horses with a naturally faster pace. There were just two time-saving turns, one of which was to the imposing wall. This was jumped well throughout the competition, and was instrumental in what became a very exciting final round of action.
Bertram’s Molly Malone was very quick across the ground, and set a precedent for the rest of the field. A naturally fast horse, Bertram rode her superbly across the expansive grass arena, eating up the ground with her expressive strides and delivering a brilliant showcase of skill and horsemanship for which he has become so well known.
The hard-luck story of the jump-off was Brazil’s Marlon Zanotelli (BRA) who looked set for the win, however after turning sharply to jump the tall vertical slipped after landing, losing valuable seconds. To make up the time, he turned in tight to the wall, taking a line no other rider had dared to that point, and crossed the line in 39.89s – had he not slipped, he would have likely won the class. Following his example, more riders took the same line to the wall – it worked for some, and not others, creating a great spectacle which had the audience on the edge of their seats.
But it was Bertram and Molly Malone V who stole the show, crossing the line in 39.38s and claiming the top spot in Hamburg so far.