Jason's joint first
Allen expected home for June 26
Published 16/06/2015 | 00:00
Jumping in The City, sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange Limited, moved to Cork's greyhound stadium on Friday for the second leg of the new summer showjumping series, and a dramatic puissance competition saw Wexford's Jason Higgins finish as joint winner.
Drama unfolded in the Devenish-sponsored event, with two riders tying for first place when the big red wall went up to 2.15m in height.
It had looked as though Higgins and Tipperary's Liam O'Meara had decided to divide the prize after the fourth round with the wall standing at 2.10m.
However, cheered on by up to 2,000 spectators, the pair decided to jump one more round and both cleared the massive wall at 2.15m to the delight of the watching audience.
O'Meara was riding Cisero, a horse who had won the puissance at Jumping In The City in Limerick a week previous, while Wexford's Jason Higgins was riding Hadine Van't Zorgvliet, a horse owned by his fellow Wexford native Bertram Allen.
Meanwhile, it is rumoured that Wexford super-star Allen is set to travel from his base in Germany to line out at the Jumping In The City final in Shelbourne Park on Friday, June 26.
The 19-year-old from Enniscorthy has moved up to fifth place in the showjumping world rankings following a string of incredible performances, including a third place finish in the World Cup final in Las Vegas.
Tickets for the Jumping In The City final at Shelbourne Park Dublin are available online from www.horsesportireland.ie or by phoning 1890 269 969, and tickets will also be available at the gate, costing €15 for adults. Children under 14 are free and a student and O.A.P. rate of €10 will apply.
Allen broke through into the top five of the world's best riders, according to the official Longines F.E.I. Jumping rankings for the month of May.
Allen originally cracked the top 20 late last year when a string of superlative performances brought him in at number 17.
Since then the 19-year-old's progress has been almost unstoppable, with victories and top five placings in the sport's premier competitions adding valuable points to his total, allowing him to overtake many of the world's most experienced riders and achieve the number five spot in the rankings for the first time.
Ireland now has nine riders placed in the world top 100, with Allen at number five, Denis Lynch at number 28, Darragh Kenny at number 37, Conor Swail at number 51, Shane Sweetnam in equal 71st, Cameron Hanley at equal 77th, Shane Breen in 88th, Kevin Babington at number 90, and Billy Twomey in 94th place.
Current leader in the rankings is Britain's Scott Brash, with Germany's Daniel Deusser in second place, the U.S.A's Kent Farrington in third, and Switzerland's Steve Guerdat in fourth place.
The rankings are published by the world governing body for the sport, the F.E.I. (Federation Equestre Internationale) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Over 2,000 international riders are monitored each month, and points are awarded for top performances at major shows.
The new 'Jumping In The City' series had started at Limerick Greyhound Stadium on Friday week, with Wexford-born Jason Higgins one of just six riders who booked a place in the puissance competition, where riders jumped the big red wall.
Twenty-four-year-old Higgins rode the Blackwater Farms-owned Hadine Van't Zorgvliet in the Devenish-sponsored puissance, a mare that was previously ridden by Bertram Allen.
Up to the previous weekend Hadine Van't Zorgvliet was an unknown prospect at jumping the big red wall, but Higgins finished in a three-way tie for first place in the puissance competition at Mullingar International Horse Show, clearing two metres.
'Jumping In The City' was launched by Minister Simon Coveney recently and sees top level showjumping horses compete in the in-field of greyhound stadia for the very first time, in a collaboration between Horse Sport Ireland, Showjumping Ireland and the Irish Greyhound Board.