In a lightning display of speed Ireland's Bertram Allen flattened the opposition to win the big 5* class before tomorrow's Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid. A passionate crowd turned out to see 57 international riders compete under the dusky early evening sky in the beautiful grass arena at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid. The 1.50m class was a true test of ability for the world class horse and rider combinations ahead of tomorrow' showdown.
A challenging course, designed by Spain's own Santiago Varela, quickly proved tricky for the early combinations until young Bertram Allen, eighth to go in the line up, took a powerful early lead with the 11-year-old chestnut gelding Quiet Easy 4, shaving every corner possible to complete the course clear and with a stunning time of 68.83.
Switzerland's Pius Schwizer came second on the 14-year-old bay gelding Newton du Haut Bois, but he was almost three seconds behind the leader with a clear round of 71.92.
German maestro Ludger Beerbaum took third with his trusty grey twelve-year-old mare Chiara with a clear round in 74.39. Phillipe Rozier (FRA) and Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) completed the top five with their respective mounts, Unpulsion de la Hart and Cantinero, just 1.35 seconds apart.
Britain's Scott Brash completed a calm and steady clear round in 82.56 on Hello Forever to finish in the top 10 but only eleven combinations went clear throughout the competition, with many strong times caught out in the final segment of the course as the difficulty level took its toll. Young American Paris Sellon rode a strong clear on her bay mare Adare in 80.37. Canada's Tiffany Foster also clocked up a clear in 80.96 on Brighton.
There were plenty of gasps and cheers from the lively Spanish crowd and it will be full house tomorrow for the €320,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid. The first round starts at 17:00 Central European Time and you can catch all the action on GCT TV's live streaming service at www.globalchampionstour.com.