Wexford’s Bertram Allen claimed the top spot, with Conor Swail, Andrew Bourns and Darragh Kenny all finishing in the top ten.

Irish riders were out in force at Wellington International and filled four of the top ten places, with two riders partnering Irish Sport Horses to kick off the weekend at the Florida venue. In the second international ranking class at the 5* show, Olympian Bertram Allen and the Simon Scott-bred Pacino Amiro (ISH) won the 1.55m class last night (Thursday).

On just their second international start of the season, this experienced combination got off to a strong start, jumping clear in both rounds and recording an unbeatable time of 38.89 seconds in the jump off. Wexford man Allen and Pacino Amiro (ISH) represented Ireland at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games and helped Ireland secure Olympic team qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics as part of the team who finished fourth in the World Championships in Herring, Denmark, last year. The 11-year-old gelding, owned by Aiden McGrory, is by Pacino (BWP), out of Carnone Dancing Queen (ISH), by NC Amiro (AES).

Speaking after the win, Allen said:

“I knew going in that I’d have to have a good round but I didn’t want to overdo with the Grand Prix on Saturday. I tried to be as quick as I could early on and that paid out and my horse jumped super today. He’s been a fantastic horse for me, he’s only 11 now but he’s been to the Olympics, he’s been to the World Equestrian Games, the last two seasons he’s been here and won a 5* Grand Prix. He’s a great horse to have.”

Three riders posed a significant challenge to Allen’s blistering jump off time, Germany’s Richard Vogel riding Codex 28 and America’s McLain Ward with HH Azur. However, Vogel had one fence down in the jump off in a time of 38.78 and Ward had two fences down in a time of 39.98.

The only other rider to record a jump-off time under 40 seconds was Co Down’s Conor Swail and Count Me In, who jumped clear in a time of 39.29 seconds to finish in second place. Owned by Sandy Lupton and Mannon Farm, this combination were part of the winning Aga Khan team at the RDS Dublin Horse Show last year.

Galway’s Andrew Bourns and the Irish Sport Horse Sea Topblue finished in fifth place. The 12-year-old gelding is owned by Andrew Bourns and OBS Equestrian LLC, and was bred in Co Clare by James and John Meade. He is by Chacco Blue (MECKL) and out of Sea Top Lady (ISH), by Lux Z (HANN). An unfortunate fence down in the jump off kept Darragh Kenny and Chic Chic from a top five finish. The combination finished in ninth place.

Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro complete their lap of honour after the prize giving at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, February 2023
Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro (ISH) – Winter Equestrian Festival, Florida, 2023

Via Horse Sport Ireland. 

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