Devon, Pennsylvania – September 18, 2021 – The stadium surrounding the Dixon Oval at the Devon Fall Classic was packed with spectators from near and far in anticipation of the weekend’s highlight event, the $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix. With the high energy of the night, Kaitlyn Williams (USA) and Cassio Melloni rode quickly and carefully to beat out the competition and wrap up the evening with a victory gallop around the arena.
Eric Hasbrouk’s 13-effort course challenged the field of exhibitors with delicate verticals and multiple rollbacks. Thirty horse-and-rider combinations took to the track to showcase their speed and dexterity in the buzzing atmosphere of the historic Devon Horse Show venue. The first clear ride was produced by the second pair in the order-of-go, Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5, a 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Victorio Equine Group, LLC. The pair was the first of nine to go clear for a ticket to the jump-off, proving Hasbrouk’s ability in creating technical combinations.
Emerging as the pathfinder during the tiebreaker for the $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix was Kaitlyn Williams (USA) and Cassio Melloni, a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Kaitlyn Williams. Being sure to use Cassio Melloni’s swift pace, the pair was able to produce a second clear round and cross the timers at 36.826 seconds during the jump-off. The pair set an unbeatable faultless pace and remained in the lead to take home the winning ribbon for the highlight event.
Grace Long (AUS), another contender in the jump-off taking to the ring shortly after Williams, knew she would have to be quick with Happiness VD Hazelhof, a 9-year-old KWPN mare owned by G&T Equestrian. While she did not have the chance to watch the others go, she did her best to stay inside the turns, taking numerous risks. Her last rollback shaved precious seconds off their time as they galloped down the last line to fly through the timers in 38.620 seconds, which would ultimately secure a second place finish.
Second to last to ride, Michael Burnett (USA) entered the ring prepared to challenge Williams’ lead aboard his own Chagrand, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding. The duo was on track to win, slicing through the verticals and leaving all of the rails intact, but their pace was not quite enough to catch up to Williams (USA). The pair tripped the timers in a clear 38.979 seconds for the third place prize.
Just prior to the $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix, the $7,500 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Jumper class took place under the stadium lights. Lucy Matz and Jillz, a 7-year-old KWPN mare owned by Dorothy Matz, were first to jump clear in the class with a time of 70.186 seconds. Kristin Glover and her own Eyecatcher, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, were the last of four to go in the class. Glover flew through the course, managing to keep pace with Matz’s time but ultimately knocked a rail, putting the duo in second place and leaving Matz to take home the win and earn champion in the $7,500 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Jumper.
Competition at the Devon Fall Classic will wrap up on Sunday, Sept. 19, with the remainder of the weekend’s jumper Champions being crowned, and a demonstration by the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy (PURA) taking place at the end of the day.
Winner’s Circle – Kaitlyn Williams (USA) $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Winner
On Cassio Melloni:
“I got him last October, so it’s been almost a year. He is just incredible. There’s really not much else to say because he’s just too good to me. He’s quite simple to ride but the funny thing is that he’s quite lazy. He’d rather just stay home and eat but he’s unbelievable.”
On her rounds:
“We did the Welcome Stake on Thursday so he has already been in the ring, but today it was a little bit different. The first line we were planning to do eight [strides] but jumped up quite high and a little bit slower on the first jump so I did nine instead. I thought the next line came up nice and then for the diagonal line, he jumped the triple great. I got a little carried away trying to slow down to the red and he really saved me. He jumped the rest great. In the jump off, all I really have to do is kick and he does the rest. I jumped one great and he saved me at jump four a little bit and I almost went by it. The combination came out quite perfect and then I just kept kicking to the green and he saved me again at the liverpool. I came up a little short in the turn and just ran to the last. He’s just an unbelievable horse.”
On the environment:
“He’s really experienced and has shown a ton over in Europe and then he came over [to North America]. When I got him he was out of work because Covid had hit and everything kind of stopped and he just got put on the back burner. I got really lucky being able to purchase him and put him back into work. This is my first time showing in a class with this kind of environment besides on Thursday, but it was nowhere near this exciting.”
On her future plans:
“He’s going to have a little bit of a break. He’s not going to be shown until Harrisburg. During the winter we go to Ocala and I plan on bringing him to show a couple of times. I try not to overdo it with him. He’s experienced so he doesn’t really need to practice jumping or anything.”
Final Results – $25,000 Devon Fall Classic
Place / Rider / Horse / R 1 Faults / R 2 Faults | R 2 Time
1) Kaitlyn Williams (USA) & Cassio Melloni – 0 / 0 – 36.826
2) Grace Long (AUS) & Happiness VD Hazel HOF – 0 / 0 – 38.62
3) Michael Burnett (USA) & Chagrand – 0 / 0 – 38.979
4) Abigail MC Ardle (USA) & Victorio 5 – 0 / 0 – 39.172
5) Summer Hill (USA) & La Belle SCF – 0 / 0 – 39.504
6) Jordan Kilkenny (IRL) & Morton V’T Merelsnest – 0 / 0 – 49.979
7) Cassandra Kahle (CAN) & Giana – 0 / 4 – 40.933
8) Dominique Damico (USA) & Cadans Z – 0 / 4 – 43.306
9) Sarah Wayda (USA) & Fantom – 0 / 8 – 45.864
10) Douglas King (USA) & Main Line Girl – 2 / 74.153
Source: Press Release by Cassidy Klein / Phelps Media Group for Devon Fall Classic
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Emma Miller / Cassidy Klein