Bertram Allen and Molly Malone V. Ph. LGCT / Stefano Grasso
Irish star Bertram Allen and his brilliant 12-year-old grey mare Molly Malone V (Kannan x Cavalier) took the precedented Prix Massimo Dutti trophy this afternoon after a thirteen rider jump off had the Monaco crowd on the edge of their seats. The combination took top honours in the 1.50m/1.55m class, jumping double clear in an impressive 34.56 seconds as the sun started its descent over the Port Hercule harbour.
A top class field of 37 horses and riders took centre stage in the small sand arena, nestled between the Formula 1 pit lane and super yachts birthed nearby. Last event’s Grand Prix winners, Great Britain’s Scott Brash and Hello Forever (For Pleasure x Nimmerdor), were the first of thirteen riders to go clear, with the 14-year-old chestnut gelding leaping his way effortlessly through the course. Sweden’s Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and his grey stallion Clarimo ASK (Clearway x Caletto II) were one of the early pace setters, earning their place in the jump off after the demanding course took its toll on the top riders.
The United States’s Georgina Bloomberg put in another stunning round, this time with Caleno 3 (Calido Ass x Lancer II), to also qualify for the jump-off. She was joined by compatriot Audrey Coulter and Alex (Arpeggio x Mon Cheri), Switzerland’s Jane Richard Philips and Zekina Z (Zandor Z x Carthago Z), Italy’s Piergiorgio Bucci with Casallo Z (Casall x Carthago Z) and also hailng from Italy, Emanuele Gaudiano with the big striding Caspar 232 (Casper x Padarco).
First to go into the jump-off, Brash and Hello Forever caught an unlucky pole, with the new challenge a test for the best. Allen was the first to raise the bar, throwing down the gauntlet for the rest of the field as he galloped to the fences with Molly Malone V. A brilliant turn to the full height vertical at number three saved valuable seconds, and the pair stopped the clocks at 34.56 seconds. Germany’s David Will and Cento du Rouet (Chintan x Balou du Rouet) looked to be close to Allen’s heels, but he was just pipped to the post, finishing two tenths of a second behind in 34.74 seconds.
One of the final riders to go was Belgium’s Jerome Guery and Alicante (Casall x Indoctro), another dangerously fast combination who saw double success in the LGCT Chantilly speed classes earlier this month. Guery and Alicante gave it there all, and came excruciatingly close to Allen’s time, crossing the line in 34.64 seconds. The top three finished within a whisker of each other, with fourth place man Germany’s Pieter Devos and Apart (Larino x Burggraaf) almost two seconds behind them. Switzerland’s Christina Liebherr and L.B. Eagle Eye (Darco x Cento) took fifth position and Germany’s Katharina Offel with Umeunig (Untouchable Z x Chellano Z) rounded out the top six after a fascinating first day of competition in Monte Carlo.