Tag Archives: Bertram Allen

Irish Star Bertram Allen Makes Longines Speed Challenge His Own

Bertram Allen and Christy JNR scorched the sand on his way to winning the Longines Speed Challenge on Saturday night, making it a second victory in the ‘fastest competition in the world” for the Irishman and sending the Hong Kong fans delirious.

Didn’t Allen just love it, too, breaking into a beaming smile after setting a time of 60.47 that proved far too quick – and too good. Behind him came France’s Patrice “King of Hong Kong” Delaveau and Vestale de Mazure*HDC (62.88), while fellow Frenchman Kevin Staut, winner of the Speed Challenge in Paris, and Ayade de Septon*HDC were third (62.94).

“I like to smile when I ride well,” said Allen. ‘I’m delighted and my horse ran superbly. The people here in Hong Kong really love it. They really enjoy their time and watching the horses. I love it.”

Among the many highlights of the weekend so far has been the talent shown by Asia’s rising generation of equestrian stars and they were out in force in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Asian Junior Challenge.

For the first time in the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, a competition over 1m for Asian riders aged under 18, from 4 different Asian nations, gave these emerging talents a chance to compete on the same stage as the greats of the sport.  Indonesia’s Muhammad Akbar Kurniawan rode Easyphighter Dei Folletti to victory and said the experience was a “thrill.”

“I feel great because this is my first time in such an incredible event like the Longines Masters of Hong Kong,” he said. “I hope I can use this experience and go on to the Olympics. I have been watching the stars and it feels great.”

The action on the main arena had begun early afternoon with four riders sharing the prize after a Masters Power Maserati Trophy Six Bar event that had seen the height reach to an astonishing 2.02m.

Again, an Asian rider was to the fore. China’s Ella Wang Yunjing on Aken Utopia joined Great Britain’s Laura Renwick on Top Dollar VI, Pilar Lucrecia Cordon of Spain on Trix Trax, and Irishman Allen on Izzy by Picobello in walking away the winners after failing on the monstrous fence but all clearing 1.92m.

The 21-year-old Chinese rider was still buzzing long after the event had ended, and showed herself to be another Asian star on the rise –and showing the ease with the big occasion of a veteran, in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

“It’s a really good day. I am very happy. It’s my first time doing a Six Bar, and my first time competing in Hong Kong and I was actually pretty nervous but [Aken Utopia] made it amazing,” said Wang.

It wasn’t just the more seasoned stars of equestrian sports who shared the spotlight on Saturday. A mini version of the Longines Speed Challenge was held in the afternoon – incorporating the talents of those kids involved in the 1st Asian Hobby Horse Competition, who tested their speed – and skill – across a specially designed course.

Part of the sales of Hobby Horse sticks has been channeled to the Save the Children Hong Kong, one of a number of fundraising efforts for the charity staged on Saturday and right across the Longines Masters of Hong Kong weekend thanks to the support of EEM.

What a day it was, and as night descended on AsiaWorld-Expo, DJ sets by Jeremie Charlier and then Henri PFR kept everyone moving – and cheering for more.

Jump Media | jennifer@jumpmediallc.com

FEI Secretary General Voices Support for Officials at London Olympia

Lausanne (SUI), 24 December 2015 – FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez has today voiced her full support for the actions of FEI Officials at London Olympia on Monday night (21 December) when Irish rider Bertram Allen was disqualified after blood was found on the flank of his horse, Quiet Easy.

“I have absolutely no doubt that the protocols regarding blood on the horse were followed correctly at London Olympia on Monday night,” Sabrina Ibáñez said.

“Of course this incident has created a considerable amount of discussion on social media because Bertram Allen would otherwise have won the Grand Prix, so there is a high level of sympathy for him, but the FEI Officials were in Olympia – as they are at every event run under FEI Rules – to ensure a fair and level playing field and that the welfare of the horse is protected.

“Blood was found on the flank of Bertram Allen’s horse and, under FEI Jumping Rules, that results in mandatory disqualification. The situation was reported to the Ground Jury by the FEI Steward who had conducted the normal post-competition check on the horse and Bertram Allen was then informed of his disqualification in person by the President of the Ground Jury and the Foreign Judge.

“Let me be clear: disqualification under this rule does not imply that there was any intent to injure the horse, but it is crucial that the rules are enforced in order to ensure that horse welfare ‎is protected.

“It is very easy for any sports official to be criticised when they are simply doing their job. Everything at Olympia was handled correctly and in accordance with the rules, but there is no doubt that it was an unfortunate end to a wonderful event.”

FEI Jumping Rules Article 242.3.1
Mandatory Disqualification
3.1 Horses bleeding on the flank(s), in the mouth or nose or marks indicating excessive use of spurs or of the whip anywhere on the Horse (in minor cases of blood in the mouth, such as where a Horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip, Officials may authorize the rinsing or wiping of the mouth and allow the Athlete to continue; any further evidence of blood in the mouth will result in Disqualification.)

FEI Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Statement on Bertram Allen (IRL), on Behalf of Olympia

Following the Olympia Grand Prix CSI5* at Olympia, The London International Horse Show (GBR) on 21 December, 2015, Bertram Allen (IRL) was disqualified by the Ground Jury under Article 242.3.1 of the FEI Jumping Rules when the FEI Steward tasked with the mandatory post-competition boot and bandage control reported to the Ground Jury that Allen’s horse, Quiet Easy, had presented with blood on the offside (right) flank.

An appeal was lodged by Ms Mhairi Alexander who had been appointed by the Rider and Mrs E Phillips, the Owner, to speak on their behalf. The Appeal Committee heard from the Ground Jury, the FEI Steward and the appointed representative of the Rider.

The Appeal Committee upheld the decision of the Ground Jury that Bertram Allen was correctly disqualified from the competition.

The class was awarded to Michael Whitaker (GBR) and Viking.

Appeal Committee President Val Turner (GBR).

FEI Jumping Rules Article 242.3.1 – Mandatory Disqualification – (‘Horses bleeding on the flank(s), in the mouth or nose or marks indicating excessive use of spurs or of the whip anywhere on the Horse’)

For further information, please contact Jo Peck at Hpower Group
E: jo.peck@hpower.co.uk   T: +44 (0)1753 847900
or Hollie Bostock at Revolution Sports & Entertainment
E: hollie@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0) 207 592 1207

Bertram Allen and Quiet Easy 4 Claim Top Prize in the Longines Speed Challenge

Bertram Allen and Quiet Easy 4. Photos: Shutterstock Rex for EEM.

Los Angeles, CA. October 2, 2015 – Action at the second day at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles culminated with Friday night’s Longines Speed Challenge. Bertram Allen and Quiet Easy 4 raced against the clock with a remarkable time of 58.91 seconds. Scott Brash and Piergiorgio Bucci rounded out the podium, Brash with a time of 58.96 seconds on Hello Annie and Piergiorgio Bucci and Cuarta with a time of 62.94 seconds.

The energy was palpable as the microphoned jumps enhanced the sounds of the ring. Every spectator felt the electricity emanating between horse and rider as they raced around the course. 2014 Longines Masters of Los Angeles Longines Speed Challenge winner Jane Richard Philips returned in an attempt to reestablish her dominance but couldn’t keep pace with the 20-year-old Irish phenom.

The only speed competition of its kind in the world, the Longines Speed Challenge with $130,000 in prize money is a staple of all three Longines Masters events, in Paris, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles. The emotion and suspense were palpable as top-ranked international show jumpers raced through a course designed by renowned Belgian designer Luc Musette. With the launch of the Longines Masters series, the Longines Speed Challenge introduces the new 1.45m course design that will be carried to the Paris and Hong Kong events, challenging the riders to improve their time at each leg.

The Longines Speed Challenge format created by EEM emphasizes speed by and precision, as each fault is penalized by 2 seconds instead of the standard 4. A fallen rail needn’t be cripping, therefore, and riders can still hope to make up these two penalty seconds by going just a little bit faster.

Scott Brash and Hello Annie
Scott Brash and Hello Annie

“Scott Brash’s round was unbelievable,” said Allen in reaction to watching the World Number 1’s pace-setting round. “My horse really tried.”

John Whitaker rode to victory on Argento in the Prix Airbus, the day’s first 5* level competition. He beat Edwina Tops-Alexander and Lintea Tequila by a mere 0.59 seconds in the jump-off. The win adds to his recent success in the series as the winner of the Gucci Gold Cup and Longines Grand Prix at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong. Whitaker and Argento are in great form and heating up in time to compete in Sunday’s Longines Grand Prix in hopes of winning the second leg of the Masters Grand Slam Super Bonus of €500,000.

“With the way he [Argento] jumped today, I should give him the day off. He’s a fighter; he’s tough. He wants to do the job, and that’s 95 percent of the battle. You know he’s going to jump the jumps,” said Whitaker.

Recent “Veep” Emmy winner Tony Hale, actor Kaley Cuoco, director Steven Spielberg, rock and roll legend Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa and more cheered on their favorite riders from the Masters Club. Steffen Peters performed a dressage demonstration, and families enjoyed the first day of the Kids’ Village with face painting, a mini horseless jump course, and ponies.

The world’s best international show jumpers will continue to compete at the Los Angeles Convention Center throughout the weekend. To witness the champion caliber riding and enjoy the Kids Village, one-of-a-kind art pieces from Opera Gallery and more, purchase your tickets at http://www.mastersgrandslam.com/en/ticketing.

DETAILS:
The Longines Masters of Los Angeles
October 1st to 4th 2015
WEBSITE: http://www.mastersgrandslam.com/en/longines_masters_los_angeles
TICKETING: Tickets are available at http://www.mastersgrandslam.com/en/ticketing.

John Whitaker and Argento
John Whitaker and Argento

ABOUT THE LONGINES MASTERS

Established in three of the biggest cities — Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong — the unique Longines Masters series is recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale and is one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions worldwide. Created by EEM, the concept of the Masters was born in 2009 with the first edition of the Gucci Paris Masters, now renamed the Longines Masters of Paris. Inspired by the Grand Slam tournaments in tennis, the circuit rapidly developed abroad, with the Longines Masters of Hong Kong in 2013 and the Longines Masters of Los Angeles in 2014.

The world’s best riders and horses will compete for one million dollars in prize money at each leg of the series. In addition, any rider who consecutively wins the Longines Masters Grands Prix in Paris, Hong Kong and Los Angeles will be rewarded with one million euros Masters Grand Slam bonus. For two successive victories, the rider will be awarded €500,000, and winners of two non-successive victories within a series of three Longines Masters Grand Prix will receive a €250,000 bonus.

These events are broadcast in more than 120 countries and reach up to 550 million households.. Every edition of the Masters is must-attend event that brings together sports enthusiasts, amateurs, celebrities and corporate decision-makers from around the world, who come to enjoy a unique experience, boasting exceptional sport, entertainment, glamour, gastronomy and contemporary art.

Longines Masters of Los Angeles October 1st to 4th 2015
Longines Masters of Paris December 3rd to 6th 2015
Longines Masters of Hong Kong February 19th to 21st 2016

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LAMasters@SunshineSachs.com
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CSI5* of Dinard – Grand Prix of the City of Dinard

Bertram Allen / Molly Malone V (Pixel events)

Incredible scenario for the Grand Prix of the city of Dinard, since the public had to wait for the 22nd contender, Kent Farrington, to ride the course to watch a perfect clear round that finally opened a jump off with five riders. In this small elite group were three French riders, Kevin Staut, Aymeric de Ponnat, and Jérôme Hurel, but also the young Irish prodigy, Bertram Allen, who was celebrating his 20th birthday yesterday, and was riding Molly Malone for the occasion.

After a tough battle, the young rider, definitely unbeatable, clinches victory one more time at the highest level, with disconcerting ease, in a time of 46″54, in front of Kevin Staut (Rêveur de Hurtebise), clear as well, in 46″95, and Jérôme Hurel (Quartz Rouge), who crosses the finish line without a fault, in a time of 49″14. Aymeric de Ponnat has one rail down, and finishes 4th, in front of the American, who scores 12 points. This 2015 edition of the new CSI5* of Dinard will leave a very positive impression, not only to some of the best riders and horses in the world, who will be back, for sure, but also to a record number of 14000 people who showed enthusiastic support to their champions for the Derby and the Grand Prix.

Bertram Allen (IRL), n°1
He is very pleased with his mare. “It was a difficult decision for me to bring her here and not take her to Dublin next week because it is the most important show of the year for us, but I hope this will be a good preparation for the Europeans.”

Kevin Staut (FRA), n°2
Kevin Staut is a little disappointed about the way he rode the beginning of his jump off, where he lost time, but still very happy about Rêveur de Hurtebise HDC.

Jérôme Hurel (FRA), n°3
“When I watched the first riders at the beginning of the class, I thought I would never make it within time allowed, so I am very happy about Quartz, but he always takes a little more time than another horse between and over the jumps, which makes it a little difficult to beat the fastest riders.”

Results: here.

PRESS CONTACT:
Véronique GAUTHIER (Consulis) +33 (0) 672 77 06 00 / veronique-gauthier@club-internet.fr
Frédéric TARDER +33 (0) 607 713 060 / frederic.tarder@lesestivalesdelequitation.com

Bertram Allen Wins First Round of Longines Final with Molly Malone

Ireland’s Bertram Allen and the brilliant grey mare, Molly Malone, won the opening Speed competition of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015 Final at the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas, USA. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Las Vegas (USA), 16 April 2015 – Ireland’s Bertram Allen and the brilliant grey mare, Molly Malone, won the opening Speed competition of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015 Final at the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas, USA tonight. With a performance that mirrored his surprise success on the opening day of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France last September where he eventually placed individually seventh, the German-based 19-year-old simply left the rest trailing in his wake when going 32nd in the field of 40 starters.

Runners-up were the 2012 FEI World Cup™ Jumping champions, America’s Rich Fellers and the amazing Irish-bred stallion Flexible who, tonight, belied his 19 years of age with a fantastic tour of Anthony d’Ambrosio’s 13-fence track. And there was a divide for third spot when both Patrice Delaveau (Orient Express HDC) from France and Dutchman Jur Vrieling (VDL Zirocco Blue NOP) cleared the line in exactly the same time. Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, lined up fifth with Albfuehren’s Paille while Frenchwoman Penelope Leprevost filled sixth spot following a copybook round with Vagabond de la Pomme.

No easy task

The course for tonight’s Speed contest consisted of 13 fences, and in the tight confines of the Thomas & Mack arena it proved no easy task to leave all the poles intact. But another budding young talent, pathfinder 19-year-old Jos Verlooy from Belgium, showed it was perfectly jumpable when setting the standard with a great clear in 68.27 seconds with Domino. The first element of the double at fence five, and the triple combination at fence eight were the bogeys of the evening, but plenty of mistakes were also made elsewhere as riders tried to find the quickest route home. And it was the target set by third-to-go Delaveau, and matched by Vrieling who also cleared the line in 66.44 seconds when 20th into the ring, that they were all chasing right down to the closing stages.

Allen’s round was as exciting as it gets, with breath-taking turns combined with rhythm, balance, accuracy and extraordinary speed. He said afterwards that he didn’t get a perfect stride going into the triple combination but that Molly Malone was very clever there. And the young man who has taken the sport by storm over the last year, and recently moved into the No 10 spot on the Longines world rankings, steadied on the approach to the last. A stride out here would have made him absolutely invincible, but he had the maturity to stick to the plan he had made before going into the ring, and it proved absolutely the right decision as he put the new target of 65.45 seconds onto the scoreboard. He said, “There was a fast eight or a steady nine (strides) there, and I had already decided to go on the nine. I wouldn’t have changed that plan even if it meant I was going to be a half-second slower.”

Faster

Defending champion, Germany’s Daniel Deusser, was faster with Cornet d’Amour but lowered the very last fence when next to go. Even with the four-second penalty added, however, he still slotted into tenth place at the end of the night, and this leaves him well in contention going into tomorrow’s second competition.

Fellers and Flexible then set off at a scorching pace and with the spectators right behind them. The rider from Oregon said afterwards that his stallion’s back is dropping with age, “but it rises up when he hears the crowd – he loves them!” And galloping through the timers in 66.11 seconds he would clinch second place despite the best efforts of the remaining six left to go.

Reflecting

Reflecting on his victory, Allen said afterwards, “I was always going to try to win the class, but for it come off is amazing! I’m very happy with my horse. She jumped super; the atmosphere and the arena were very different but she coped really well with it.” It seems his 11-year-old mare has a naughty side to her nature. When asked to describe her this evening, Allen said, “Molly is quite a strong character and she has her own special ways. She had me worried earlier today because she half ran away with me when I was riding her! But this evening she knew what she had to do and just went in and did it; she always gives her best.”

Fellers insisted he wasn’t surprised to finish so high up the order tonight. “Flexible feels as good as ever and the crowd took four or five years off his age!” But this is a horse who has been written off many times due to injury and illness, and his rider got a bit of a fright earlier in the week. “For the first time in his life he had a little colic issue the other day; it was a bit of a scare, but thanks to my sharp groom it worked out all right. She grabbed the team vet and he did a great job and he (Flexible) seems fine now.”

He is looking forward to tomorrow’s competition and the prospect of making it through to Sunday’s decider, but it’s clearly going to be a tough battle all the way. And after tonight, with results converted into points, Allen holds just a slender two-point lead over the American challenger, while Delaveau and Vrieling are just a single point further behind.

For further information on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2014/2015 in Las Vegas, USA from 15 to 19 April, visit www.worldcuplasvegas.com or contact Press Officer Marty Baumann, marty@classic-communications.com, +1 508 698 6810.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

19-year-old Bertram Allen from Ireland won the first leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Final in Las Vegas, USA tonight riding Molly Malone.

Runner-up spot went to America’s Rich Fellers with the amazing 19-year-old Irish-bred stallion, Flexible, winner of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands in 2012.

2 riders, Patrice Delaveau from France (Orient Express HDC) and The Netherlands’ Jur Vrieling (VDL Zirocco Blue NOP) shared third place when clearing the 13-fence course set by Anthony d’Ambrosio in exactly the same time, 66.44 seconds.

A total of 40 horse and rider combinations started in tonight’s competition at the end of which the riders’ results were converted into points.

Allen heads the leaderboard going into tomorrow evening’s second leg which starts at 19.00 local time.

Defending champion and World No. 1, Germany’s Daniel Deusser, lies 10th going into the second day of competition.

Quotes:

Bertram Allen IRL – “It was great to do well tonight and get the ball rolling! I didn’t want to take too much risk. I wanted to finish in the top five if I could.”

Jur Vrieling NED – “I didn’t want to go too crazy in the first round and he (VDL Zirocco Blue) did it really well.”

Bertram Allen IRL, talking about what it was like to ride in the Thomas & Mack arena tonight – “The fences are almost on top of the crowd; we are used to extremes in our sport but this is really extreme!”

Patrice Delaveau FRA – “At the beginning of the course it didn’t go right between fences three and four so it wasn’t the best start and there was a bit of a fight for us to keep it together.”

Rich Fellers USA – “Every course for every class is different and it’s nice to get in the ring and see how horses respond but the competition tomorrow is not a speed competition so it will require a different strategy.”

Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio – “The course worked out as I thought it would and it was a great competition for the crowd.”

FEI YouTube – https://youtu.be/p8dy_v9gL-4.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Las Vegas:

Marty Baumann
Press Officer
marty@classic-communications.com
+1 508 698 6810

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
Email: malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 133

Allen Does the Double with Another Longines Win at Bordeaux

Ireland’s Bertram Allen clinched his second victory in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League at Bordeaux, France tonight riding Romanov. (FEI/Pierre Costabadie)

Bordeaux (FRA), 7 February 2015 – Irish Jumping sensation, Bertram Allen, made it a double of wins when scorching to victory in the thrilling penultimate leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series at Bordeaux, France tonight.

And his result was all the more phenomenal for the fact that the 19-year-old rider was partnering Billy Twomey’s stallion Romanov who, at 17, was the oldest horse in the class and just two years younger than the man in the saddle.

There was plenty of tension in the air, as many riders were desperately bidding for those elusive extra qualifying points that will get them to the Longines Final in Las Vegas, USA in two months’ time. But Allen was already well-assured of his ticket following a spectacular indoor season, and tonight the young man who recently moved up to 14th in the Longines world rankings stands top of the Western European League leaderboard.

Underpinning his extraordinary achievement, he left German superstars Ludger Beerbaum (Chaman) and Marcus Ehning (Singular Ls La Silla) in his wake, while Timothee Anciaume (Olympique Libellule) slotted into fourth for France.

When asked afterwards if he was surprised to have beaten such a world-class field, Allen replied, “No, not really. I’ve always known that Romanov is a great horse, and he was just brilliant tonight!”

Up to the task

Course designer, Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, gave them a generous 78 seconds to complete the first course of fences, and 11 of the 40 starters proved up to the task. The triple combination at fence 10 took the biggest toll, but there were also plenty of mistakes at the vertical at eight and the oxer at fence nine which each had a water-tray below them.

The clever jump-off track took horses on a figure-of-eight before looping back to the last element of the former triple combination which was followed by the 1.60m vertical at fence 11 and a long gallop to the final oxer. It seemed Germany’s Beerbaum had it in the bag when the 51-year-old ace, who enjoyed very little luck in earlier legs this season, produced the smoothest of runs from the 16-year-old Chaman to set a strong target in 37.72 seconds when fourth to go.

That left him almost five seconds ahead of the only other clear round produced by the host nation’s Timothee Anciaume and Olympique Libellule after Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander kicked out the last with Lintea Tequila and Italy’s Luca Moneta and Connery lowered the third.

Despite a breath-taking turn inside fence 11, Marcus Ehning and Singular la Silla still couldn’t better Beerbaum’s target time when clear in 38.44. And when Zurich winners Sergio Alvarez Moya and Carlo from Spain left two on the floor, and Ireland’s Denis Lynch (All Star), and Kevin Staut (Reveur de Hurtebise) and Penelope Leprevost (Flora de Mariposa) from France all collected single errors, Beerbaum was still out in front.

Formidable reputation

However, although still so very young, Allen has already earned a formidable reputation for skilled riding against the clock. With his top horse, the grey mare Molly Malone with which he clinched victory at the Longines leg in Verona, Italy last November, he is always to be feared. But he had no doubt that Romanov could do the job equally well this evening. Setting off at a relentless pace, he was well in touch as he cleared the penultimate vertical and the crowd held their collective breath as he urged his veteran campaigner to a big stand-off at the final oxer, stopping the clock in 36.48 seconds to go well out in front. And when the final partnership of The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Group Verdi made a mistake, it was the Irishman’s moment.

“I knew I was in with a chance, and I just kind of set sail down the last! He’s a brave horse with a lot of experience,” Allen said afterwards. He said Romanov “had a win in Zurich (two weeks ago), but it wasn’t a big class. He had a break after Birmingham (GBR) where he won the Showjumper of the Year last October, and we’ve been building him up especially for today.”

Quick to praise

Runner-up, Ludger Beerbaum, was quick to praise the winner. “To be honest, the competition in the jump-off wasn’t really close – he (Allen) was more than a second faster – fantastic work from him. He is very fast and so is the horse. I don’t think I could have beaten him today for speed.” And he added, “Looking at Bertram today, I remember how old I am! The first time I competed in Bordeaux was in 1987, Bertram wasn’t even born then! I was 23 years old at the time and won the Grand Prix. Since then, I haven’t won the World Cup here, so I guess I need to come back again next year then!”

Third-placed Marcus Ehning wasn’t at all disappointed, as his horse is only a nine-year-old and full of promise. “He competed in his first Grand Prix and World Cup in London and he jumped clear over there, and now he’s done it again here – twice! I’m really happy, despite not being the fastest,” he said.

Course designer, Uliano Vezzani, had the final word when putting tonight’s result into context. “I’m very happy,” he said, “because Bertram is the future.”

For further information on the eleventh leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series in Bordeaux, France, visit www.jumping-bordeaux.com or contact Press Officer Pascal Renauldon, Email info@rbpresse.com, Tel +33(3) 44 620 621.

The twelfth, and last, Western European qualifier will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden on Sunday, 1 March. For details of the Swedish fixture, check out website www.gothenburghorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Mayvor Thorin, Email mayvor.thorin@gotevent.se, Tel +46 31 368 4349.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

Bordeaux, France presented the eleventh and penultimate leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series tonight.

The winner was 19-year-old Bertram Allen from Ireland partnering Billy Twomey’s stallion Romanov who, at 17, is just two years younger than Allen and the oldest horse in tonight’s competition.

Allen is the only rider to win two legs of the current series. He previously came out on top with his mare, Molly Malone, at Verona, Italy last November.

Allen, who earlier this week moved up one place to No. 14 in the Longines world rankings, now heads the Western European League table with a big total of 71 points.

11 of the 40 starters qualified for the second-round jump-off against the clock.

The top four riders all jumped double-clear rounds.

Course designer was Italy’s Uliano Vezzani.

France was represented by three riders in the jump-off, including Kevin Staut who has competed at all 11 of the Western European League qualifiers to date and who, tonight, finished fifth with Reveur de Hurtebise HDC. Staut now lies second on the Western European League table with 63 points.

Gothenburg, Sweden presents the 12th and last leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series on Sunday 1 March 2015.

Quotes:

Bertram Allen: “There is a super atmosphere here in Bordeaux; it’s one of the best shows on the circuit. I’m delighted. When you are one of the last ones to go at the jump-off and manage to get away with it, it’s a great feeling!”

Timothee Anciaume: “The aim today was simply to keep up the good run of form my horse (Olympique Libellule) has been in. He isn’t well known; I am aware of that. Nevertheless, he has come to Bordeaux in solid form and, given his lack of experience, today was all about trying to get to the jump-off and jump clear; time was not really the priority or focus. The horse has progressed very well and jumped 10 cm higher than the courses he is used to. I am obviously not aiming to compete in Las Vegas considering this was my first World Cup. I’m around the 100th place; if I can get to the top 50 in the coming months then that would be great.”

Marcus Ehning: “Singular LS is owned by Maria Gretzer. I’ve had him now for two years. He’s very much an up-and-coming horse and has improved a lot over the last two years. I’m very proud of him.”

Eric Dulong (President of the Event): “It’s my first year as President and it has been a wonderful, unique experience. It’s also been a great success in terms of visitors, quality of the event and riders – especially today, when you see how young the winner is! This has been another great step for us as a show and we want to keep going further. Thank you to all the riders for having come to Bordeaux and contributing to this success.”

Full standings here.

FEI YouTube here.

Longines Live Timing Jumping application: available free for download from The App Store (iPhone) & Android Markets. Combining precision and performance, this is a detailed and exclusive application designed especially for Jumping fans – follow live results, see latest Longines Rankings, view competition schedules, obtain exclusive information and alerts on your favorite riders and get all the latest FEI news.

Rider biographies: view online and download from http://www.fei.org/bios.

Longines has been based at Saint-Imier (SUI) since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. It has generations of experience as the official timekeeper at world championships and as a partner of international sports federations.

Longines’ passion for equestrian sports began in 1878, when it produced a chronograph engraved with a jockey and its mount. Over the years, the brand has built strong and long-lasting links with equestrian sports. In 1912, Longines was proud to partner with its first Jumping event, the Grande Concurso Hippico Internacional, in Portugal.

Today, Longines’ involvement in equestrianism includes Jumping, Endurance and flat racing.

Longines is a member of The Swatch Group S.A., the world’s leading manufacturer of horological products. With an excellent reputation for creating refined timepieces, the brand, whose emblem is the winged hourglass, has outlets in over 130 countries.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Bordeaux:

Pascal Renauldon
Press Officer
info@rbpresse.com
+333 44 620 621

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Equestrian Champions Dominate National All-Sports Awards Nominations in Year of the Horse

(L to R) Olympic, World and European Dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin (GBR), World Jumping champion and Sydney 2000 Olympic champion Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED), and Para-Equestrian Dressage double world gold medallist Rixt van der Horst (NED) are some of the equestrian athletes nominated for national all-sports awards in 2014. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

Lausanne (SUI), 2 December 2014 – Equestrian champions are taking on athletes across all sports in the Year of the Horse in bids to claim top national sports awards in the Netherlands, Great Britain and Ireland.

The Netherlands’ traditional Sport Gala 2014 announced its nominees on Sunday night, with equestrian heroes featuring in four of the six categories. Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin has already claimed one award and is nominated for two others, while Ireland’s teenage sensation Bertram Allen has been nominated for the Irish Independent Young Sports Star of the Year award.

Jeroen Dubbeldam, double gold medallist at the Alltech World Equestrian Games™ 2014 and the Netherlands’ first ever Jumping world title holder, has been nominated for the Best Male Athlete award. The Sydney 2000 Olympic Jumping champion will battle it out against football legend Arjen Robben, world champion in gymnastics Epke Zonderland and four Olympic Winter Games gold medallists in speed skating.

Dubbeldam and his team-mates have also been nominated in the Best Team category. The orange quartet of Dubbeldam, Jur Vrieling, Maikel van der Vleuten and Gerco Schröder claimed gold in Normandy and booked a slot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and then went on to score a sensational victory at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona (ESP) just over five weeks later.

Chef d’equipe Rob Ehrens, responsible for so many “orange-gold” medals, has also been recognised and is nominated in the Best Coach category. The former rider has steered the Dutch Jumping to multiple successes, and also helped the Eventing team secure its qualification for Rio 2016.

Another equestrian hero has been nominated for these famous awards, with Para-Equestrian Dressage athlete Rixt van der Horst, double world champion, featuring in the Best Paralympic Athlete category along with three other nominees. She collected two individual gold medals and a silver team medal in Normandy on her international debut.

Winners in each of the six categories will be selected by a jury of former Olympic athletes, coaches and sports journalists. The Sport Gala 2014 ceremony takes place at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Center on 16 December.

Dubbeldam has another nomination, as the emotional moment when his daughter Nina jumped into his arms crying after seeing her father crowned World Champion is one of 10 selected for the Sport in Beeld award. This television award for the best sporting pictures of the year is chosen by public vote and will be presented at the Sport Gala 2014.

Anky van Grunsven won the Best Female Athlete in 1994 and took the Fanny Blankers Koen all-time achievement award in 2012. The Dutch Jumping team was previously nominated for the Best Team award in 2006.

Dancing with the awards

Dressage star Charlotte Dujardin (GBR), last year’s Reem Acra Best Athlete in the FEI Awards, has already scooped the Sunday Times & Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year award for 2014, and is now nominated for two other all-sports awards: the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) and the BT Sport’s Action Woman of the Year award.

The London 2012 double Olympic champion has had an incredible year, winning two individual gold medals and team silver at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014, and the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Lyon (FRA), where Dujardin and her dancing horse Valegro enchanted the public once again.

For the SPOTY award, Dujardin has been shortlisted by a panel of sports specialists and will be taking on an all-star cast of Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1), Gareth Bale (football), Carl Froch (boxing), Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans (skiing), Rory McIlroy (golf), Jo Pavey (athletics), Adam Peaty (swimming), Max Whitlock (gymnastics) and Lizzy Yarnold (skeleton). Nominees will compete for the public vote live on television on 14 December.

Previous equestrian winners of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award are The Princess Royal, Princess Anne (1971), her daughter Zara Phillips 25 years later, and David Broome (1960).

Dujardin has also been nominated for the BT Sport’s Action Woman of the Year Award, where each candidate is supported by someone from the world of sport or entertainment. Dujardin is supported by former England footballer Michael Owen. “My daughter Gemma is a keen dressage rider and Charlotte Dujardin is one of her heroes so we have often watched her compete and for sheer control and movement Charlotte really is as good as it gets,” he said.

The public vote closes today, 2 December, and the winner will be presented with the trophy during a live broadcast on BT Sport on 10 December.

Teen superstar

The 19-year-old Jumping athlete Bertram Allen (IRL), who has been taking the Jumping world by storm with phenomenal successes this year with the mare Molly Malone, was nominated yesterday for the Irish Independent Young Sports Star of the Year award, along with four other nominees.

“Bertram is, unquestionably, the biggest sensation in international jumping right now,” the Irish Independent newspaper said about his nomination. Allen is currently 19th in the Longines Jumping Rankings after a sensational year during which he won the Verona qualifier for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas, as well as victories in the Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland and the Grand Prix in Lummen (BEL). He was also a member of the Irish team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, where he finished seventh individually.

In September, Allen and the seven-year-old mare Barnike became the first combination in history to score back-to-back wins at the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses 2014 at Lanaken (BEL).

The Irish Independent Young Sports Star of the Year award winner is chosen by public vote, which closes on 17 December.

Sport Gala 2014 – More information about Sport Awards 2014 here.

SPOTY Awards – More information about SPOTY Awards 2014 here.

BT Sport Action Woman of the Year 2014 – More information about BT Sport’s Award here.

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Email: grania.willis@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Denise Devillaire
Manager Press Relations
Denise.devillaire@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 57

Allen Makes His Mark with Spectacular Win at Longines Leg in Verona

Ireland’s Bertram Allen steered Molly Malone to victory in his first-ever Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier at the fourth leg of the 2014/2015 Western European League series in Verona, Italy today. (FEI/Stefano Secci)

Verona (ITA), 9 November 2014 – He’s only 19 years old, but Ireland’s Bertram Allen is taking the Jumping world by storm and today reigned supreme in his first-ever Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League qualifier at Verona in Italy. Riding the 10-year-old grey mare, Molly Malone, with which he has secured phenomenal successes this year including victory in the Grand Prix at Dublin 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.

Runners-up were recently-crowned team world championship gold medallists Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Verdi from The Netherlands, while three-time FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion, Marcus Ehning from Germany, lined up third with Cornado NRW ahead of Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson and H&M Tornesch in fourth place.

Today’s jump-off was a thriller, and Allen’s performance was described by many as one of those “I was there!” moments in the history of any sport.

Taking their toll

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 in the first round. 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 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.

Faster and faster

But the target-time just kept getting faster and faster.

Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten cut every corner he could, 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 over the remainder of the course, 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 stole all the limelight.

Coolness under fire

Allen 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,” he said.

He trains with Marcus Ehning who lives nearby in Muenster, Germany. Ehning was asked this evening what it feels like to be beaten by his pupil, and replied, “I have to say I have no problem with that all! I’m quite proud that I could help him a few steps on his way. I’m not really his only trainer, but any time he needs help I try to help him. We have been working together now for a few years and we have a good relationship,” he pointed out.

Talking about his ride in the jump-off, Ehning said, “I had a very good run, but I knew when I was finished that these guys could be faster.” And talking about his spectacular jumper, Cornado NRW, he added, “Since last year, when he won the big class here on the Saturday afternoon, to this year, he has improved really a lot. This is now his second show after the World Championship, and I feel that he is getting older and more relaxed. On the first day he was already very good here in Verona, and today in both rounds he was very good again, and I’m very pleased with him,” he said.

Jump-off track

Van der Vleuten was asked if he knew where he might have been faster on the jump-off track.

“I didn’t lose too much time I think; everywhere I had a nice forward distance. If I compare my round to Bertram’s he had a quicker turn to second-last jump, for the rest I was really happy with the way my round went,” he replied.

Allen’s career-progress has been exceptional, but despite his tender years he doesn’t allow his success to go to his head. Talking about his ride against the clock, he said, “My horse is naturally fast. I did one more (stride) down first distance, I got a great turn to the second fence and then everywhere else was quite sharp and to the second-last fence I risked it a bit.”

He praised his mare, 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.

For further information on the fourth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League at Verona, Italy, go to website www.jumpingverona.it, or contact Press Officer Caterina Vagnozzi, Email c.vagnozzi@gmail.com, Tel +39 335 6107070.

The next leg takes place in Stuttgart, Germany on Sunday 23 November. For details of the German fixture, visit http://stuttgart-german-masters.de or contact Press Officer Joerg Klopfer, Email joerg.klopfer@in.stuttgart.de or Tel +49 7119 5543128.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

Jumping Verona presented the fourth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League series today.

The event took place within the programme of the Fieracavalli, the annual Italian equestrian extravaganza which this year celebrated its 116th anniversary.

This leg attracted 6 of the top 7, and 13 of the top 19 riders in the latest Longines World Rankings including Olympic champion, Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, and reigning Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion, Daniel Deusser from Germany.

Course designer was Italy’s Uliano Vezzani.

Show Director for Jumping Verona is Eleonora Ottaviani who is also Director of the International Jumping Riders Club.

Today’s winner was Ireland’s Bertram Allen who, at the age of 19, was competing in his very first Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier.

He was riding the 10-year-old grey mare, Molly Malone V, with which he won the Grand Prix at Dublin Horse Show this summer and finished seventh individually at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy.

10 horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the second round.

6 horse-and-rider combinations jumped double-clear.

Quotes:

Maikel Van der Vleuten NED, talking about today’s course – “You needed a sharp horse, especially in the combination (in the first round). It was a fair test for the horses but they just had to work a bit there – I think it was a good course.”

Marcus Ehning GER, talking about his ride in the first round today – “I took out a stride to last fence. I wasn’t the only one, and it turned out longer than I thought but he (Cornado NRW) has the quality, and he did it easily in the end!”

Full standings here.

FEI YouTube: http://goo.gl/1Zp0k8

Longines Live Timing Jumping application: available free for download from The App Store (iPhone) & Android Markets. Combining precision and performance, this is a detailed and exclusive application designed especially for Jumping fans – follow live results, see latest Longines Rankings, view competition schedules, obtain exclusive information and alerts on your favorite riders and get all the latest FEI news.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping press kit: download all the details from www.feipresskits.org (contains series calendar, competition schedule, online media tools and history).

Rider biographies: view online and download from http://www.fei.org/bios.

Longines has been based at Saint-Imier (SUI) since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. It has generations of experience as the official timekeeper at world championships and as a partner of international sports federations. Longines’ passion for equestrian sports began in 1878, when a timepiece was made with a horse and jockey engraved on the watch face. Over the years, the brand has built strong and long-lasting links with equestrian sports. In 1926, for the first time, the brand was involved as timekeeper for the Official International Equestrian Competition of Geneva.

Today, Longines’ involvement in equestrianism includes Jumping, Endurance and flat racing.

Longines is a member of The Swatch Group S.A., the world’s leading manufacturer of horological products. With an excellent reputation for creating refined timepieces, the brand, whose emblem is the winged hourglass, has outlets in over 130 countries.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Verona:

Caterina Vagnozzi
Press Officer
Email: c.vagnozzi@gmail.com
Tel +39 335 610 7070

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Email: grania.willis@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Sensational Win for Young Irishman Allen as French Top Early Team Standings

Ireland’s Bertram Allen steered the lovely grey mare Molly Malone V to win the opening Speed leg of the Jumping Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Caen, France today. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Normandy (FRA), 2 September 2014 – In a sensational start to the Jumping Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy today, Ireland’s teenage star Bertram Allen won the opening speed leg with a brilliant performance from Molly Malone V. The 19-year-old, who hails from County Wexford, but who is based in Munster, Germany and is coached by German ace Marcus Ehning, set a super-fast target when 40th to go in the field of 153 starters. And despite their best efforts, the world’s leading riders simply couldn’t match the time achieved by the young Irishman and his lovely grey mare.

French rider Patrice Delaveau lined up second with Orient Express HDC, securing pole position for the host country in the team rankings going into tomorrow’s second test, while Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet and Conrad de Hus finished third ahead of America’s Beezie Madden on Cortes C.

The top-10 after today’s opening competition reads like a “who’s who” of the sport, with 2011 FEI European champion Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE) filling fifth with Casall Ask, world number 9 Penelope Leprevost from France in sixth with Flora de Mariposa, and this year’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping champions, Daniel Deusser and Cornet D’Amour from Germany, slotting into seventh place.

Lying eighth individually is Canadian phenomenon and 10-time Olympian Ian Millar who, at 67 years of age, is almost 50 years older than today’s winner. The man affectionately and respectfully knows as “Captain Canada” cruised into the top-10 line-up with consummate ease riding the 11-year-old Dixon, a horse with a pedigree connected to his legendary partner Big Ben.

Lying ninth is Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, team silver medallist at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, while The Netherlands’ Jeroen Dubbeldam, individual champion at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, is well placed in 10th.

First clear round

Irishman Darragh Kenny produced the first clear over Frederic Cottier’s course when second into the arena with Imothep. But the 14-fence track would prove a significant test, with many horses more than impressed by the Norman theme that included a model of Mont St Michel, a herd of sheep grazing in a meadow, cartloads of fresh apples and even a bottle of French wine that adorned the space between the optional elements of the double at fence eight. This proved a pivotal point on the course, with a number of refusals and falls.

In total, 10 horse-and-rider combinations failed to make it around the track, which began with an oxer followed by a line of vertical to oxer to oxer before a bending line to a most unusual wall. Its rock-like face came as something of a surprise to many horses, as did the river-filler below the following oxer which led on to the open 3.80m open water.

The majority of riders selected the right-side faster route over the double of planks at fence eight instead of the poles to the left. Next was a vertical going away from the in-gate, and a stop and fall here for Brazil’s Doda de Miranda when AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno ducked out to the left, drew gasps of disbelief from the crowd.

A double, vertical to oxer, at 10 was followed on a left-circle by a narrow oxer at 11 and this too took its toll when riders were attempting to make up time towards the end of the track with four seconds added for every fence on the floor. The narrow vertical at 12 then led to the final line of a double, oxer to vertical, and a final oxer.

More than 50 horses took their turn before Delaveau came closest to Allen’s time, and there were only 13 left to run when Wathelet moved into third while Madden clinched her fourth-place finish when second-last into the ring.

Rising star

Allen’s ride was perfection, but there was still a lot of head-shaking at the end of the day because, although his star has been rising for quite some time, his appearance at the top of the individual order at the end of this first world championship contest was generally unexpected. Except by the Irish who have been watching this extraordinarily talented young man making his way through the sport for a number of years now.

Despite his tender years he has a lot of experience under his belt, and his form in recent months includes a brilliant victory in the Longines Grand Prix at Dublin Horse Show just a few weeks ago. And of course he’d given warning of his intent when consistently successful at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 test event earlier in the summer.

Talking about his winning ride today, he said: “The mare jumped out of her skin. The plan was a good solid round, but she took everything in her stride and we were able to get a great round in, so I’m over the moon! She has quite a bit of experience of going fast against the clock and we know each other well, so we know what we can and can’t do, and we got the measure right today.”

And talking about the course, he said: “The water down to the planks was the most difficult part, but in fairness the course is very good. There are five or six little things that are causing an equal amount of problem, not one fence.”

He said he thrives on pressure, and he’s had plenty of it in his young life because he’s already something of a championship specialist.

Biggest stage

“This is the biggest stage I’ve ever performed on, and it’s a completely different level again, but I’ve had quite a bit of experience with under-age championships for ponies and juniors and I was reserve in Barcelona last year (at Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2013 Final).”

When asked if it is true that he has taken a medal at every championship in which he has competed so far he replied, “Yes, I don’t know how I managed that! I suppose there was a bit of luck along the way. It would be great if the luck could keep going for one more Championship!” he replied with a laugh. And could he make it into Sunday’s final-four individual medal decider? “Sure that’s what I’m dreaming about,” he said, “but it’s a long, long way away!”

Like every other nation fielding a team this week, Olympic qualification is a major goal, and with clears from all of Allen’s fellow team-members the Irish are lying just two places off the top five slots which will pave the way to Rio 2016 when the team medals are distributed on Thursday. But the French are feeling pretty confident in the overnight lead, even though only a single fence separates the top six nations going into tomorrow’s second challenge.

The French are closely followed by Sweden in second, the USA in third, Germany in fourth, Netherlands in fifth and Canada in sixth.

Patrice Delaveau wasn’t getting too carried away either this evening. “I think we have the lead for the team ranking, but nothing is done; we must stay focused. However, this result is good for us psychologically as we move forward into the week.”

What lies ahead

Course designer Frederic Cottier talked about the challenge he faced today and what lies ahead. “I had to create a course for 160 horse-and-rider combinations at different levels, and I didn’t want the less experienced ones to lose confidence too early, so I created free turns so the best horses could make tight turns, but there was freedom for the riders to make their own decisions. But tomorrow will be very different.”

Ian Millar put the rest of the week into perspective when he said today: “There’s 180 or whatever horse and rider combinations here and pretty much all of them are pretty good, and they have good horses. When you look at that then it’s a daunting task, and you just think this is a mountain we’ve gotta climb here and I believe that’s what championships are all about, and that’s why it brings out the very best in everybody.”

A total of 150 horse-and-rider combinations go through to tomorrow’s first round of the team final competition, which is also the second individual qualifier, and it is Portugal’s Mario Wilson Fernandes and Zurito do Belmonte who will be first into the arena.

All teams go into tomorrow’s competition, but only the top 10 will qualify for Thursday’s second round of the team final, so it’s critical from the outset when the action resumes in the D’Ornano Stadium tomorrow morning.

Result First Competition:

Individual – 1, Molly Malone V (Bertram Allen), IRL, 77.01; 2, Orient Express HDC (Patrice Delaveau), FRA, 77.18; 3, Conrad de Hus (Gregory Wathelet), BEL, 77.33; 4, Cortes C (Beezie Madden), USA, 77.34; 5, Casall Ask (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson), SWE, 77.70; 6, Flora de Miriposa (Penelope Leprevost), FRA, 77.82; 7, Cornet D’Amour (Daniel Deusser), GER, 78.41; 8, Dixson (Ian Millar), CAN, 78.84; 9, H&M Sibon (Peder Fredricson), SWE, 78.86; 10, Zenith SFN (Jeroen Dubbeldam), NED, 79.52.

Team standings: 1, France, 2.08; 2, Sweden, 3.01; 3, USA, 4.72; 4, Germany, 4.82; 5, Netherlands, 4.83; 6, Canada, 6.00; 7, Ireland 6.51; 8, Belgium, 9.53; 9, Colombia, 9.86; 10, Qatar, 11.01.

Full results and startlists at www.normandy2014.com.

Facts and Figures:

153 horse-and-rider combinations started in today’s opening speed leg of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 Jumping Championships.

The competition took place at the Stade D’Ornano in Caen.

Course designer was Frederic Cottier, and today’s track consisted of 14 fences with 17 jumping efforts.

Today’s winner was 19-year-old Irishman Bertram Allen riding the grey mare Molly Malone V.

10 horse-and-rider combinations were eliminated.

The host nation of France heads the team rankings after the opening day due to second place for Patrice Delaveau (Orient Express HDC), sixth place for Penelope Leprevost (Flora de Mariposa) and 14th position for Simon Delestre (Qlassic Bois Margot). The fourth French team member, Kevin Staut (Reveur de Hurtebise HDC), slotted into 19th place.

150 horse-and-rider combinations will start again in tomorrow’s first round of the team final competition.

Only the top 10 teams after tomorrow’s competition will go through to Thursday’s team medal deciding round, with five slots for Rio 2016 up for grabs.

Quotes:

Bertram Allen IRL, talking about his mare, Molly Malone: “She never seemed like she had all the scope as a young horse but she’s so athletic, she’s such a fighter, and we have such a great bond, I never feel like there’s something we can’t jump. Normally because she’s so careful she gets better the more days she jumps.”

Ian Millar CAN: “I was in a wonderful position today because if I got it wrong then Eric (Lamaze) would just have to slow down and finish it up and get the score for the team. I’m a great believer in synergy in a team, and this team has synergy; we’ve been together that many times and we know each other so well, we know each other’s horses and we play off each other very well. So that puts the circumstances in place for a good result.”

Daniel Deusser GER: “It was not the goal to win that class; it was to finish in the top 10, to finish with a good result today. The pressure is on now because the (German) Dressage and Eventers were good. I think this is a little bit different, because overall I don’t see just three teams here that can win the medals. I think there are 10 teams at least that could win the gold medal here in our discipline. Anyway because of that it was very good to have a good start today. Everything will be decided tomorrow and the day after. It will be a different course and it will be a bit more difficult. We will see from today on.”

McLain Ward USA: “Our horses are in great condition. We have the best team we’ve ever fielded; it’s an exciting group, all really competitive but it’s a very flat line between winning and eighth place, as the sport grows it becomes an even flatter line!

There were lots of places to have a fence down but this is the first day, everything is at the maximum including the stress and you have to balance out the risks and the consequences. The set-up here is good; it’s small and not too spread out. Perfect for showjumping or any horse sport.”

By Louise Parkes

Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA) on 23 August – 7 September brings together close to 1,000 riders and 1,000 horses from 74 nations for 15 days of world-class competition in Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining.

For more information, see: www.normandy2014.com.

History Hub

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ are held every four years in the middle of the Olympic and Paralympic cycle. They were first hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990 and have since been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, and Aachen (GER) in 2006. The first Games to be organised outside Europe were the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) 2010.

Visit the FEI History Hub here.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 Organising Committee:

Amélie Patrux
Press Officer
presse@normandie2014.com