Four faults in the jump-off dropped Ireland’s Bertram Allen to fifth place at the finish of the big Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Mexico City tonight.

In a change of format, the Global Champions League second round was also the Grand Prix Qualifier, and though Allen and Hector van d’Abdijhoeve dropped a rail in this competition, he was one of the top 25 who went through to the Grand Prix, where all qualifiers started on a zero score for just one round followed by a jump-off.

Allen and the ten year-old grey stallion made sure that the first round of the Grand Prix would attract no more penalties, and at the end were just one of six to make it clear and qualify for the jump-off.

Heading for a speedy round as first to jump, Hector clipped an oxer halfway through the course, and his rider took his foot off the pedal rather than risk another penalty, finishing on four faults in 39.07 seconds.

Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Equita van T Zorgvliet were second to go, and again left a pole on the ground, finishing slightly slower than the Wexford rider.

However, Italian star Lorenzo de Luca with Armitages Boy rode the slowest jump-off round but didn’t touch a rail, producing the first clear.

Bertram Allen and Hector van d’Abdijhoeve in Grand Prix action at Mexico City tonight

Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze stepped up the pace a bit and not only rode clear but recorded a fast time of 37.58 to claim the interim pole position.

Second last to go, Maikel van der Vleuten from the Netherlands with VDL Groep Arera C, also produced a zero jump-off score, but was marginally behind Bruynseels on time, and it was left to 24 year-old Swiss rider Martin Fuchs with the bay stallion Chaplin to shave fractions off the fastest time and take his first ever Global Champions’ Tour Grand Prix win.

Fuchs took home a well-deserved pay cheque for 105,000 euro, while fifth-placed Allen collected a not inconsiderable 19,200 euro.

Jack Burns

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