He’s only 19 years old, but Ireland’s Bertram Allen is taking the showjumping world by storm and today reigned supreme in his first-ever Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier at Jumping Verona. (Photo © junpingverona.it).
He’s only 19 years old, but Ireland’s Bertram Allen is taking the showjumping world by storm and today reigned supreme in his first-ever Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier at Jumping Verona – competition presented by Fixdesign. Riding the 10-year-old grey mare, Molly Malone V, with which he has secured phenomenal successes this year including victory in the Grand Prix at Dublin Horse Show and 7th place individually at the World Equestrian Games, he beat a world-class field with a devastating turn of speed when second-last to go in this afternoon’s 10-horse jump-off.
Course designer, Uliano Vezzani, set them a tough test, with the triple combination at fence nine and the double at fence 11 both taking their toll. And some riders, including Britain’s William Whitaker with Fandango and America’s Kent Farrington with Blue Angel, produced jumping exhibitions only to falter at the very last rustic oxer. Italy’s Piergiorgio Bucci led the way against the clock with the handsome and athletic Casallo Z and set the pace with a tidy clear in 37.06 seconds, but that was never going to be fast enough to take the maximum World Cup points on offer in a line-up filled with so many other shining stars. The first of three Swiss contenders, Martin Fuchs was a little quicker with PSG Future in 37.15, but Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson shaved almost a second off that with a thrilling tour of the new track with H&M Tornesch when posting 36.28 on the board. Fuchs’ fellow-countrymen Pius Schwizer (Armani the Gun) and Olympic champion Steve Guerdat (Albfuehren’s Paille) then both faulted before Germany’s Marcus Ehning took over the lead with a sensational run from the fabulous grey stallion Cornado NRW. Ehning was one of several riders to reduce the distance between the opening oxer and the following vertical to six strides instead of seven, and his legendary corner-cutting was put to good use all the way to the finish where they broke the beam in 35.77 seconds.
But still it kept getting faster and faster. Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten cut every corner he could with his World Championship team gold medal winning ride VDL Groep Verdi, and when he stopped the clock on 35.22 seconds it seemed that surely that was as quick as they could go. But Allen has one of the coolest young minds in the sport, and even though he took that extra stride down to the first fence, such is his extraordinary partnership with his lovely little grey mare that they simply made every turn just that little bit sooner and rolled down to the final Longines oxer to break the beam in a sensational time of 34.89 seconds. Last in was the reigning Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping champions Daniel Deusser riding Forlap, but a pole down put paid to their chances and it was Allen who claimed those precious maximum qualifying points.
He believes he owes his coolness under fire to the amount of experience he gained during his hugely successful career with ponies. “You have to be able to deal with pressure at that level too, so I’m kind of used to it” Allen said this evening.
He trains with Marcus Ehning who lives nearby his base in Muenster, German and who today finished third behind van der Vleuten. Asked this evening what it feels like to be beaten by his pupil, the man who has claimed the FEI World Cup™ title on three occasions replied “I’m delighted that I can help him a few steps on his way in his career. I’m not his full-time trainer but we have worked together for a few years, and we have a good relationship – he made me very proud today!”
Allen’s career-progress has been exceptional, but despite his tender years he doesn’t allow his success to go to his head. He praised Molly Malone for the part she played in today’s fantastic victory. “I’m very happy and I’m very proud of my mare. This is one of her first shows since the World Equestrian Games and she gave me 100 per cent today” he said.