Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 26
A year ago, Irish rider Bertram Allen wasn’t sure what to expect when he jumped Pacino Amiro in the $401,000 CSI5* Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
The gelding was just turning 9 and competing in his second five-star grand prix, but he stepped up and won.
Tonight, almost a year to the day of that win, Allen and “Buddy” returned to the International Ring at WEF to win again in the $406,000 CSI5* Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix, topping a field of five in a jump-off over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course.
Allen, who’s been coming to WEF for the past three seasons, earned a big win last week, and appreciates any opportunity for a win.
“It’s great to win any class here, but especially a grand prix, and to win a five-star is even more special,” he said. “Last year it was great jumping here, but it was even better this year, with a full house, because you could really feel the atmosphere. Tonight was a tough grand prix and only saw a few clears, so it was a great result.”
Allen took Aiden McGrory’s 10-year-old Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse (Pacino—Carnone Dancing Queen, NC Amiro) to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games where they finished 15th individually.
“I got him in the middle of his 7-year-old year, and his results were always good, but I maybe at that time didn’t see them being this good,” he admitted. “He’s a little bit quirky because he’s a big horse and has his own way of going, but he is a fantastic, genuine horse with lots of talent and brave as a lion. You’re not worried about what the course builder is building because you know he can jump everything, so I’m very confident in him, and it’s a nice feeling to have.”
D’Ambrosio’s course caused seven pairs to retire and two falls—Rodrigo Pessoa (Lord Lucio) and Mario Deslauriers (Bardolina)—but both riders were up on their feet and walked out of the ring. Deslauriers’ mount took a few laps around the ring before being caught.
“I think it was a proper five-star grand prix course; there wasn’t one bogey fence, and all three combinations were tough,” said Allen, 26. “The whole way around the course you had no real let up, so it was a well-built course. It was a little hard to know how fast to go with only five in the jump-off. It was a question of getting the line right between going mad and too fast and having a rail, so I tried to have as good of a round as I could without going mad. He’s got a great length of stride, and any time there was an option I was able to take one less, and I suppose that’s what helped me today.”