A brand new speed course welcomed the 34 horse-and-rider pairs that dared to attempt the prestigious class at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles. And by evening’s end, Bertram Allen (IRL) landed a brilliant round riding Quiet Easy 4 (Quidams Rubin x Zapateado), an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, to beat all others, thus earning a place at the top of the podium.
Designed by internationally acclaimed course designer Luc Musette (BEL), the 1.45-meter course will now remain unchanged for the next two legs of the Longines Masters series in Paris and in Hong Kong. The concept is that because the exact same layout will meet riders at each stop, they’ll have the opportunity to improve their speed skills—and perhaps establish new records from one continent to the other. And unlike the traditional speed round format, in this variation, a knocked rail results in only a two-second penalty, instead of four.
“I thought it was a difficult course to be fast and clear,” said Scott Brash (GBR), the current world number one rider and the runner-up in the Longines Speed Challenge, after his first attempt at the new design.
Brash, aboard 11-year-old mare Hello Annie (Contendro I x For Pleasure), did manage to do both, although his time of 58.96 seconds was beat by Allen’s 58.91 seconds. Piergiorgio Bucci (ITA) and 9-year-old bay mare Cuarta (Canto x Coriano) were third with a time of 62.94 seconds.
Allen, 20-years-old, is riding with a newly healed collarbone after breaking it just over a month ago. After less than four weeks’ rest, he rode with the injury in Barcelona last week and now barely notices any soreness or pain. And with his performance tonight, it’s clear that his collarbone isn’t slowing him down.
“It was very, very fast class,” Allen said. “I nearly thought it wasn’t possible to beat Scott, but I gave it a go. There was a four second gap between first and second, so if I’d been smart I maybe should have tried to fit into that.
“Last week, in Barcelona in the grand prix, there was a ten second gap between first and second. I tried to win and I had a fence down, and I was really dissapointed with myself. I should have been smart and gone for second, but obviously I didn’t learn much. I went full hammer again tonight and thankfully it paid off. My horse has been great. He’s jumped some bigger classes, and you needed a good horse to win tonight.”
This is only the second time that Allen has visited America and the first time that he’s been in Los Angeles. “It’s great,” he said. “These shows are all quite similar and they’re really good shows. I’ve only been to the Paris one a few years ago. Los Angeles is nice. But there are two more days ahead of us so we won’t do anything too wild to celebrate tonight.”
Source: Press release from Longines Los Angeles Masters
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