Devon, Pennsylvania, USA. – Sept. 14, 2019 – The highlight event of the 2019 Devon Fall Classic took place on Saturday evening in the Dixon Oval, with 33 competitors trying their hand in the $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix. As the local Devon crowd looked on from the historic stadium decked in festive fall decorations, Laura Chapot (USA) and Thornhill Kate stole the show once again to capture the win and the largest check of the evening. Chapot and the grey mare, owned by herself and Mary Chapot, secured back-to-back wins after claiming the top prize in the 2017 edition of the Devon Fall Classic.
Course designer Steve Stephens carefully constructed a technical set of 12 obstacles, which challenged competitors through three combinations and over a liverpool. Additionally, the final element, a wide set oxer at the far end of the arena, caused athletes some issues, with a number of combinations making it through the entire course clear before tipping the final rail out of its cups. With a course set at a height of 1.40m to 1.45m and spreads up to 1.60m, athletes and their mounts put on a show for impressed crowds in the Dixon Oval.
Callan Solem (USA) and Jasmijn Van de Renthoeve were second in the order of go and the pathfinders for clear rounds for the evening. One trip later, Katia Manuel-Adams and her mount, E.R.P. Can http://www.olland.biz, secured crowds a jump-off with their clear round under the time allowed of 84 seconds. At the end of the first round of competition, ten competitors qualified to return for the second speed portion of the evening, including Chapot aboard three different mounts, Alison Robitaille (USA), Gracie Allen (USA), Filip De Wandel (BEL), Anne Kursinski (USA), and Matthias Hollberg (USA).
As the jump-off round began, Manuel-Adams held the early lead with a swift time of 42.068 seconds and no jumping faults aboard her own E.R.P. http://www.olland.biz. Four trips later, however, Chapot and the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare entered the ring to usurp the top position with a time of 39.524 seconds. Utilizing the Thornhill Kate’s naturally quick step, Chapot appeared to have sealed the win with her veteran partner, but with a hefty field of competitors still to come, it was still anyone’s game.
Anne Kursinski (USA) & UK
Two trips later, Anne Kursinski (USA) and Market Street, Inc.’s UK tackled the jump-off course, giving it their all to attempt to best Chapot’s time. Competing under the lights for the first time this week, UK crossed the timers in 40.831 seconds to eventually claim the second place position for the night. Originally bred to be an eventer, Kursinski recently purchased the 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse for herself after realizing the gelding’s potential in the show jumping ring.
Matthias Hollberg (SWE) & Southern Command
Rounding out the top three was the last competitor to try their hand on course, Matthias Hollberg and William Zuschlag’s Southern Command. Tripping the finish line at 41.324 seconds aboard the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Hollberg left all of the jumps standing to secure his final placing. Fourth place was claimed by Alison Robitaille (USA) and 500 Hats LLC’s Flairvona with a clear effort and a time of 41.575 seconds. The top five for the evening was captured by the first clear round of the jump-off portion of competition, Manuel-Adams, but it was Chapot who led the lap of honor at the end of the evening.
Laura Chapot (USA) & Calafornia
Winner’s Circle: Laura Chapot – $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix winner
On where she thinks she won it:
“I think she is just a naturally fast horse and I just tried to keep her fairly smooth and even the whole way around. I didn’t change the pace too much. I think I tried to take as neat of a path as I could with her. She kind of gets a little bit stuck on her turns if you get too abrupt with them, so with her I try to keep the rhythm and not interfere too much. I let her think as much as she can around the course otherwise she gets too busy, quick and excited.”
On the course:
“I think [Steve Stephens] did a great job. It is always a mix field with older horses and experienced riders up against younger horses that are just coming up. I think he had a nice number in the jump-off, so that it was good for the crowd and a good jump-off.”
On returning to the Devon Fall Classic to win another Grand Prix:
“It is always a pleasure to win at Devon, no matter what. They put on a great show here and I am really happy to see it is really well attended here, it shows there is a place for this show and a lot of support for it. Hopefully, this show will continue for many years to come. You don’t compete anywhere else where you get this kind of atmosphere with the crowd and the excitement level. This experience is great for the horses, they tend to really pump up and perform for you here. Any opportunity you have to come here, you have to take it.”
Anne Kursinski – $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix second place
On her course:
“I thought my horse was great! He had never jumped under the lights until last night, so I wasn’t sure how he was going to be and I tried to go as fast as I could. I probably should have done one less stride to the last jump in the jump-off like some other horses did, but my horse jumped the last jump so high in the first round that I got jumped a little loose actually! I probably could have been faster but he is a green horse and I thought he was excellent. I am really proud of him.”
“He is 9 years old and was bred by an eventer in this area. I had helped [the breeder] with his mother, who was named UN, and I have ridden him on and off for her in the last year and a half. I finally thought to just buy him for myself because I love him and he gets me. He is Irish, but he has a lot of Thoroughbred and I love a Thoroughbred type. He gets me and I get him, I just have so much fun riding him. To ride here in the Dixon Oval again on a top horse is really magical.”
On showing at the Devon Fall Classic:
“This is fabulous! We had a great crowd tonight. The lights, the history and the atmosphere here are so special – there is nothing else like it. There is an educated crowd here – it is like going to Aachen, the spectators get this sport and cheer for the horses. As an athlete, you just love that and the great horses understand that. Some young horses wilt under the atmosphere, but the young ones turn it on to show what they can do, and that is what Devon does for everyone. I agree with Laura, having this show here is so fabulous for young horses and young riders to get in an atmosphere like this and in this arena, there is nothing like this to make horses and riders.”
Laura Chapot (USA) & Calafornia during the awards ceremony
Results – $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix winner
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time
1. Laura Chapot (USA) & Thornhill Kate – 0 / 73.970 / 0 / 39.524
2. Anne Kursinski (USA) & UK – 0 / 82.866 / 0 / 40.831
3. Matthias Hollberg (GER) & Southern Command – 0 / 75.414 / 0 / 41.324
4. Alison Robitaille (USA) & Flairvona – 0 / 78.678 / 0 / 41.575
5. Katia Manuel-Adams (USA) & E.R.P. Can WWW.Olland.Biz – 0 / 79.449 / 0 / 42.068
6. Laura Chapot (USA) & Out Of Ireland – 0 / 73.625 / 4 / 37.937
7. Filip de Wandel (BEL) & Elyria Sitte – 0 / 78.900 / 4 / 38.740
8. Laura Chapot (USA) & Calafornia – 0 / 76.854 / 8 / 51.958
9. Gracie Allen (USA) & Rivage de Lormay – 0 / 76.721 / EL
10. Callam Solem (USA) & Jasmijn Van de Renthoeve – 0 / 77.467 / EL
Source: Press release by Callie Clement / Phelps Media Group for Devon Fall Classic
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Callie Clement / George Hammond