Wexford’s Bertram Allen claimed a stunning victory in the $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup in Toronto last night, at a sold-out Coca-Cola Coliseum, which was packed to maximum capacity with a crowd of 6,631 in attendance.
When four riders jumped clear over Michel Vaillancourt’s course to advance to the jump-off, speed became the name of the game. The times became faster and faster until 24-year-old Allen, the final challenger, brought the crowd to its feet with a thrilling jump-off performance riding GK Casper in a time of 34.70 seconds to overtake Belgium’s Jos Verlooy, who had stopped the clock in 35.41 seconds aboard Igor.
“This is a super show,” said Allen, who was making his Royal Horse Show debut in Ontario. “I didn’t have my best week until tonight, but it all came together. It’s one of the biggest classes that GK Casper has jumped and his first World Cup. It was hard, but I knew if I got the first round behind me, I didn’t have to worry about the jumps as much in the second round. I could really give it a lash.
“He’s always been a fantastic jumper, but it has taken him longer to get to this height,” continued Allen of his 11-year-old Holsteiner stallion, “most horses start their first season off doing this at about nine, but this is his first season now.”
In addition to hoisting the Hickstead Trophy, named in memory of Canadian Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze’s legendary mount, Allen also claimed valuable qualifying points for the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Irish rider, who finished third in the World Cup Final when it was last held in Las Vegas in 2015, now has his sights set on a return trip.
Despite giving it his best effort, Belgian Verlooy finished second with Igor, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, while third on the podium was 18-year-old American Brian Moggre who was the first rider to jump clear in the opening round and again set the standard by jumping clear in the jump-off riding MTM Vivre le Reve, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding.
$210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Toronto Result
1. Bertram Allen & GK Casper (IRL) 0:0 in 34.70 seconds.
2. Jos Verlooy & Igor (BEL) 0:0 in 35.41 seconds.
3. Brian Moggre & MTM Vivre le Reve (USA) 0:0 in 35.83 seconds.