Edited Press Release
The energy was high in the International Ring at Wellington International on Thursday morning as a slew of top riders suited up to contest the precursor event to Saturday evening’s CSI5* grand prix during ‘Saturday Night Lights’. A starting field of 54 combinations were set to contest Frank Rothenburger’s (GER) first phase of the CHF75,000 CSI5* Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 5, which featured an efficient time-allowed of 74 seconds. As he’s done before, Irish Olympian Bertram Allen saved the best for last and made quick work of the short course to take the lead in a blazing 38.89 seconds aboard Pacino Amiro.
The time allowed in the opening round was a heartbreaking factor for six pairs that suffered only a single time-fault. Sixteen advanced to the jump-off, and after two chose to save their horses for another day, 12 riders from eight nations went head-to-head over the short course. The lead changed hands several times, but Allen made the most of his final position and shifted Aiden McGrory’s Pacino Amiro into a new gear.
“I knew going in that I had to have a good round, but I didn’t want to overdo it today with the grand prix coming up on Saturday night,” Allen detailed. “My plan was to be quick early on because I knew if I caught the first two fences good that my horse is as quick as any other.”
The Irish Sport Horse gelding (Pacino x NC Amiro) is undoubtedly Allen’s top mount at this point in the 11-year-old horse’s storied career.
“He has really been a fantastic horse for me; he is only 11 years old, but he’s already been to the Olympics (Tokyo), the World Equestrian Games (Herning), and won a five-star grand prix here [at WEF],” he gushed.
For Allen, the win is a welcome way to start a significant week for him at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). “This venue has a lot of good things, but the main reason many of us riders come from Europe is for the five-star weeks. It’s great to start this week off on the right note.”
Allen’s fellow countryman and winner of last week’s CSI4* grand prix, Conor Swail and Count Me In earned the runner-up honors. Swail and the Mannon Farm and Sandy Lipton-owned 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes)ensured another podium finish with a tidy time of 39.29 seconds. Laura Kraut finished third with the St. Bride’s Farms’ 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Balou du Rouet x Landor S) Baloutinue. The pair just barely broke the 40 second mark but left all rails in the cups with a final time of 40.19 seconds.
Original press release from https://wellingtoninternational.com/.
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