Irish riders recorded a remarkable one-two finish in Sunday €200,000 five-star Grand Prix at St Gallen in Switzerland, with Wexford’s Bertram Allen taking the winner’s prize ahead of Richard Howley.
Sligo man Howley had set an excellent target of clear in 45.64 seconds when drawn fourth to go in the 13 horse jump-off with the 10-year-old gelding Chinook. The twenty-four year-old watched on as several of the world’s top riders tried but failed to beat his time.
Allen was drawn last to go against the clock having produced the fastest clear in the first round with the 10-year-old stallion Hector van d’Abdijhoeve. The 21-year-old from Co Wexford judged his round to perfection and crossed the line clear in 44.75 seconds, almost a second faster than Howley, to take the winner’s prize of €50,000. Howley took home €40,000 for his runner-up finish while the home fans saw Swiss rider Paul Estermann and Lord Pepsi take third place on the podium when clear in 46.15 seconds.
A delighted Bertram Allen heaped praise on his horse after their success:
“Hector jumped brilliant all weekend and today was probably as good as he has ever jumped. His first rounds are often quite quick, he likes to go like that and it worked to my advantage getting drawn last to go against the clock.”
Richard Howley reflected on a brilliant run of results which has seen him become an important member of the Irish Nations Cup team:
“It was unreal – a brilliant result. I watched Roman Duguet go first on the screen and I wanted to put down a good marker as fourth to go. The plan was always to go fast and try and win. I knew there were some very fast riders coming after me but I know my horse is fast too. It has been an unbelievable few weeks. It is very difficult for me to get an opportunity to compete at these five-star shows unless I am part of the Irish team. I’m delighted, to finish second in only my second ever five-star Grand Prix – hopefully I can get more chances in the coming weeks.”