NINETEEN year-old Bertram Allen tonight (Sunday) at 8pm Irish time will complete his bid to become the first Irish rider to win the show jumping World Cup in its 36 year history.
The Wexford teenager goes into the last two rounds at the Thomas and Mack Centre in Las Vegas carrying just one penalty point, and currently holds third place overall.
Winner of the opening speed class on Thursday, Allen and his 11 year-old grey mare Molly Malone had one fence down in the second leg on Friday, but are now in a strong position to challenge the joint leaders – Swiss Olympic champion Steve Guerdat and the USA’s Rich Fellers, who both start tonight on zero scores. Fellers maintains the strong Irish presence at the top of the leaderboard, as he is riding the 19 year-old Irish Sport Horse Flexible, which was bred in Co. Kildare by Edward and Catherine Doyle.
Allen will be third last to jump of the top 30 riders in the ultimate test of horsemanship over what will be a huge course of jumps squeezed into the compact Nevada arena. After the first round, the top 20 riders will then come back to compete for the World Cup trophy.
Ireland has never won the World Cup, with Jessica Kurten coming second in Kuala Lumpur in 2006 on board Castle Forbes Libertina, and Trevor Coyle also taking the runner-up spot in the final at Gothenburg in Sweden in 1999 with the legendary Irish Sport Horse Cruising. Eddie Macken achieved third place at the inaugural World Cup Final in 1979 with Carrolls of Dundalk, also in Gothenburg.