Devon, Pa. – Sept. 17, 2021 – Competition at the 2021 Devon Fall Classic returned to the Dixon Oval on Friday, with the $5,000 Speed Stake exhibitors taking center stage. The first of the weekend’s evening events, the atmosphere was electric as the stadium lights lit the ring and spectators and fans gathered to watch the field of top talent vie for the class’ honors. In the end, it was Laura Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman who topped the leaderboard with the quickest time to take home the victory.
Course designer Eric Hasbrouck set forth a track fit for the 1.40m Speed Stake competition, offering a 12-obstacle course to whittle down the field of athletes. Nineteen horse-and-rider combinations took to the course, which asked new questions of the riders, testing their speed and agility through a technical combination, a liverpool fence and long bending lines.
Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5, a 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Victorio Equine Group LLC, held an early lead in the class, tackling the course in a speedy 69.688 seconds with just one rail down on the course. The pair was unbeatable until Chapot entered the ring on her second mount of the night, Diarado’s Flying Dutchman. Chapot and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Mary Chapot set the clear pace to beat, wearing a target on their back after jumping up to the top spot on the leaderboard with a time of 67.977 seconds and all the rails intact.
Going into the ring shortly after Chapot, Summer Hill and La Belle SCF, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Andrea Simpson, knew they would have to give it their all if they wanted to stand a chance against the other competitors. The duo tried to catch up with Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman, but they finished just a second shy of the time with a clear effort in 68.704 seconds to take over the second place position.
Cassandra Kahle and Emeraldo, an 8-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Hannah Matts, also gave it their best shot but were not quite able to overtake Chapot’s lightning fast time. Though her tactful efforts would not push her into the lead, her time of 77.579 seconds would be good enough to land them a third place finish. Hill and La Belle SCF were able to maintain the second place position as the night drew to a close, while Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman emerged victorious with the first place ribbon and a victory gallop around the Dixon Oval.
Prior to the $5,000 Speed Stake, Lucy Matz and her mare, Bailey VI, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Dorothy Matz, steered to the top of the leaderboard in the $1,000 High Junior/Amateur Jumper with a time of 60.436 seconds. Lucy was the fastest of the combinations and the first to go in the class. She also closed out the class aboard her second ride, Jillz, a 7-year-old KWPN mare owned by Dorothy Matz, with a time of 62.539 seconds, letting her walk away with a first and third place finish in the class.
Kicking off Friday morning, Meredith Till and Will Scarlet, a 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Neal Shapiro, mastered Eric Hadbrouck’s course as part of the ever popular Thoroughbred jumper division. The duo went fault free in their first round with a time of 64.161 seconds. Returning for the jump off, Till and Scarlet were able to master the liverpool and the course’s difficult combination that proved challenging to several other riders. With another fault free round and time of 38.799 seconds, the pair earned the blue ribbon as well as the Thoroughbred Jumper Championship.
Will Scarlet was purchased by Hay Fever Farm at an auction and has become a trusted and talented jumper during his time there. Able to take riders of multiple skill levels around a course, the gelding will also be piloted by another rider in jumper classes this weekend following his Thoroughbred division championship win. Till explained she was pleased by Will Scarlet’s demeanor in the large Dixon Oval with such a large atmosphere, and looks forward to racking up more ribbons over the remainder of the show.
Jumper competition will resume at the Devon Fall Classic on Saturday, Sept. 18, featuring the $25,000 Fall Classic, as well as the $7,500 Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHF) High Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper class.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Laura Chapot – $5,000 Speed Stake Winner
On Diarado’s Flying Dutchman:
“I’m still trying to get to know him because last year with Covid, I didn’t get to do a whole lot with him. This is his first time at Devon and I was unsure about what he was gonna think about being under the lights. I’m sure he’s never been under lights like this before with a crowd and I thought he remained very focused, he jumped even better than yesterday. He really took to the ring and I think he was really starting to enjoy himself and let loose even more than before.”
On how the course rode:
“I saw that people were trying to navigate the course really fast and it’s always a bit of a shock to the horses with the lights. Everything just looks very different with a crowd especially going towards the fair area. Any jumps that are going in that direction, they tend to back off and get a little spooky. I think towards the end of the class people decided to take a little more time and just really try for the clear round. Once some of the horses are more acclimated to this environment than you can put the pedal to the medal, but I think for tonight you had to be a little more careful.”
On the Grand Prix:
“I will for sure be doing the Grand Prix with him [Diarado’s Flying Dutchman]. We’re going to think about the other horse [Calafornia]. He got a little bit backed off and he’s super careful so I think we’re going to think about it.”
Meredith Till – $1,000 Thoroughbred Jumper Stake Winner
On Will Scarlet:
“Will Scarlet has been with Hay Fever Farm for a long time. They got him from an auction and brought him back. He has been an absolutely phenomenal horse. He’s the type of horse that will take anyone around. My ride, 90% of it was him.”
On her ride:
“I didn’t realize they left the liverpool in the arena until I went in the ring but he was really good. The six [stride] was a little bit longer than I thought the first time. The bending eight [stride] to the combination was not as challenging as I anticipated it being probably because Will knew what was going on and helped me out.”
On showing at Devon Fall:
“It’s kind of surreal. I wasn’t anticipating it really. We were going to Devon and I was going to show Will because there’s another girl that also shows him, so I rode him in the Thoroughbreds and the other girl will show him this weekend. It’s a ton of fun here.”
On future plans:
“We’re going back to New Jersey so we’ll do a couple [shows] in New Jersey. We were talking about going to one of the World Equestrian Center shows in the winter but other than that we’re just going to see how it goes.”
$5,000 Speed Stake
Place / Horse / Rider / R 1 Faults | R1 Time
1. Diarado’s Flying Dutchman / Laura Chapot / 0 | 67.977
2. La Belle SCF / Summer Hill / 0 | 68.704
3. Emeraldo / Cassandra Kahle / 2 | 77.579
4. Dekato / Christian Coyle / 4 | 65.272
5. Victorio 5 / Abigail Mc Ardle / 4 | 69.688
6. Adare Ya To / Alexandra Hird / 4 | 70.236
7. Fantom / Sarah Wayda / 5 | 76.705
8. Heviola / Cassandra Kahle / 6 | 77.579
9. Locato Van Het Kapelhof / Christian Coyle / 8 | 63.67
10. Romantica Hastak / Dominique Damico / 8 | 72.608
11. Nessaja / Seth Vallhonart / 14 | 81.233
12. Carmen De Bonnieres / Conor O’Regan / 16 | 70.334
$1,000 High Junior/Amateur Jumper
Place / Horse / Rider / R 1 Faults | R1 Time
1. Bailey Vi / Lucy Matz / 0 | 60.436
2. Eyecatcher / Kristin Glover / 0 | 68.649
3. Jillz / Lucy Matz / 4 | 62.539
4. Dalton De La Fresniere / Luke Sassi / 8 | 61.493
5. Bahia Mouche / Melissa Strawser | Eliminated