Belfast Telegraph

Sophie Dalm is picture perfect for exclusive prize

By Ruth Loney

Twenty year old fine art student, Sophie Dalm from Comber, County Down, gave a superb showjumping display at Dublin Show yesterday to win an exclusive training bursary.

The daughter of Pim and Mandy Dalm earned the highest score from GB chef d'equipe Rob Hoekstra who judged her for her skills over fences and ground work in front of a huge audience at Simmonscourt arena.

Sophie is trained by Johnny O'Connell with support from Olympic medallist Cian O'Connor. She won this years RDS young rider class and has won many classes in Europe this year.

She was the 2013 Ulster region Grand Prix champion and is currently studying for a degree in fine art at the University of Ulster, Belfast and sells specially commissioned horse paintings under the name sophiedalmart.com

Her RDS award consists of two weeks training with a leading international rider still to be confirmed.

Ireland's most exciting young face of global showjumping claimed the Dublin Grand Prix in a washout of a day which tested the cleverest and most talented of five star horses and riders.

Bertram Allen, the 19 year old superstar of world showjumping. delivered an exhibition in how to win the Dublin Grand Prix in one easy step, despite heavy rain and sticky ground.

Watching from the stands, course builder Alan Wade groaned as heavy rain poured on the track, but the ground stood up and eight riders delivered clear rounds.

German-based Waterford teenager Allen collected a new suite of Longines watches, 66,000 euro and the Irish Trophy with the grey English bred mare Molly Malone, sired by the French stallion Kannan, owned by his own Ballywalter Farms.

Beating US ace Kent Farrington was no problem to the teenager with his precision timing in the jump off. He said: "I watched Kent and he was very smooth. I found myself on a flyer coming into the double and thankfully it worked out. Molly Malone and I have a great connection - she always tries her best."

Farrington collected 40,000 euro for second place.

Leading international rider of the show was Cameron Hanley, who also took leading Irish rider prize. Greg Broderick was the leading national rider.

Meanwhile, World of Showjumping website has reported that Ulster's Jessica Kurten will no longer compete three horses in a partnership with Paul Bucheler.

Swiss owner Bucheler had asked to Jessica to ride his horses Louis, Croesus and Easy following his rider Beat Mandli's move to the USA as a trainer.

Kurten had competed the horses at recent five star shows but she and Bucheler had a difference of opinion about the goals for each horse.

The Cullybackey rider has now decided to concentrate on her own string of horses based at Edouard du Rothschild's Meatry Stables near Euro Disney where she is his personal showjumping coach.

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