19 year old Irish rider Bertram Allen impressed again when he went to the top in the first leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas. Allen and the lovely grey mare Molly Malone V (Kannan x Cavalier) were not to be beat in this opening 1.50 table C competition, and the only one who came close was 2012 World Cup Champion Rich Fellers – who at 55 years old is a veteran in comparison to Allen – on Flexible (Cruising x Safari).
The fact that it is his first World Cup final, did not have any impact on Allen though – who seemingly does not feel any kind of pressure when in the ring. As always, Bertram put on a brilliant performance with his light and beautiful riding and as 32nd to jump of 41 of the world’s best riders and horses he effortlessly shaved a second off the time of joint leaders Jur Vrieling and Patrice Delaveau.
None of the following nine riders looked fast enough to catch the Irish rider, until Fellers and the 19 year old Flexible – a horse that is doing his 6th World Cup Final – crossed the finish line half a second behind Allen. The far more experienced Fellers had to settle for second place this time around, with Vrieling and Delaveau ending joint third riding VDL Zirocco Blue N.O.P. (Mr. Blue x Voltaire) and Orient Express HDC (Quick Star SF x Le Tot de Semilly) respectively.
Reflecting on his victory, Allen said afterwards, "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”. Asked to describe Molly Malone V, Allen said: “Molly is quite a strong character and she has her own special ways. She had me worried earlier today because she half ran away with me when I was riding her! But this evening she knew what she had to do and just went in and did it, she always gives her best”.
Fellers insisted he wasn’t surprised to finish so high up the order tonight. “Flexible feels as good as ever and the crowd took four or five years off his age!” But this is a horse who has been written off many times due to injury and illness, and his rider got a bit of a fright earlier in the week. "For the first time in his life he had a little colic issue the other day, it was a bit of a scare, but thanks to my sharp groom it worked out alright. She grabbed the team vet and he did a great job and he (Flexible) seems fine now".
Source: Press releases from Horse Sport Ireland & FEI
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