Leading Irish showjumper Bertram Allen can expect some stiff competition from close to home in the next few years, with his younger brother Harry bursting onto the international scene over the weekend.
Wexford’s Harry Allen led an Irish quinella in the jumping at the European Pony Championships at Kaposvár in Hungary on Sunday, with Athlone’s Kate Derwin winning silver. It adds to an impressive weekend for the pair, who were part of Ireland’s gold medal-winning team on Saturday.
On Sunday, Harry, 16, finished five rounds of jumping on the 15-year-old mare Cassandra van het Roelhof with just a single time fault. The pupil at Newtown School in Waterford entered the final round tied with Britain’s Eleanor Hall-McAteer with Tixylix on a zero score. Allen jumped first and finished with just a time fault which guaranteed him a medal but he had to wait until the final rider jumped to see what colour it would be. Last to go, McAteer finished with eight faults which meant Harry Allen was crowned the new European Pony Show Jumping Champion.
The result comes seven years after Harry’s brother Bertram also won individual European Pony Gold, at Bishop Burton in the UK riding Acapella.
Bertram also had a major win at the weekend, with his Valkenswaard United team taking the trophy in Saturday’s 11th round of the Global Champions League at Berlin in Germany, riding the nine-year-old gelding Izzy By Picobello.
An outstanding clear final round from Kate Derwin and the Clive Swindell-owned Connemara Cul Ban Mistress secured the individual silver medal. Derwin, a student at Our Lady’s Bower in Athlone, finished with just four faults over the five rounds of jumping. The 15-year-old completed a remarkable day by singing the Irish National Anthem on the podium as she and Harry Allen collected their medals. Sweden’s Cora Hirn took the Bronze medal with Miskaun Harvey.
Seamus Hughes-Kennedy, a pupil at St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny, also produced a superb performance with Cuffesgrange Cavalidam (ISH) and finished seventh in the final standings. Other Irish results were Mayo’s Ciaran Nallon with Rextor d’Or (15th), and Cork’s Abbie Sweetnam and Dynamite Spartacus (ISH) (21st).
The GAIN Irish Pony Show Jumping team of Harry Allen, Kate Derwin, Abbie Sweetnam and Ciaran Nallon, led by team manager Gary Marshall, had earlier collected the European Pony Jumping Team Gold Medal on Friday.
The Eventing team of Zara Nelson, Hannah Adams, Isabelle Comerford and Jennifer Kuehnle, managed by Becky Cullen, also won the Team Bronze Medal at the same venue on Saturday.
Irish Pony Show Jumping Team Manager Gary Marshall said it was a historic result.
“These kids rode out of their skin. I have never seen such a focused bunch of riders. I told them before today’s final that they have their team medals in the bag, they are the European Champions and to go into the ring and ride like champions. That’s exactly what they did. The course builder here did a brilliant job, the surface was perfect and the organizers of these Championships deserve a huge amount of credit.”