Equestrian: Bertram Allan comes out best in Doha
‘I have to give a lot of credit to my horse, it was very hard to beat Julien so I gave it everything’
Bertram Allen came out best in Doha. Photograph: Stefano Grasso/LGCT
Ireland’s Bertram Allen came out best in the 16-strong jump-off round of Friday evening’s 1.55m class in the Al Shaqab arena in Doha, Qatar.
French rider Julien Epaillard looked to have done enough when home clear in 34.12 with Usual Suspect d’Auge but Wexford native Allen just coaxed a bit more out of Ballywalter Farm’s 16-year-old Holstein stallion GK Casper down to the last, stopping the clock on 33.75. Belgium’s Karel Cox, who was the final rider to jump, threw down a strong challenge on Dublin van Overis but had to settle for second in 34.07.
Following his win, Allen commented: “I have to give a lot of credit to my horse, it was very hard to beat Julien so I gave it everything. You had to catch everywhere exactly how you wanted it. If you had one place where you had one more stride, you were out.”
From a field of 42, Germany-based Allen was the only Irish rider out of five to get through to the jump-off with Michael G. Duffy failing to do so when picking up a single time fault in round one on Jaguar vd Berghoeve.
Ireland’s best results in Europe on Friday came at Vilamoura in Portugal where Mikey Pender recorded a three-star level double. He first landed the 1.40m speed class on the Marion Hughes-owned and bred HHS Fortune, an eight-year-old mare by Catoki, being nearly two seconds faster than his closest rival, the home-based António Matos Almeida riding Lumbumbo.
There were 76 starters in that competition and just three less in the later 1.45m jump-off class where Pender was one of 24 riders who progressed to the second round and one of seven to go double clear.
Again, the Kildare man recorded a clear-cut victory, stopping the clock on 40.93 with the 11-year-old Casper van Erpekom Z gelding Casanova van Overis Z who is owned in partnership by Bravo Hughes and breeder Gerald Lenaerts’s Studfarm Overis. Portuguese rider Duarte Seabra, who spent some time in Ireland, finished second (42.57) on the Irish Sport Horse gelding Fernhill Curra Quinn, a 12-year-old Harlequin du Carel bay owned by Kilkenny’s Carol Gee.
In the Under-25s’ 1.45m Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, Co Derry’s Daniel Coyle and his own ISH mare CHS Krooze, a nine-year-old by Kroongraaf, finished second (36.19) behind the host nation’s David Oberkircher riding Upper (35.10).