Allen spearheads Ireland challenge
There will be a lot of weight on young shoulders today when 20-year-old Bertram Allen leads Ireland into battle in the Aga Khan Cup at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show in the RDS.
Ireland got the worst of the draw yesterday and will be first to go of the eight nations, but in an effort to make up for that, Chef d'Equipe Robert Splaine has placed his faith in the German-based Wexford rider, who has risen to No 5 in the world rankings.
Splaine is determined that time faults won't be an issue for his team.
"The other three horses are not as naturally quick as Bertram's Romanov, who has been phenomenally successful at the highest level against the clock. There's a possibility of a very tight time-allowed, and Bertram will let us know how fast we need to be," Splaine explained.
It will be an Aga Khan debut for Thurles man Greg Broderick and the exciting MHS Going Global, while Cian O'Connor will be lining out in his 100th team competition.
The Meath rider, who made his Nations Cup debut in 1992, will partner the big-jumping stallion Good Luck, while fourth to go will be US-based Darragh Kenny with Sans Soucis Z.
There is a lot of pressure on as this competition is the final leg of the Furusiyya FEI Division 1 series and Ireland need a strong placing to avoid relegation.
The USA will be bidding for their eighth Aga Khan title while Ireland will be hoping to bag it for the 23rd time in the 89-year history of the event.
Irish riders were on fire again yesterday, Dermott Lennon recording his second win of the show when, riding Vampire, he pipped Billy Twomey and Ardcolum Duke in the Speed Derby.
Allen and O'Connor lined up behind Italy's Emanuele Gaudiano in the Speed Stakes, and then Kevin Babington rounded up the day with a great win in the Anglesea Stakes with Skara Glen's Machu Picchu.