Irishman Bertram Allen partnered the nine-year-old Pacino Amiro – who he describes as his future top horse – to victory on Friday, January 22, in the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
“I thought it was a good, tough class, and it was quite a long track in the jump-off,” said Bertram, 25. “My guy is a little bit inexperienced; you could see that at the start of the jump-off but the more he went, the better he got.
“I could use his big stride in the big arena, so it worked well for me. He’s only nine so he’s only stepping up to this level but he’s a very genuine, kind horse that’s always trying do the right thing.”
From a field of 78 entries, 12 elected to return for the jump-off over tracks set by course-designer Oscar Soberon (MEX) where Bertram and the Aiden McGregory-owned Irish Sport Horse (Pacino x Carnone Dancing Queen) opted to take eight strides instead of nine to the final oxer to cross the finish line in 39.72sec.
U.S. rider Paris Sellon produced a fault-free second round aboard the 12-year-old Oldenburg mare Anna Jo (Acodetto 2 x For Pleasure) for Willow Grace Farm, stopping the clock in 40.77sec. Taking the third-place finish was Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) on his own mare Chacna (Chacco-Blue x Narew XX), double clear in 42.40sec.
Bertram said he “loved” jumping on the grass Derby Field.
“The ground and everything is really, really good and the horses love it,” he said. “It’s beautiful. In two weeks, we’re back out here, so I’m going to skip next week just to make sure I can jump as much as I can on the grass. I think it’s brilliant.
“Obviously there’s not much happening in Europe, so we said we’d come over here again,” added Bertram. “We were here last year, and we’re just going to take it week by week. Pacino Amiro is probably going to be my best horse, so I’ll just try to develop him up to the CSI5* shows hopefully.”
Gibbs impresses the judges
A field of 26 riders competed for top honors in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* where Dominic Gibbs and Mountain King Ranch LLC’s Cent 15 impressed the judges to take home the blue ribbon.
Riders completed the over fences portion of the class before the top 12 were called forward for a flat phase, and although the Colorado Springs, CO, rider described his mount as “spicy” in the first round, he produced a pleasing performance to win.
The pair are into their third Winter Equestrian Festival season together under the tutelage of Beacon Hill Show Stables and Dominic is a big name in the equitation classes with 13-year-old Cent 15.
“My mom and I brought him over from Europe, originally thinking he would be my high junior jumper, but he told us that he likes the equitation,” he said of the Hanoverian gelding, with whom his main aim is to place well in the WEF Equitation Challenge during Week 11.
“He has been a wonderful mount for me and has taken me from being an average 3’3” rider to a very seasoned 3’6” rider. He’s been a great help for me in my equitation career and a wonderful partner to have.”