CSI 4*

Nicole Shahinian-Simpson & Akuna Mattata Triumphant in $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI 4*

2019.05.29.99.99 Devon CSI 4 Welcome Nicole S. Simpson & Akuna Mattata The Book

Devon, Pennsylvania, USA – May 28, 2019 – The Dixon Oval welcomed its first international show jumping competition at the 2019 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair CSI 4* on Tuesday evening with the $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI 4*, sponsored 5R Farms LLC – Helen Rich. After making their Devon debut in 2018 with multiple top placings, the United States’ Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) and Silver Raven Farms’ Akuna Mattata returned to Devon, Pennsylvania, all the way from California, to take home their first win together and the Sylvester L. Quigley Memorial Challenge Trophy at the iconic venue, besting 25 other horses and athletes.

Seven combinations returned to compete over Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA shortened track. Of the seven, only two were able to produce double-clear efforts.

2019.05.29.99.99 Devon CSI 4 Welcome Catherine Tyree & Bokai The Book

Catherine Tyree (USA) & Bokai

The early double-clear pathfinder was 25-year-old Catherine Tyree (USA) and Mary Tyree’s Bokai as second in the jump-off order-of-go. They pair successfully completed all of the obstacles and stopped the clock in 38.16 seconds to move to the top spot on the leaderboard.

Shahinian-Simpson, who has been competing at the Devon Horse Show since 1985 and had great success in the Dixon Oval as a junior, was fifth to tackle the jump-off with the fiery 11-year-old Holsteiner mare (Alziz x Zloty Rog). They expertly navigated the short course with ease and crossed the finish line just one second faster in 37.74 seconds, which ultimately secured them the win as the remaining two competitors incurred faults. As a result, Tyree settled for second place, while Lillie Keenan (USA) and Chansonette Farm LLC’s Fasther rounded out the top three as the fastest of the 4-faulters in 36.34 seconds.

In 2018, the pair finished fourth in the $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI 4* and later claimed runner-up honors in the $70,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake CSI 4*. This year, they are already off to a strong start in the popular Open Jumper division and look to continue their streak throughout the rest of the week.

2019.05.29.99.99 Devon CSI 4 Welcome Cel Nicole S. Simpson & Akuna Mattata The Book

Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) & Akuna Mattata

Shahinian-Simpson has formed a strong partnership with Akuna Mattata since the mare was famously born as a triplet via embryo transfer in 2008 out of SRF Dragonfly. Fondly known as “Nahla” in the barn, she quickly realized the mare’s potential bringing her up through the ranks and now the pair are competing at the CSI 5* level and representing the USA on Nations Cup teams, including during the Coapexpan CSIO 5* in Mexico earlier this month, where the NetJets® U.S. Show Jumping Team took home the silver medal.

FEI competition will resume on Wednesday in the Dixon Oval with the $36,000 Devon International Speed Stake CSI 4*, sponsored by Herr’s Food, at 7 p.m., while the week’s main event, the $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, will be held on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

Winner’s Circle

Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) – $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI 4*, sponsored 5R Farms LLC – Helen Rich

On returning to the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair:
“I’ve always loved it here. It’s just a great atmosphere and a great ring to ride in. My first year here was in 1985 and I have been Best Child Rider here on ponies and horses. Last year was [Akuna Mattata’s] first year here and it was her first big season on the international circuit. She got a ribbon in every class so it was fun to come back. She thrives on the energy here.”

On the rain delay prior to the start of the class:
“I knew the show wouldn’t run it if it wasn’t OK. I knew if they ran it, it would be fine. The footing was fantastic!”

On Akuna Mattata:
“She’s very animated, she’s not a kicker or anything luckily, but she is difficult to contain. She was eager to compete tonight. She loves to go fast. Even in the first round with the time being tight, I thought, ‘Just ride it like a speed class.’ That’s sort of her gear. I’ve started using her stride to do the leave-outs and it’s all just sort of come together. She responds great and her rideability doesn’t change.”

On Tuesday’s jump-off:
“No one had done the seven from one to two and I thought, ‘If I catch that vertical, I can get right in there.’ The hardest line actually was after the double, that six. We had all planned seven and then Lillie [Keenan] did the six and that was actually quite long. She’s really game and she turns well so it’s been fun to challenge her a little bit and see where we are. It felt great.”

On her plan after Devon:
“We’ll do Upperville next and hopefully some more Nations Cups — we’ll carry on. She’s been awesome and we just want to keep her happy and healthy. I want to keep exposing her to the scene and hopefully they use me where they want to use me.”

Results – $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI 4*

Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time

1. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) & Akuna Mattata – 0 / 0 – 37.74

2. Catherine Tyree (USA) & Bokai – 0 / 0 – 38.16

3. Lillie Keenan (USA) & Fasther – 0 / 4 – 36.34

4. Sloane Coles (USA) & Chippendale’s Boy DZ – 0 / 4 – 37.79

5. Sydney Shulman (ISR) & Azilis Du Mesnil – 0 / 8 – 41.74

6. Beezie Madden (USA) & Breitling LS – 0 / 8 – 43.60

7. Beat Mandli (SUI) & Dsarie – 0 / 10 – 50.39

8. Adrienne Sternlincht (USA) & Pembroke – 1 – 70.23

9. Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Quality FZ – 1 – 70.39

10. Ali Wolff (USA) & Casall – 4 – 66.42

11. Laura Chapot  (USA) & Chandon Blue – 4 – 66.97

12. Michael Morrissey (USA) & Chance Ste Hermelle – 4 – 69.61

Source: Press release by Taylor Rains / Phelps Media Group for Devon Horse Show & Country Fair

Photos: © The Book / Phelps Sports / Taylor Rains