HARRY Allen rounded off a good underage European Championship campaign for Ireland in Oliva, Spain when winning the individual bronze medal in the young riders on Sunday. The junior team won team bronze on Thursday, while the young riders finished fourth and the children on horses team placed ninth.
Allen’s individual medal aboard the Padraic Egan-bred Irish Sport Horse Over Lux (Lux Z x Cruising) brings his European medal haul to five, including the individual gold at the pony European Championships in 2017, and closes out his career at underage level.
“I’m absolutely delighted. My horse (Over Lux) was brilliant. I had the middle part of combination down on the second day, it was a bit my fault but it was very very hard, it was definitely the most faulted fence of the week. I was quite confident the course designer was going to build quite difficult, it was tough all week. I was still far away in eighth going into the final but was hopeful we could climb up with a clear round. In the final round, I was fourth last to jump, the one after me had a pole down and then I had the medal.”
The 10-year-old gelding Over Lux only joined Allen’s team six weeks ago. He was produced in Ireland under various riders for Sandra Duffy and had a good record at international level under USA’s Denise Wilson and Ireland’s Eoin Gallagher before moving to Ballywalter Farm.
“He was competing in Ireland then Vinnie Duffy bought him and had him with Denise Wilson and Eoin Gallagher. Eoin was riding him; I was down in Sunshine Tour watching him where he was really good, and then I saw him again jump clear in a 1.50m in Sentower and we bought him after that. I did three other shows on him, including the Nations Cup in Drammen, before the Europeans. I hope to hold on to him… like you said, we do sell them here, but for the moment he won’t be sold.”
The pair were 19th after Wednesday’s opening round where they produced a clear round. Their only pole down came in the second round, before they were clear in the team final. Allen was lying in eighth place heading into Sunday’s final and rose to fourth after a first round clear. Another clear in the final round was good enough to see him clinch the bronze medal under pressure, on a final score of 7.42.
The gold medal went to Belgium’s Thibeau Spits and Classic Touch DH with a score of 2.9 as the only combination not to knock a pole all week. Silver went to another Belgian rider, Thibault Philippaerts with Derby de Riverland on 6.66 penalties. Belgium also won the team gold on Friday afternoon.
Tipperary’s Max Wachman finished fifth individually after a superb campaign with Quintini. The pair were in the top 10 after the opening day on a score of 2.54 and another clear in the team final moved them up to fourth heading into the final day. An unfortunate pole down in the first round of the final, before a brilliant clear second time out, saw him finish on 10.54 in fifth place.
Commenting on Allen’s achievement, chef d’equipe James Kernan said: “It was a fantastic performance from Harry Allen and I am really pleased for him. He only has this horse six weeks so to come here in that space of time and win a medal is some achievement. Max Wachman also had a superb Championships to finish in the top five.
“It has been a great championships overall and I want to thank everyone at Horse Sport Ireland, the parents, grooms, support staff, all the riders and of course our fantastic sponsors for all their support.”
Juniors in top 10
After their bronze team medal-winning performance on Thursday, both Francis Derwin Jnr and Tom Wachman delivered again in Saturday’s individual final, finishing sixth and 10th. Riding his father Francis’ 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding AHG Whiterock Cruise Down, Derwin won Wednesday’s opening round with a lightning fast round.
The pair faulted in the first team competition before producing a vital clear in the team final. A perfect clear in the first round of the individual final left them looking like medal contenders, but sadly four faults in the second round saw them finish on a total score of eight in sixth place.
Wachman rode Coolmore Showjumping’s Lazzaro Delle Schiave to 10th place when unlucky to pick up four faults in the final round, finishing on 10.18. The pair jumped three brilliant clear rounds in the week.
The individual title went to Finland’s Jone Illi who finished on a total of 3.03 with Eolita L, just ahead of Belgium’s Aurelia Guisson in the silver medal position with No Limit vh Legita Hof Z. Bronze also went the way of Belgium and Evelyne Putters who was leading until the first round of the final when she picked up four faults with Nabeau van het Migroveld Z.
As covered in last week’s issue, the Irish juniors did enough to win the bronze medal at the venue on Thursday.
In the final decider, Derwin and AHG Whiterock Cruise Down (ISH) were first in for Ireland and jumped a perfect clear. This was followed by another impressive clear from Clare’s Rhys Williams and Cowboy Balou. Wachman with Lazzaro Delle Schiave and Tyrone’s Niamh McEvoy with Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick (ISH) both finished with four faults apiece, with Ireland discarding one of those scores to complete three rounds of jumping on a score of 15.67. The Irish squad also included Conor McLaughlin and Kilbarron Rue (ISH) who jumped clear in Tuesday’s opening speed round.
The gold medal went to Belgium on a score of 8.71, ahead of The Netherlands in silver on 9.89 with Ireland collecting the bronze on 15.67. “Everybody really played their part and it’s fantastic to win the bronze medal,” James Kernan said afterwards. “The course builder did a good job. Maybe we would have preferred bigger courses but the conditions have been very tough here in Spain with the heat and humidity. I want to thank our team sponsors Gain, and our team suppliers.”
The Children on Horses team of Annie Boland (The Hurricane), Alanna Fagan (Bella M), Cian McMunn (Captain Marko), Jamie Clarke (Coumroe Special) and Robert Russell (Ballyrobin Nummerdor) all jumped good rounds throughout the week and finished ninth as a team. The gold medal went to Germany, Italy took silver and bronze was won by France.
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Denis Duggan commented: “Huge congratulations to Harry Allen on a brilliant bronze medal win with an Irish Sport Horse and to the breeder of Over Lux, Padraic Egan. This was a hugely impressive performance from Harry to finish third and also from Max Wachman to finish in the top five in Europe. I also want to congratulate James Kernan and his team members Francis, Rhys, Tom, Niamh and Conor on a brilliant performance culminating in a fantastic bronze medal win for Ireland. They showed great composure in the final round to hold their medal position and we are all very proud of their performances.”