Riding over a challenging course that featured the open water, a triple combination, and two double combinations, only five riders found the path to a clear round and advanced to the jump-off out of 40 starting entries. Bertram and Pacino Amiro sped through the course in 35.32 seconds, a time that couldn't be caught by the remaining competitors.
The first to return for the jump-off was Lorcan Gallagher (IRL), having one rail down to finish in fifth place in 38.47 seconds.
"There was no real standard set before I went in because Lorcan obviously had a fence down, and there were only three coming after me, but they were obviously three very, very good ones on fast horses. I know my guy is fast, and with only five in it, the worst case I was fifth. I was going to give it a good shot, and thankfully it came off," Bertram said.
In a class stacked with Irishmen, it was Daniel Coyle and Ariel Grange's Legacy, who came closest to Allen's leading time. They were clear in 37.11 seconds to finish in second place. Mario Deslauriers (CAN) finished third.
Bertram and Pacino Amiro, who led the victory gallop during WEF 2 in the Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup
, were riding in only their second five-star Grand Prix under the lights. An impressive finish for the nine-year-old gelding by Pacino x NC Amiro, who was also in the jump-off during the WEF 5 five-star Grand Prix.
"The last Grand Prix I suppose I was stepping into the unknown a little bit with him. He had never jumped a five star or been under the lights, and he handled it very well. Tonight, I was a bit more confident that I knew that he could do it, so I was just hoping that he was going to be on form. He was even better again tonight," Bertram says.
Bertram has been riding Pacino Amiro
since he was seven years old and developed him as a young horse.
"He's a little bit of a special character, and I know him very, very well. Since week one, he's gotten better and better, and he is a lovely horse who wants to try his best all the time and learn."
With many competitions cancelled in Europe this winter, Bertram is thankful to be able to compete in Wellington once again.
"It's brilliant! I was here for a bit of the season in 2020, and that got cut short, and then it was very much 'start and stop' and a lot of the time with no shows. To be here consistently jumping at a very high level, we are all very lucky and make the most of it."