Gorey's Bertram Allen off to a flying start in World Cup show jumping final
Gorey's Bertram Allen got off to a winning start this morning at the World Cup final in Las Vegas.
19-year-old Allen won the opening speed class with Molly Malone V, an 11-year-old which is owned by his family, in the early hours of this morning.
The Wexford rider and the grey mare gave a super display when drawn 32nd of 41 of the world's best riders in the one-round speed class. With a round of poise and power, they turned and twisted in the tight Thomas & Mack Arena to effortlessly shave a second off the time of joint leaders Jur Vrieling from the Netherlands and France's Patrice Delaveau.
After the win Allen said: '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.'
Allen is Ireland's sole representative at the Longines FEI World Cup show jumping final in Las Vegas.
He now stands at number 10 in the FEI world rankings, with 71 points.
The teenager who is based in Germany is hopeful of making Sunday's final adding he wasn't going to let the pressure of the occasion overtake him saying 'I'm not going to get too wound up about anything. I'll stay relaxed. I'm going to take it a day at a time but the obvious goal is to make the final on Sunday. If things go well, we should do that.'
If Allen, who turns 20 in August, take the World Cup title, he will become the first Irish rider to do so.
The competition is decided over three days starting with this morning's speed class. Competition two at the same time tomorrow morning is one round against the clock, and one jump-off which is also against the clock. Results are then converted into points.
These are carried into the third and last competition on Sunday, which is two rounds of jumping over a grand prix course, featuring the top 30 horse-and-rider combinations. Only 20 go through to the second round. The leading rider after the first two competitions goes last, and starts on a zero score. The winner will be crowned about 9.30pm GMT.