Fresh horses may be the exception rather than the rule after 12 weeks of jumping at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). But careful management of Pacino Amiro certainly paid off for Ireland’s Bertram Allen, who took to the Stadium Derby Field to claim victory in the FEI $140,000 CSI 5* Adequan WEF Series Round XII. They finished with a clear round in 42.88 seconds, ahead of Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca on T One USA who clocked a time of 44.24.
“I started him off out here on the grass the first week just to mix it up a bit because I knew the next three five-stars were on the sand,” said Bertram. “He’s been great all of the circuit. He had the last two weeks off and I’ve just been trying to have him feel fresh. He really felt fresh today and found it very easy, so that was a nice feeling.”
Bertram’s approach to the jump off was to keep calm and carry on. “The biggest thing in the jump off I think was that I didn’t lose my pace anywhere. Every time I turned, something nice came up,” he said. “I didn’t do anything crazy or wild, I just didn’t lose it anywhere.”
The course was suitably testing to cull the initial field of 54 entries to a jump-off featuring 11 horse rider combinations, and to qualify the 40 top contenders for Saturday’s WEF highlight the FEI $500,000 CSI5* Rolex grand prix.
“I must say that I found the course for the first round very good,” said Bertram. “Because sometimes for a class like this for a qualifier, if they don’t build it tough enough you get some lesser people in and then maybe a good horse and rider can be unlucky and miss out. Today there was nothing anywhere unfair or too big, but at least with every eight faulter getting in you had no excuses today.”
Pacino Amiro will fly home after WEF finishes on Sunday and rest for a month before campaigning at shows in Europe. For Bertram, the Festival has proved to be better than he had hoped. “I am feeling great,” he said. “We had a great circuit last year with competitions and sales and I kind of thought that wasn’t going to happen again. So to come here and do better this year – I definitely wasn’t expecting that.”
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