Brilliant Bertram Allen and Irish Sport Horse Pacino Amiro win five-star Florida Grand Prix for second year in-a-row

  • 27 February 2022, 05:38

Irish Olympian Bertram Allen made history at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida in the early hours of this morning (Sunday), as the Wexford native scored back-to-back Grand Prix victories on the same two weeks he had also won in 2021. A two-time winner of WEF three-star Grand Prix in 2021 and 2022, Allen again rose to the top this morning in the five-star $406,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix with Pacino Amiro (ISH), the same mount he rode to victory in 2021.

Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro (ISH) have won the WEF five-star Grand Prix for the second year running (Photo: Sportfot)

It was an excellent day for the Irish with Limerick’s Paul O’Shea guiding Chancelloress to a runner-up finish to make it an Irish one-two.

Just five of the 40 starters jumped clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off. First to return for the jump-off was Olympian Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Ladriano Z and they finished with four faults in a time of 45.59 seconds to take fourth place overall.

Allen was next in, and he opened up Pacino Amiro’s giant stride to gallop across the course clear in what would prove a winning time of 44.14.

“It was a little hard to know how fast to go with only five in the jump-off,” admitted Allen. “It was a question of getting the line right between going mad and too fast and having a rail, so I tried to have as good of a round as I could without going mad. He’s got a great length of stride, and any time there was an option, I was able to take one less, and I suppose that’s what helped me today.”

Another Olympic rider, Nicola Philippaerts of Belgium, came close to the winning time of 45.68 seconds, but a rail at the final oxer relegated him to fifth place with Katanga V/H Dingeshof.

As the lone American in the jump-off field, Bliss Heers jumped to a podium finish after she and Antidote de Mars were clear in 45.17 seconds to take third spot.

Ireland’s Paul O’Shea and Chancelloress jump to second place. © Sportfot

Last to go in the jump-off was Paul O’Shea (IRL) riding Trelawny Farm LLC’s Chancelloress. O’Shea made a bid in the long run to the final oxer as the crowd roared, but they crossed the timers just off the pace in 44.49 seconds for second place.

Of the Grand Prix course, O’Shea commented, “When I walked the course, I thought it was tough, but the standard is so high here because there are so many top riders and horses. They did a great job; everything I walked made me think it was difficult, and it had a lot of options, so you had to make a plan. It was an advantage for me to go later because I could see a lot go and make a good plan.”

O’Shea started riding Chancelloress, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare by Chacco-Blue x Balou Du Rouet, almost three years ago and was able to keep the ride on her thanks to Cara Raether and Niall Carey, who purchased her in 2021.

“She’s very sensitive and very nervous of other horses,” said O’Shea. “She’s afraid of everything, but when she goes in the ring, she’s like a lion. She’s very unusual in that she’s very timid outside the ring, even in the stable, but when she goes in the ring, she’s very brave and tough which is a great quality.”

Acknowledging the rarity of winning a Grand Prix at WEF, much less a five-star event, Allen said, “I’ve been coming to WEF for the past three years. It’s great to win any class here, but especially a Grand Prix, and to win a five star is even more special. Last year it was great jumping here, but it was even better this year with a full house because you could really feel the atmosphere. Tonight was a tough Grand Prix, and we only saw a few clears so it was a great result.”

In this Grand Prix in 2021, Pacino Amiro was nine years old and competing in only his second five-star. He went on to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games for Ireland, and Allen felt that the experience at WEF was “brilliant for him.”

The now-10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Pacino x NC Amiro owned by Aiden McGrory “really felt at his best tonight,” said Allen. He has been riding Pacino Amiro for three years, and the horse has exceeded his expectations.

“He’s a little bit quirky because he’s a big horse and has his own way of going, but he is a fantastic, genuine horse with lots of talent and brave as a lion,” described Allen. “You’re not worried about what the course builder is building because you know he can jump everything, so I’m very confident in him, and it’s a nice feeling to have.”

Recognizing the commitment of major sponsors at WEF like Lugano Diamonds, Allen noted, “Sponsors are everything; without them we wouldn’t have shows like this, and I think all of us riders are very appreciative of that.”

Craig Dickmann, Regional Director of Sales, East, Lugano Diamonds; Paul O’Shea; Bertram Allen; Bliss Heers; and Melissa Brandes, Director of Equestrian, Lugano Diamonds. © Sportfot

Final Results: $406,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI5*

1. PACINO AMIRO: 2012 ISH gelding by Pacino x NC Amiro
BERTRAM ALLEN (IRL), Aiden McGrory: 0/0/44.14

2. CHANCELLORESS: 2009 Hanoverian mare by Chacco-Blue x Balou Du Rouet
PAUL O’SHEA (IRL), Trelawny Farm LLC: 0/0/44.49

3. ANTIDOTE DE MARS: 2010 Selle Francais stallion by Diamant De Semilly x Jarnac
BLISS HEERS (USA), Bridgeside Farm LLC: 0/0/45.17

4. LADRIANO Z: 2008 Zangersheide gelding by Lawito x Baloubet Du Rouet
DANIEL BLUMAN (ISR), Over The Top Stables LLC: 0/4/45.59

5. KATANGA V/H DINGESHOF: 2010 BWP mare by Cardento 933 x Tornedo FCS
NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), Nicola Philippaerts: 0/4/45.68

6. WINNING GOOD: 2009 NRPS gelding by Winningmood x Sir Corland
EMILY MOFFITT (GBR), Poden Farms: 2/79.82

Pacino Amiro (ISH) – 2012 gelding by Pacino (BWP) out of Carnone Dancing Queen (ISH) by NC Amiro (AES). Breeder: Simon Scott, Co. Donegal. Owner: Aiden McGrory. Rider: Bertram Allen (IRL).

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