Bertram Allen and Molly Malone. Photo: LGCT / Stefano Grasso
Speed demon Bertram Allen (IRL) and top mare Molly Malone took a blistering win during the third day of competition for the Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg. Keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats, the popular young Irish star wowed with a masterful performance on the 13 year old grey mare, beating a world class field of 43 starters in the perfect prelude to Saturday’s Global Champions League final and LGCT Grand Prix of Hamburg.
As the sun started its slow descent, crowds set up on the grassy banks with picnics and blankets, settling in for top class sport and entertainment. With a huge shopping village, local delicacies as refreshments, and the world’s best show jumpers within touching distance, spectators flocked to the third day of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg, with something for all the family at the picturesque Derby-Park Klein Flottbeck.
Frank Rothenberger’s course once again utilised the full arena. Poles fell in all directions around the field, however the middle part of the treble combination caused the most trouble. A wide oxer going in, with a short stride to the middle caught out some of the big names, including Rio Olympic Silver medallist Peder Fredricson (SWE) with H&M Flip’s Little Sparrow, and reigning LGCT Grand Prix of Hamburg champion Ludger Beerbaum (GER) with Chacon.
The time allowed also caused challenges, with top French rider Simon Delestre (FRA) just caught out with Qlassic Bois Margot despite their clear, picking up a costly time fault. Janne-Friederike Meyer (GER) drew gasps from the crowd as the scopey nine year old gelding Indi soared over the poles, leaving plenty of air between his legs and the fences. Despite their edge-of-the-seat round, the pair jumped clear, but the crowd groaned as they realised the top German rider had picked up a time fault. Christian Kukuk (GER) with Cordess and Ales Opatrny (GER) with VDL Fakir also fell foul of the time allowed, with beautiful clears dashed by stopping the clocks just seconds away from the limit.
First to go clear and within the time was Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts (BEL), guiding the nine year old stallion Ikker around the course with the crowd cheering in delight as the young star threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the field. Harrie Smolders (NED) soon topped his impressive clear, with a stylish round on his 13 year old gelding Zinius. Home legend, Marcus Ehning (GER) captivated the audience with grey gelding Gin Chin van het Lindenhof, showcasing his masterful skill and horsemanship to ride clear and into the jump-off.
Young talent Sanne Thijssen (NED) looked to be on flying form again, with the Dutch rider impressing with in Celine M Z. The pair looked foot-perfect right up to the final fence, after the grey mare took a pull into the vertical before stopping at the last minute, almost unseating Sanne and putting them out of the running for the jump-off.
Reigning LGCT Champion of Champions Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) and Casall ASK entered the arena to applause, with popular stallion making his first appearance of the weekend for the Longines Global Champions Tour of Hamburg. After popping a few fences, Rolf retired the stallion from the class, saving the stallion for his final performance tomorrow in the qualifier for the LGCT Grand Prix.
Anna Kellnerova (CZE) and her 12 year old gelding Calcourt Falklund had a scary moment after a groundsman walked out in front of a jump. The stewards stopped the time, and Anna was able to continue her rhythm, jumping an impressive round clear despite the interruption. Coming home just outside the time, the young Czech star was awarded a deserved place in the jump-off after the judges deemed the interruption costly, taking off her two time faults.
It would be an eight rider jump-off, with Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Iron Man van de Padenborre, Bertram Allen (IRL) with Molly Malone, Laura Kraut (USA) with Hello Guv’Nor, Jack Towell (USA) with New York and Laura Klaphake (GER) with Catch me if you can joining those through.
Flying Dutchman Harrie Smolders (NED) drew the short straw as first to go, taking on the galloping course. Flat out between the fences, the pair looked strong right up to the penultimate fence which featured a gappy vertical. The crowd gasped as Zinius skidded to a stop at the very last second, meaning the duo would collect four faults and put themselves out of the fight. Young Belgian Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) took his foot off the gas a little, focusing on a clear but leaving the door open to the rest of the field with a time of 40.29s.
Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and New York looked racy, with some impressive turn backs however were unable to get the stride they wanted at the final fence, costing them time and slipping them behind the Belgian star.
The crowd cheered as popular young rider Bertram Allen (IRL) and top grey mare Molly Malone entered the arena. Setting off at a gallop, the pair had a scary moment at the imposing Longines oxer as Molly dipped a foot but cleared it, picking up the pace as the course unfolded. The crowd erupted as the pair stopped the clocks in 39.95s, putting them into the provisional lead.
Laura Kraut (USA) and Hello Guv’Nor cat-leaped around the course, with the former Brash mount kicking out exuberantly over the fences. They put in a valiant effort, however couldn’t match the time set, stopping the clock in 41.47s, and down the order. Silence fell as young German star Laura Klaphake (GER) set off at a blinding pace with Catch Me If You Can, taking a brave shot at the time to beat. Despite an unbelievable angle to an imposing yellow and white vertical, the pair stopped the clock at 41.50s, not enough to challenge for the top spot.
One down for Anna Kellnerova (CZE) put her out of the running and despite Gregory Wathelet’s (BEL) best efforts with a cut through the double, a rolled pole with Iron Man van de Padenborre meant the win was handed to Bertram Allen and the magical Molly Malone.
Tomorrow will see the Global Champions League of Hamburg final kick off at 12:40 local time, before the top 25 qualify for the Longines Global Champions Tour which takes place at 16:00 local time. All the action will be streamed live via GCT and GCL TV, with the retirement ceremony of 18 year old stallion Casall taking place following the prize giving of the LGCT Grand Prix of Hamburg.