Ireland’s Bertram Allen clinched the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI3* riding Lafayette van Overis to open the tenth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL, on Wednesday, March 11.
Allen continued a streak of 1.45m victories at WEF with another win over tracks set by course designer Michel Vaillancourt (CAN). Seventy horses contested the two-phase course, but Allen and his quick gelding could not be caught. They stopped the clock at 32.68 seconds, which proved to be less than a half a second faster than runner-up Natalie Dean (USA) riding Ceitasi.
After competing in a CSI3* FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier over the weekend, Allen was planning to give Lafayette van Overis an easy ride, but the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Tauber van het Kapelhof) had other plans.
“He was very relaxed, and straight away won this easily,” said Allen of his Ballywalter Stables-owned mount. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to go full speed, but because it was a two phase, I could see how he was feeling and he felt very good.
“He is so naturally fast,” continued Allen. “There were people doing more galloping or less strides, but I did not want to do that with him today. I thought I would do as good a round as I could, and see where that left us. Because he’s so fast, he was able to get out on top.”
Allen is two weeks away from the end of his first season at WEF, and will soon return to Europe with a talented string, saying, “They are all feeling good, and on good form. I have been planning for this week, and overall this has been a great trip for me and all the horses; they have progressed so well.”
Bertram Allen on Lafayette van Overis in their winning presentation with Tara and Siobahn Gallagher of The Gallagher Group, representing Douglas Elliman Real Estate, along with ringmaster Steve Rector. Photo by Sportfot.
Lafayette van Overis has been the ride of Allen’s since the summer of 2019, and he is eager to produce the horse further. “I put him up and down the levels a bit, but he is very comfortable at this 1.45m level,” he said. “My goal is to get him this competitive at 1.50m, and then we will see where he goes.”
Dean finished in second for owner Marigold Sporthorses LLC, with a time of 32.68 seconds, while Jordan Coyle (IRL) capped the top three in 32.70 seconds aboard Picador for owner Elan Farm. Abigail McCardle (USA) was fourth in 33.42 seconds on I&H Boogy Woogy, owned by Parot Horses LLC, and Sam Walker (CAN) rounded out the top five in 33.75 seconds riding Coralissa for owner Marbill Hill Farm.
Also earning wins in the International Arena on Wednesday, Olivia Chowdry (USA) topped the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m CSI3* riding Balkana du Tillard, owned by Atlas Equine Holdings, LLC, and Darragh Kenny (IRL) claimed the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m riding Cicomein VDL for owner HKC Collection LLC.