Allen and Molly Malone V at the 2014 World Equestrian GamesCredit : Scoopdyga
Thursday 06 December - 15h17 | Interview by Morgan Froment in Stockholm
After a remarkable arrival at the top level of show jumping in 2014, Bertram Allen has been somewhat less conspicuous in recent times, nevertheless finishing second at the Longines Global Champions Tour in Paris and CSIO5* Grand Prix of Rome in the past few months. On the sidelines at September’s Tryon World Equestrian Games due to a lack of fit horses, the Irish prodigy hopes to push forward in the year ahead. Interviewed at the CSI4* in Stockholm last week, the 23-year-old explained his battle plan going forward, including a focus on the European Championships in Rotterdam next summer.
Allen riding Quiet Easy 4 in the Paris Longines Masters Speed Challenge in 2015Credit : Scoopdyga
GRANDPRIX-Replay.com: As 2018 draws to an end, what is your assessment of the year? Bertram Allen: This season has been pretty good, and my string of horses has been getting stronger since the start of the year. I'm optimistic for the future as I'm developing good horses. They will not be ready right away, but have real potential to get to the highest level. So in general, this year has been very good, and I'm satisfied with the progress of my horses, with whom I hope to have some big successes soon. GPR: Like Scott Brash, you were racking up incredible results at one point, before being a bit more discreet in recent times...B.A.: [Yes] I've been taking the time to work with new horses and focus on upcoming competitions. GPR: You recently welcomed H&M Harley vd Bisschop into your stables; how did he get to be there? B.A.: I was a little short of horses for the World Equestrian Games this year. For the European Championships and Olympics in 2020, we wanted my team and myself to have the best possible string of horses and add one or two more mounts. So we made some investments, and hope to be ready for upcoming competitions with Harley. GPR: You’ve already started riding with him – what are your thoughts on how that has gone? B.A.: The idea is that he will be my leading horse in the future. Previously, he'd been ridden by Nicola Philippaerts, who did a great job with him for over four years. My first impressions are very good; the feeling is there and he is an incredible horse who I hope will do great things. GPR: Molly Malone V is now 14 years old; what do you think of how she has evolved, and what will be the plans for her in the future? B.A.: I made the decision to keep riding her in major competitions only. I had very good performances with her this year, including my fifth place in the Grand Prix in Dublin, which we almost won. I think she’s in very good physical and mental shape. Her next competition will be the Longines Global Champions Tour in Prague.
Here with Irish team manager Rodrigo Pessoa, Allen hopes to be at the European Championships in 2019Credit : Scoopdyga
GPR: After finishing seventh at the Tryon World Equestrian Games, Ireland is not yet qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. How did you feel about Ireland's performance at the WEG? B.A.: Yes, it's really too bad that Ireland didn't qualify there... However, that’s sport and we won’t stop there – we’ll try to concentrate on preparing as well as possible for next year. It could be worse, but we still need to improve and do our best. GPR.: Rodrigo Pessoa has been leading the Irish team since March, 2017. What is your relationship with him like? B.A.: We have a very good relationship. He's a simple man whom it is easy to work with. If he calls on us, we know very quickly what we need to do and it is a [very effective process]. His talents as a manager and chef d’equipe are very beneficial for Irish show jumping. GPR: He immediately breathed new life into the national team with the Team gold medal at the 2017 Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg. Is that dynamic still there in squad? B.A.: Yes, I think the year has been pretty good if we put aside what happened at the World Equestrian Games. A lot of other things have happened too, such as injuries to the horses of Darragh Kenny and Denis Lynch [Babalou 41 and All Star 5]. Anyway, I hope that the Irish team members' horses will be available for big competitions coming up. The team needs to get stronger and obviously we’re working toward that. GPR.: What are your next big objectives? B.A.: The next major events for me will be the CHI Geneva, then the Longines Global Champions Tour of Prague. I also plan to compete in other indoor competitions, then obviously take part in the Global Champions Tour next year.
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