Bertram Allen’s “next best horse,” Pacino Amiro, made his 5* debut during Week 5 of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. By Week 7, they rode away with the biggest purse of the week.

“The last grand prix I suppose I was stepping into the unknown a little bit with him,” said the Irishman. “He had never jumped a five star or been under the lights, and he handled it very well. [On Saturday], 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.”

The nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse wasn’t only better, he was best. Pacino Amiro captured Saturday’s $401,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI5*—and confirmed Allen’s high hopes.

“He’s a little bit of a special character, and I know him very, very well,” said the 25-year old, who has been developing Pacino Amiro from age seven. “Since week one [at WEF] he’s gotten better and better, and he is a lovely horse who wants to try his best all the time and learn.”

Of the 40 combinations to contest the Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen (ECU) designed track, five advanced to the jump off. Allen and Pacino Amiro were second to return, following a four fault performance by countryman Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) and VDL Cartello.

“There was no real standard set before I went in because Lorcan obviously had a fence down,” said Allen, “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.”

Allen and bay gelding stopped the clock with a clear round in 35.32 seconds. Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Bardolina, Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Legacy, and Daniel Deusser (GER) and Killer Queen VDM attempted to catch their time. Ultimately it was Allen and his upcoming superstar leading the victory gallop.

The win marks Allen’s second of the winter circuit with Pacino Amiro—the pair previously won the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 CSI3*—and his fifth win overall. The Irishman has also collected three victories aboard Castlefield Vegas, including a 5* 1.40m Week 5 and a pair of 1.50m 3* wins Week 6.