The draw for the opening speed competition of the FEI World Cup Jumping Finals in Las Vegas took place on Wednesday evening, with Irish teenager Bertram Allen drawn number 32 to jump with his grey mare Molly Malone, while fellow Connolly’s RED MILLS Brand Ambassador Edwina Top-Alexander, will jump at number 26 with the mare Fair Light Van T Heike.
The draw, which took place at the Hakkasan nightclub in the MGM hotel. was conducted by defending champion Daniel Deusser from Germany assisted by America’s Rich Fellers and Beezie Madden who claimed the coveted trophy in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Belgium’s Jos Verlooy will be the first Jumping rider into the ring when the much-anticipated FEI World Cup™ Finals 2015 begin at the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas, at 7pm local time (3am on Friday in UK and Ireland).
All three former Jumping champions are competing with the same horses with which they previously enjoyed success, and Madden starts in 25th place with Simon while Deusser goes 33rd with Cornet D’Amour followed immediately by Fellers partnering his 19 year old living legend, Flexible in 34th place. A total of 41 horse-and-rider combinations are listed to contest the opening speed class in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.
The Hakkasan nightclub usually applies an age restriction of 21 years, but an exception was made for the two young Jumping riders, Jos Verlooy and Ireland’s Bertram Allen, who are still only 19.
Having risen from 70th place to the No 10 spot in the latest Longines rankings after a sensational run of form over the last year, Bertram Allen, whose team of horses are fed on Connolly’s RED MILLS feed, is hotly-tipped to make a big impression this week. But he insisted today that “there are 20 or 25 riders here who could win”. He was happy with how his grey mare, Molly Malone, schooled this morning, and, when asked about his plans for the coming days, said “I’ll be going out every day to win, but just how I’m going to do it I don’t exactly know yet!”
His natural horsemanship has already earned him a huge fan-club, not least in his home country. He said today, “I really appreciate the support and goodwill I’m getting from home and I will be doing my very best here this week. I’m ready to crack on with it now, and if it doesn’t go well it won’t be because myself and Molly aren’t trying! We both like a good atmosphere, and I think the buzz in this arena is going to be amazing!”
Everyone agrees that the Thomas & Mack is an electric venue, and earlier today there were plenty of spectators watching the warm-up sessions for both Jumping and Dressage. Daniel Deusser showed that he means business when he says he wants to take the Longines title for the second year in row, putting on an exhibition with Cornet D’Amour over the eight-fence practice track.