Irish star Bertram Allen and his brilliant 12 year old grey mare Molly Malone V took the precedented Prix Massimo Dutti trophy this afternoon after a thirteen rider jump-off had the Monaco crowds on the edge of the seat during the fast paced round. The formidable combination took top honours in the 1.50/1.55m class, jumping double clear in an impressive 34.56s as the sun started its descent over the Port Hercule harbour.

Bertram Allen Monaco society was out in force for the first day of show jumping, with the event becoming a leading fixture in the Principality’s social calendar and was watched on by Prince Albert II of Monaco. As dusk fell Princess Caroline of Hannover joined her daughter Charlotte Casiraghi for the evening’s Longines Pro-Am competition, which saw an all-Monegasque based podium following the exciting team relay competition. Global business leaders, sports stars including Mika Häkkinen, Swedish model, actress, and TV personality, Victoria Silvstedt, and socialites mingled at the floodlit arena alongside a dazzling fleet of super yachts.

A top class field of 37 horses and riders took centre stage for the afternoon’s Prix Massimo Dutti feature class in the small sand arena, nestled between the Formula 1 pit lane and super yachts birthed nearby.

Scott Brash’s  ever improving and Forever was true to form the 14 year old chestnut gelding made his way effortlessly through the course, and were the first to go clear. The combination were first to go into the jump-off Scott Brash and  caught an unlucky pole.

Bertram Allen was the first to raise the bar, literally, throwing down the gaunlet for the rest of the field as he galloped to the fences with Molly Malone V. A brilliant turn to the full height vertical at number three saved valuable seconds, and the pair stopped the clocks at 34.56s. The ever speedy David Will (GER) and Cento du Rouet looked to be close to Bertram’s heels, with the pair finishing on the exact same time last event in Cannes. But he was just pipped to the post, finishing just two tenths of a second behind in 34.74s.

One of the final riders to go was Jerome Guery (BEL) and Alicante, another dangerously fast combination who saw double success in the LGCT Chantilly speed classes earlier this month. Jerome and Alicante gave it there all, and came excruciatingly close to Bertram’s time, crossing the line in 34.64s. The top three finished within a whisker of each other, with fourth place man Pieter Devos and Apart almost two seconds behind them. Switzerland’s Christina Liebherr and L.B. Eagle Eye took fifth position and Katharina Offel (GER) with Umeunig round out the top six after a fascinating first day of competition in Monte Carlo.