Laura Chapot and Calafornia Kick Off 2021 Devon Fall Classic with $5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake Victory

Devon, Pa. – Sept. 16, 2021 – Competition returned to the Devon Horse Show’s iconic Dixon Oval on Thursday, welcoming exhibitors on the opening day of the 2021 Devon Fall Classic. Hosted at the Devon Horse Show and County Fair Grounds, the annual show offers fun, interactive events for adults and children alike, making it a truly community oriented weekend. The highlight class of the day, the $5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake, concluded with a victory for Laura Chapot and Calafornia, who were unbeatable with their speedy, double clear rounds.

Laura Chapot and Calafornia
Laura Chapot and Calafornia

Course designer Eric Hasbrouck of Bedford, New York, fashioned an 11-obstacle course that challenged the field of competitors to showcase their speed and adjustability to take home the top prize. Taking athletes and their horses on a winding tour around the expansive arena, the course featured two double combinations, in addition to a long bending line to a stone vertical-oxer that ended jump-off hopes for several pairs.

The horse-and-rider combinations tried their hand at navigating Hasbrouck’s course, with ten qualifying for the immediate jump-off. It was Cassandra Kahle and Giana, a 10-year-old warmblood mare owned by Isabelle LaPierre, who would be the pathfinders, setting the pace to beat at 33.309 seconds in the second round.  Chapot soon bested Kahle’s time aboard Calafornia, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Mary Chapot, stopping the clock in 30.962 seconds, which sent her to the top of the leaderboard.

Laura Chapot and Calafornia
Laura Chapot and Calafornia

Grace Long had her eye on the prize when she entered the ring with Happiness VD Hazel Hof, a 9-year-old KWPN mare owned by G&T Equestrian. Long and Happiness VD Hazel Hof gave their second round everything they had, dashing through the timers in 31.333 seconds, just a fraction of a second slower than Chapot’s time to finish in second place.

Grace Long and Happiness VD Hazel Hof
Grace Long and Happiness VD Hazel Hof

Matthias Hollberg and Get Gaudi were able to lay down a clear jump-off round as well, but their time would not be fast enough to beat Chapot’s. While they were able to finish without fault, their time of 31.729 seconds around the jump-off track would fall just behind the Chapot’s and Long’s, and the pair settled for a third-place finish, while Kahle would round out the top four.

Matthias Hollberg and Get Gaudi
Matthias Hollberg and Get Gaudi

Prior to the kick-off of the Welcome Stake, the $750 7-Year-Old 1.35m Young Jumpers took to the ring. The first of four to qualify for the jump off was Devin Ryan and his very own Ascalitta SBK Z, a 7-year-old Zangersheide mare. The duo had a strong lead until Gracie Allen and Jelster Van Stal Romano, a 7-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Gracie Allen LLC, took to the ring and were able to navigate the course with a clear time of 36.895 seconds, to take over the lead. Putting in their best effort, Lucy Matz and Jillz, a 7-year-old KWPN mare owned by Dorothy Matz, were able to produce a clear and quick enough round to edge them into second place. Rounding out the top three was Seth Vallhonrat and his own Electrico, a 7-year-old warmblood gelding with a time of 42.212 seconds.

Gracie Allen and Jelster Van Stal Romano
Gracie Allen and Jelster Van Stal Romano

Earlier in the day, Devin Ryan and Laisha W, a 5-year-old KWPN mare owned by LL Show Jumpers LLC. clinched a win in the $750 5-Year-Old 1.20m Young Jumpers. Sima Morgello and Kilimanjaro SMH, a 5-year-old KWPN gelding also owned by LL Show Jumpers LLC., were clear to claim the $750 6-Year-Old 1.30m Young Jumpers victory.

Jumper competition will resume at the Devon Fall Classic on Friday, Sept. 17, featuring the $5,000 Speed Stake, as well as the Thoroughbred Jumper Championship and the $1,000 High Junior/Amateur Jumpers.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Laura Chapot – $5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake Winner

On Calafornia:
“I’ve had this horse for a number of years. He’s been a circuit champion at the [Winter Equestrian Festival] the last two years in the 1.40m and he’s won a few grand prixs. We get along really well and he’s my kind of horse and we now have a very close bond.”

On future plans:
“He’s going to do the class tomorrow night and we’ll see whether we do Saturday night or not. It’s a little quick for me just starting out, but if it all feels good and everything looks good tomorrow then we’ll think about it.”

On the course:
“I think the course was a very fair test and it was a very nice course for the Welcome. It actually worked out that it went under the lights, which was a nice introduction for the horses so that we get a little bit of a feeling for the class on Saturday and how they will react to those.”

On Devon Horse Shows:
“There’s always so much atmosphere at Devon and it’s really nice to see today, even on a Thursday, that there’s a lot of people that have come out to watch and hang around. This show in particular is a lot of fun and a lot of local people like to come out here. The show also caters to all of the levels in the jumpers and with just the jumper ring going it’s a lot easier to focus on what you’re doing.”

Gracie Allen – $750 7-Year-Old 1.35m Young Jumpers

On Jelster Van Stal Romano:
“He is a 7-year-old KWPN gelding. I’ve had him for a few months now. I got him at the beginning of May this year so it’s a pretty new partnership. He’s definitely one of the nicest horses I’ve ever had and I’m extremely excited about his potential.”

On the course:
“The height I think was great for the 7-year-olds and it was a good test. With this ring, there’s not a huge crowd but we had enough people and the liverpool, you know, things horses find spooky. It’s a lot for them to look at and I think I was the only rider that didn’t do the same course in previous classes. So I got to walk the course but not the jump off so I kind of just had an idea in my head. I really loved this course and think it’s very well designed.”

On her upcoming plans:
“After this show the horses will have a bit of a rest. He just went to the Hampton Classic. I don’t think that I’ll be doing any indoor shows. I’ll probably just go to Princeton and show there and then we’ll head to Florida in November.”

RESULTS

$5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake
Place / Horse / Rider / R 1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Calafornia / Laura Chapot / 0 / 67.069 / 0 | 30.962
2. Happiness VD Havel HOF / Grace Long / 0 / 65.032 / 0 | 31.333
3. Get Gaudi / Matthias Hollberg / 0 / 68.670 / 0 | 31.729
4. Pyrenes De Louzes / Cassandra Kahle / 0 / 70.865 / 0 | 34.209
5. Kilmastulla Quality Touch / Matthias Hollberg / 0 / 71.050 / 4 | 30.340
6. Cadans Z / Dominique Damico / 0 / 71.534 / 4 | 30.829
7. E-Gitalica Z / Oliver McCarthy / 0 / 69.534 / 0 | 31.280
8. La Belle SCF / Summer Hill / 0 / 70.769 / 4 | 32.815
9. Giana / Cassandra Kahle / 0 / 70.546 / 4 | 33.309
10. Cassio Melloni / Kaitlyn Williams / 0 / 67.398 / 8 | 28.793
11. Morton V’T Merelsnest / Jordan Kilkenny / 0 / 70.833 / 8 | 30.668
12. Emeraldo / Cassandra Kahle / 4 | 68.404

$750 7-Year-Old 1.35m Young Jumpers
Place / Horse / Rider / R 1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Gracie Allen / Jelster Van Stal  / 0 / 64.629 / 0 | 36.895
2. Lucy Matz / Jillz / 0 / 68.307 / 0 | 37.230
3. Seth Vallhonrat / Electrico / 0 / 69.832 / 0 | 42.212
4. Devin Ryan / Ascalitta SBK Z / 0 / 62.060 / 4 | 36.179
5. Dominique Damico / Jamaica / 4 | 66.853
6. Eleanor Kunsman / Jermaine HX / 4 | 70.091
7. August Torsilieri / Colourfly / 8 | 69.979
8. Devin Ryan / ‘L Etait Une Fois A R.  / 16 | 71.389

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