Seventh to jump in today’s Grand Prix Qualifier at Sweden’s five-star Falsterbo Horse Show, Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Izzy by Picobello took a commanding lead, and were soon followed by two other riders who ensured there was no further challenge to Irish dominance of the class, placing second and third.

Allen’s time of 72.84 seconds on the nine year-old gelding proved far too good for any of the other riders in the 48-strong class, and the best challenges came from Tipperary’s Thomas Ryan with the 13 year-old stallion Quite Zero, who finished almost two seconds adrift of his fellow-countryman in second place, and Cork’s Shane Sweetnam on the nine year-old Main Road, who slotted into third just fractions of a second behind Ryan.

The strong Irish performance, which follows Allen’s second-place finish in this morning’s speed class with Christy Jr., will raise confidence amongst Rodrigo Pessoa’s Irish Nations Cup squad who compete for vital points on Friday afternoon in Sweden.

Pessoa has now named his four-man team for Friday’s competition. The Irish will line out as follows:

Shane Sweetnam with Chaqui Z
Cian O’Connor with Callisto
Mark McAuley with Miebello
Denis Lynch
with All Star 5

Eight teams in total will compete.

Following Falsterbo, there will be two rounds of the 2017 FEI Nations Cup series remaining where Ireland may score points – at Hickstead in the UK on July 28th, and Ireland’s home Nations Cup at the RDS in Dublin on August 11.

The Falsterbo Longines Grand Prix takes place on Sunday afternoon.

Jack Burns