Setting a new high in Irish sporting achievement, 19-year-old Bertram Allen from Wexford yesterday entered the top ten of the world’s best show jumping riders.
In the official Longines World Rider Rankings, which measure the monthly performances of over 2,000 riders internationally, Allen achieved tenth position for the first time, putting him amongst the global elite of the sport.
With two recent World Cup Qualifying competition wins under his belt, Allen has 2355 points in the Longines rankings today, with Germany’s Daniel Deusser in the lead with 2825 points.
The teenager won his first ever World Cup competition at Verona late last year aboard Ballywalter Farms’s mare Molly Malone V, and then followed that up in February with another win at Verona in Italy on Billy Twomey’s stallion Romanov, a horse which also gave him victory in the German Grand Prix at Dortmund in March.
Allen is also the only Irish rider to qualify for the FEI World Cup final at Las Vegas in April, and is now one of the favourites to take the trophy.
If he does, he will be the youngest rider in 30 years to achieve this honour, and the first show jumper from Ireland to claim first place.
The nearest Ireland has come to taking the World Cup crown were runner-up places from Trevor Coyle and the legendary Cruising in 1999 and Jessica Kurten with Castle Forbes Libertina in 2006. Eddie Macken and Carrolls of Dundalk also placed third in the World Cup Final in 1979.
“You have to be dedicated, relaxed and quiet. Horses have to live and work in a simple, natural way. You have to do what is necessary to be where you want to be. You have to improve yourself by learning from the best, and then the opportunities will come,” he said.