8 February- Irish Jumping sensation, Bertram Allen, made it a double of wins when scorching to victory in the thrilling penultimate leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series at Bordeaux, France tonight.

And his result was all the more phenomenal for the fact that the 19-year-old rider was partnering Billy Twomey’s stallion Romanov who, at 17, was the oldest horse in the class and just two years younger than the man in the saddle.

There was plenty of tension in the air, as many riders were desperately bidding for those elusive extra qualifying points that will get them to the Longines Final in Las Vegas, USA in two months’ time. But Allen was already well-assured of his ticket following a spectacular indoor season, and tonight the young man who recently moved up to 14th in the Longines world rankings stands top of the Western European League leaderboard.

Underpinning his extraordinary achievement, he left German superstars Ludger Beerbaum (Chaman) and Marcus Ehning (Singular Ls La Silla) in his wake, while Timothee Anciaume (Olympique Libellule) slotted into fourth for France.

Asked afterwards if he was surprised to have beaten such a world-class field, Allen replied, “no, not really. I’ve always known that Romanov is a great horse, and he was just brilliant tonight!”

Up to the task

Course designer, Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, gave them a generous 78 seconds to complete the first course of fences, and 11 of the 40 starters proved up to the task.  The triple combination at fence 10 took the biggest toll, but there were also plenty of mistakes at the vertical at eight and the oxer at fence nine which each had a water-tray below them.

The clever jump-off track took horses on a figure-of-eight before looping back to the last element of the former triple combination which was followed by the 1.60m vertical at fence 11 and a long gallop to the final oxer. It seemed Germany’s Beerbaum had it in the bag when the 51-year-old ace, who enjoyed very little luck in earlier legs this season, produced the smoothest of runs from the 16-year-old Chaman to set a strong target in 37.72 seconds when fourth to go.

That left him almost five seconds ahead of the only other clear round produced by the host nation’s Timothee Anciaume and Olympique Libellule after Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander kicked out the last with Lintea Tequila and Italy’s Luca Moneta and Connery lowered the third.

Despite a breath-taking turn inside fence 11, Marcus Ehning and Singular la Silla still couldn’t better Beerbaum’s target time when clear in 38.44. And when Zurich winners Sergio Alvarez Moya and Carlo from Spain left two on the floor, and Ireland’s Denis Lynch (All Star), and Kevin Staut (Reveur de Hurtebise) and Penelope Leprevost (Flora de Mariposa) from France all collected single errors, Beerbaum was still out in front.

Formidable reputation

However although still so very young, Allen has already earned a formidable reputation for skilled riding against the clock. With his top horse, the grey mare Molly Malone with which he  clinched victory at the Longines leg in Verona, Italy last November, he is always to be feared. But he had no doubt that Romanov could do the job equally well this evening. Setting off at a relentless pace, he was well in touch as he cleared the penultimate vertical and the crowd held their collective breath as he urged his veteran campaigner to a big stand-off at the final oxer, stopping the clock in 36.48 seconds to go well out in front. And when the final partnership of The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Group Verdi made a mistake, it was the Irishman’s moment.

“I knew I was in with a chance, and I just kind of set sail down the last! He’s a brave horse with a lot of experience” Allen said afterwards. He said Romanov “had a win in Zurich (two weeks ago), but it wasn’t a big class. He had a break after Birmingham (GBR) where he won the Showjumper of the Year last October, and we’ve been building him up especially for today”.

Quick to praise

Runner-up, Ludger Beerbaum, was quick to praise the winner. “To be honest, the competition in the jump-off wasn’t really close – he (Allen) was more than a second faster, fantastic work from him. He is very fast and so is the horse. I don’t think I could have beaten him today for speed”. And he added, “looking at Bertram today, I remember how old I am! The first time I competed in Bordeaux was in 1987, Bertram wasn’t even born then! I was 23 years old at the time and won the Grand Prix. Since then, I haven’t won the World Cup here, so I guess I need to come back again next year then!”

Third-placed Marcus Ehning wasn’t at all disappointed, as his horse is only a nine-year-old and full of promise. “He competed in his first Grand Prix and World Cup in London and he jumped clear over there, and now he’s done it again here - twice! I’m really happy, despite not being the fastest” he said.

Course designer, Uliano Vezzani, had the final word when putting tonight’s result into context. “I’m very happy”, he said, “because Bertram is the future....”

Result: 1, Romanov (Bertram Allen) IRL 0/0 36.48; 2, Chaman (Ludger Beerbaum) GER 0/0 37.72; 3, Singular Ls La Silla (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/0 38.44; 4, Olympique Libellule (Timothee Anciaume) FRA 0/0 42.43; 5, Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/4 37.56; 6, Flora de Mariposa (Penelope Leprevost) FRA 0/4 37.64; 7, Lintea Tequila (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/4 38.45; 8, All Star 5 (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/4 39.95; 9, VDL Groep Verdi TN NOP (Maikel van der Vleuten) NED 0/4 41.95; 10, Connery (Luca Moneta) ITA 0/4 42.62; 11, Carlo 273 (Sergio Alvarez Moya) ESP 0/8 40.28.

Full result here 

Facts and Figures:

Bordeaux, France presented the eleventh and penultimate leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series tonight.

The winner was 19-year-old Bertram Allen from Ireland partnering Billy Twomey's stallion Romanov who, at 17, is just two years younger than Allen and the oldest horse in tonight's competition.

Allen is the only rider to win two legs of the current series. He previously came out on top with his mare, Molly Malone, at Verona, Italy last November.

Allen, who earlier this week moved up one place to No. 14 in the Longines world rankings, now heads the Western European League table with a big total of 71 points.

11 of the 40 starters qualified for the second-round jump-off against the clock.

The top four riders all jumped double-clear rounds.

Course designer was Italy's Uliano Vezzani.

France was represented by three riders in the jump-off, including Kevin Staut who has competed at all 11 of the Western European League qualifiers to date and who, tonight, finished fifth with Reveur de Hurtebise HDC. Staut now lies second on the Western European League table with 63 points.

Gothenburg, Sweden presents the 12th and last leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League series on Sunday 1 March 2015.


Bertram Allen: “There is a super atmosphere here in Bordeaux, it’s one of the best shows on the circuit. I’m delighted. When you are one of the last ones to go at the jump-off and manage to get away with it, it’s a great feeling!”

Timothee Anciaume: “The aim today was simply to keep up the good run of form my horse (Olympique Libellule) has been in. He isn’t well known, I am aware of that. Nevertheless, he has come to Bordeaux in solid form and, given his lack of experience, today was all about trying to get to the jump-off and jump clear; time was not really the priority or focus. The horse has progressed very well and jumped 10 cms higher than the courses he is used to. I am obviously not aiming to compete in Las Vegas considering this was my first World Cup. I’m around the 100th place, if I can get to the top 50 in the coming months then that would be great”.

Marcus Ehning: “Singular LS is owned by Maria Gretzer. I’ve had him now for two years. He’s very much an up-and-coming horse and has improved a lot over the last two years. I’m very proud of him”.

Eric Dulong (President of the Event): “It’s my first year as President and it has been a wonderful, unique experience. It’s also been a great success in terms of visitors, quality of the event and riders – especially today, when you see how young the winner is! This has been another great step for us as a show and we want to keep going further. Thank you to all the riders for having come to Bordeaux and contributing to this success”.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League - Standings after Round 11 at Bordeaux (FRA):

1.    Bertram Allen IRL                -    71

2.    Kevin Staut FRA                -    63

3.    Steve Guerdat SUI                -    57

4.    Harrie Smolders NED             -    56

5.    Edwina Tops-Alexander AUS        -    54

6.    Marcus Ehning GER            -    53

7.    Daniel Deusser GER            -    50

8.    Maikel van der Vleuten NED        -    45

9.    Marco Kutscher GER            -    44

10.    Hans-Dieter Dreher GER            -    44

11.    Lucy Davis USA                -    42

12.    Simon Delestre FRA            -    41

13.    Douglas Lindelow SWE            -    41

14.    Martin Fuchs SUI                -    40

15.    Geir Gulliksen NOR                -    38

16.    Penelope Leprevost FRA            -    38

17.    Sergio Alvarez Moya ESP        -    37

18.    Luca Maria Moneta ITA            -    36

19.    Jur Vrieling NED                -    33

20.    Jos Verlooy BEL                -    33

21.    Reed Kessler USA                -    32

22.    Roger Yves Bost FRA            -    30

23.    Patrice Delaveau FRA            -    30

Full standings here


image: FEI/Pierre Costabadie;Ireland’s Bertram Allen clinched his second victory in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League at Bordeaux, France tonight riding Romanov.