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Wednesday 25 April 2018

Bertram Allen on course for Las Vegas jackpot

High Roller: Bertram Allen has qualified for the Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas
High Roller: Bertram Allen has qualified for the Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas

Siobhán English

In recent weeks Irish show jumping has suffered a serious of setbacks with the retirement of Jessica Kurten and the loss of Cameron Hanley's top horses to a Swiss-based rider.

However, the impressive performances of young Irish rider Bertram Allen of late has given the sport some positive news as the 19-year-old has now qualified to represent Ireland at the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Las Vegas in April.

Ironically, Allen secured the slot during the recent qualifier in Zurich, where Kurten hung up her boots after an illustrious career.

The Northern native announced last month that she would be taking a break from riding to concentrate on training.

Kurten made her final appearance in the same World Cup qualifier, after which she was presented with a memento from the organising committee.

Allen was among a group of seven riders to make the cut for the jump-off - he came within one-tenth of a second of winning, only to be beaten on the line by Spain's Sergio Alvarez Moya. "Molly's such a fantastic mare - I'll give her another break, and then we'll start getting ready for Las Vegas," said Allen afterwards.

"It's great to have picked up the points for the final and I'm looking forward to it now."

Allen's runner-up finish pushed him into third place in the Western European League standings on 51 points, one of the highest ever achieved by an Irish rider in the quest for a place at the final.

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Only the top 18 from this league qualify.

Currently sharing the leaderboard on 57 points is Swiss rider Steve Guerdat and Frenchman Kevin Staut.

There are just two qualifiers remaining on the Western European League.

Bordeaux in France hosts the 11th qualifier next weekend (February 6-8), with Gothenburg the venue for the twelfth and final leg from February 26 to March 1.

Disappointment

Meanwhile, Cameron Hanley has spoken of his disappointment of losing the ride on his top horses after owners EuroAsia decided to move them to Switzerland to be ridden by Swiss rider Pius Schwizer.

However, he is adamant to pick up the pieces and move on having recently acquired a new yard.

"The support I have received from my friends is truly humbling, but no one should feel sorry for me," he said.

"I am very lucky to have had these horses in my life at all and even more lucky that I had the chance to ride them. Now it's time for new challenges."

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