Pacino Amiro: the grand prix showjumper that is ‘obsessed’ with bananas *H&H Plus*

  • Bertram Allen describes him as his “next best horse” and already this year he’s won a big-money grand prix and has the hallmark of a championship contender. Jennifer Donald finds out more

    Need to know

    Pacino Amiro

    Breeding: Irish Sport Horse by Pacino out of Carnone Dancing Queen (by NC Amiro)
    Rider: Bertram Allen
    Breeder: Simon Scott (Ireland)
    Owner: Aiden McGrory
    Greatest achievements: won CSI5* grand prix and WEF challenge cup, Florida (2021); qualified for the international seven-year-old final at Dublin (2019), jumped at the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses World Breeding Championships as a six-year-old (2018) and finished reserve champion four-year-old at Dublin when ridden by Kenneth Graham.

    Rider Bertram Allen

    “I’VE had Pacino Amiro since he was a seven-year-old but he’s a very big, sensitive horse and not the most flashy, so I wasn’t totally convinced at the start. But every time the jumps got more difficult, he did it easily – for such a big baby, he was always pretty up to speed. He was raw and there was a lot of work to do so last year, because of Covid, was good for him because I could spend a lot of time with him and he really grew up.

    “When you know his quirks, he’s lovely to work with – he’s just a big child of a horse and you have to take your time. If you walk up to him too quickly, he can sometimes get a fright, but he’s kind and gentle, very level-headed, with a lot of scope and always tries to jump clear. With some horses, you’re nervous of what the course-builder is going to produce but you know nothing is going to faze him – he’s a serious horse.

    “The plan was to jump him in the bigger classes at the Winter Equestrian Festival [WEF] this year, but you never know if a horse is capable until you go out and do it, so I’m delighted. He could well be a championship horse – whether it’s this year or not, time will tell. At the moment, I just feel very lucky so I’m making the most of it.”

    Groom Kate Duffy

    “THE first day ‘Buddy’ arrived, I put him out in the field and thought, ‘This horse needs to learn some manners,’ because he was just running away with me. But now I know him inside out and that’s just him – he needs to get to know you first. Once he has his ‘team’ behind him, he’ll happily do whatever you ask of him, he just wants to be your best friend. He’s a funny character – he likes what he likes and he’s very clear about telling you what he doesn’t like!

    “Bertram works him first, then he’s always excited to go out in the field – he loves to hang out with his friends and have a buck and a play around. But his main love is bananas, they’re his obsession! Once he’s had time in the paddock and some bananas, he’s a very happy horse.

    “He was a bit nervous at shows in the beginning – I think the move from Ireland was quite big for him! But now he’s competing all the time and he knows we’re all there for him, he’s number one man, for sure. Now, if anyone gives him attention, he’ll take it because he thinks everyone is there to watch him. He’s grown in confidence and it’s shown in his results.

    “I love watching him in the ring – he takes on everything he sees and seems to grow when he steps into that arena.”

    Owner Aiden McGrory

    “I’M friends with Pacino Amiro’s breeder Simon Scott, who competed his dam Carnone Dancing Queen, and I thought she was a really super mare. Obviously his sire, Pacino, needs no introduction, so I was immediately fond of this foal and I was eventually able to buy him when he was nearly a year old.

    “Even as a four-year-old, he had great athleticism and quality, and he was reserve champion at Dublin at that age. He’s been well placed all through the age classes and he’s always shown that potential for a bigger course. So as soon as I discovered that Bertram had an interest in riding him, I got on the phone as he’s a brilliant rider.

    “When Bertram mentioned taking him to America for WEF this year, I thought it was great but I didn’t expect such good results – he jumped exceptionally in his first five-star. I’d love to be there, but I believe he’ll be back next year.

    “I usually do a bit of dealing and it’s only in recent years I’ve started to keep some on – this is what every owner wants, it’s an amazing experience.”

    This feature is also available to read in this Thursday’s H&H magazine (8 April, 2021)

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