Allen off to flyer in Doha as Reynolds eyes Rio place
Bertram Allen got off to a flying start with a win and a runner-up placing on the opening day of the 5-Star major at Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar yesterday.
Riding the 11-year-old French stallion, Quarto Mail, the 20-year-old Irishman galloped home quickest in the 1.45m Two-Phase to pin the host nation's Bassem Mohammed into runner-up spot.
Then Allen steered his top ride, the brilliant grey mare Molly Malone, into second in the following Table A 1.50m competition, squeezed out by Frenchman Kevin Staut.
There is big money up for grabs at the Qatari fixture but for some, including top Irish dressage rider Judy Reynolds, the last opportunity to claim an Olympic spot is the main focus.
The final qualifying date for Rio is Sunday, and the Kildare rider may need to pull something special out of the bag because over the last couple of weeks some other contenders for the last few individual places on offer have suddenly rolled out exceptionally high scores.
In particular, some of the scores produced in Moscow last weekend raised serious concerns amongst national federations, and this led to a review by the international governing body's (FEI) Dressage Committee which took place at a meeting in Jerez, Spain yesterday.
But following the meeting the FEI concluded that there had been no breach of the rules.
Reynolds' competition weekend begins tomorrow when she lines out with Vancouver K in the Grand Prix.