A Coruña, La A Coruña, Spain – July 15, 2023 – Bertram Allen (IRL) emerged victorious in the lightning fast €300,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of A Coruña, presented by Casas Novas. Riding the exceptional Pacino Amiro, Allen won his first LGCT Grand Prix since 2018.
Leading the victory gallop after a nail-biting jump-off of just 9 top combinations, Allen beat Ioli Mytilineou (GRE) on L’Artiste de Toxandra by just fractions of a second. Once again Harrie Smolders (NED) was on the podium with Monaco N.O.P, this time taking third and switching positions with Ioli compared to the last event in Monaco.
Thrilling the full-capacity crowd at A Coruña, Allen not only collected the lion’s share of the substantial prize pool but also secured his golden ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix at Prague later this year. Bertram smiled: “It is fantastic to qualify for the LGCT Super Grand Prix as it is something I have always wanted to do.”
Finishing just 0.40 seconds ahead of second place getter Ioli Mytilineou (GRE) and L’Artiste de Toxandra, Bertram had the advantage of being the last rider to go. Speaking of his plan of attack, he said that the ability to watch Ioli – “I had a similar plan to what she did, then when I watched her go, I knew it was all possible, and thankfully I was just a little bit quicker. It is not easy to win these Grand Prix so I am delighted.”
Having stood on the top of the podium for the second week in a row, but on a completely different horse, Ioli has made it clear her horse power for the 2023 season is a force to be reckoned with. “It feels like a dream. To be able to have two horses podium at a LGCT Grand Prix, which as we know, are not small Grand Prixs, is surreal”.
Standing alongside each other for the second week in a row on the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix podium, GCL teammates Harrie Smolders (NED) and Ioli Mytilineou are showing the depth of talent in the Paris Panthers team for 2023. With 5 stages of the 2023 season ahead, the question on everyone’s lips is who we will see at the next events?
With Championship plans in mind, Harrie commented on what the rest of the year looks like for him and his team of horses: “Monaco [N.O.P] will have three weeks off, and I will then take him to London. I only have four or five results, so I cannot afford for myself to have any mistakes as I really want to be high on the standings.”
Fans filled every space possible around the arena, packing into the bustling shopping village to catch glimpses of their show jumping heroes competing in an electric 9 rider jump-off that got faster and faster.
First to go Trevor Breen (IRL) was riding his homebred Highland President in his first ever LGCT Grand Prix jump-off. Opting for a tactical double clear he kept it smooth and tight crossing the finish line in 45.79s to secure a top 5 finish.
Looking for his golden ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Max Kühner (AUT) and Eic Julius Caesar put the pedal to the metal from before the start line. Looking set to put pressure on the rest of the field it was heartbreaking when he risked it too much to the last and it came tumbling down to finish on a fast four faults.
Known for his speed, the flying Frenchman Simon Delestre (FRA) proved once again why he is so high on the LGCT championship standings. Taking a flyer to the last on I Amelusina R the pair stopped the clock in 41.81 seconds to eventually finish just off the podium today but pick up valuable ranking points.
Aiming to level the record of most LGCT Grand Prix won in the same season on the same horse Julien Epaillard (FRA) and Donatello d’Auge were on form for back to back wins. But it was all over before it started as the first fence fell and he crushed his chances of the dream today.
Ioli Mytilineou (GRE) hasn’t had a fence down this season, jumping three LGCT Grand Prix double clears and two back to back podiums on different horses. This week she was determined not to let her Paris Panthers team mate Harrie Smolders (NED) beat her again like in Monaco. Galloping flat out she stormed into the lead with L’Artiste de Toxandra crossing the finish line in 41.21 seconds and setting the pace.
Chasing down Ioli’s time, it wasn’t to be for Lorenzo de Luca today as he collected 4 faults early on with the iconic Carlson. With the Ortega Family watching on the kiss and cry, Championship leader Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) wanted to impress in front of his owners. Unfortunately, Beauville Z N.O.P. got too strong to the double combination and the pair had to pull out last minute to finish as the slowest on four penalty-points.
The uber consistent pair of Harrie Smolders (NED) and Monaco have been looking for top spot on the podium all season after multiple second places. Flying round the shorten course they gave it everything they had going full gas to the last. The clock stopped at 41.75 seconds as he waited to see if he would secure another podium of the year with one of the fast irish riders on the circuit left to go.
As the final rider to go in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of A Coruna presented by Casas Novas, the weight of thousands of spectators was on the shoulders of Bertram Allen (IRL) as he entered the arena. As collective breaths were held, Allen (IRL) threw caution to the wind and left it all on the line. With a gallop to the last, and 0.40 seconds shaved off Ioli’s winning time, Bertram took the lead and rounded out a thrilling showdown at the picturesque Spanish location.
The next stop on the Longines Global Champions Tour is Riesenbeck 20 – 23 July, with the crucial stages of the Championship race now playing out as all eyes look ahead to Riyadh for the final showdown.
Final Results – €300,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of A Coruña CSI 5* presented by Casas Novas
1) Bertram Allen (IRL) & Pacino Amiro – 0 / 0 – 40.61
2) Ioli Mytilineou (GRE) & L’Artiste de Toxandra – 0 / 0 – 41.21
3) Harrie Smolders (NED) & Monaco N.O.P. – 0 / 0 – 41.75
Source: Press Release from LGCT – Longines Global Champions Tour
Photos: © LGCT / Stefano Grasso