Devon, PA – September 14, 2017 – The 2017 Devon Fall Classic kicked off Thursday morning with the makings to be a jumpers’ paradise, offering athletes in every class a shot at the prize money with their trips around the famed Dixon Oval. Oliver McCarthy and MHS Automatic enjoyed a strong start to the weekend as the leading pair in the $5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake, while Cynthia McGrath and Quinaro have similar reason to celebrate, capping off the first day of competition victorious in the $1,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class.
The feature event of the evening, the $5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake attracted a strong field of entries to the ring, each hoping to top the leaderboard as the quickest clean and clear ride over the 1.40m fences. Fending off the rest of the field to claim the top spot was McCarthy and MHS Automatic, owned by Cerulean Stables, LLC, with their blazing time of 28.806 seconds in the jumpoff to claim the blue ribbon and the lion’s share of the purse nearly 2 seconds ahead of the next-closest competitor. Laura Chapot and Thornhill Kate, owned by Mary and Laura Chapot, rode to the early lead in the class, leaving all the rails in their cups with a second round time of 30.450 seconds, and it appeared that their marks would retain the lead as subsequent competitors consistently broke the beam too slowly to catch them. As the second-to-last to go in the class, McCarthy and MHS Automatic entered the ring with Chapot and Thornhill Kate still holding the lead, but ultimately shattered their time, tripping the timers in a quick 28.806 seconds to finish as the fastest double clean of the evening.
Originally from Ireland, 23-year old McCarthy has made quite a name for himself in his home country and abroad since winning the Young Rider Bursary competition at the 2013 Dublin Horse Show. Only 19 years old then, he earned a chance to ride and train in the United States for two weeks with international competitor McLain Ward, who was so impressed that he offered McCarthy a job riding sales horses and young horses, a job which ultimately lasted three years. At the beginning of this year, McCarthy made the move to work for fellow Irishman Kevin Babington out of his Pennsylvania-based farm, and he has continued to impress. McCarthy has only been consistently in the irons aboard MHS Automatic since this summer, but the pair have already achieved considerable success together, most recently earning multiple top placings at the Fieldstone Summer Showcase in Massachusetts. As if his own accomplishments were not enough to earn him a spot in the limelight, McCarthy is also cousins with Greg Broderick, who represented Ireland in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with MHS Going Global, and contributed to McCarthy’s riding skills as one of his early mentors.
Chapot and Thornhill Kate, owned by Mary and Laura Chapot, finished in the reserve position in the $5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake with their clear jump-off ride in 30.450 seconds, followed by Willie Tynan and KEC City Limits, owned by Red Barn Farm, LLC, who ended on a clean time of 31.260 seconds to round out the top three positions.
Junior and amateur riders took their turns around the Dixon Oval earlier in the afternoon in the $1,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, with McGrath ultimately sweeping the top two spots aboard Quinaro and Caruso, respectively. McGrath and the 18.1hh Quinaro, owned by Mapledale Associates, LLC, led the class as the first to go and laid down a strong start with a clear first round. The pair stayed in the ring to complete the jump-off and finished with a downed rail and 2 time faults to set the standard at 6 cumulative faults, which proved strong enough to maintain the class lead as their counterparts fell victim to the technical course. The early leaders impressively finished as the only duo to qualify for the jump-off with a clear initial trip. Though McGrath could Cynthia McGrath with Quinaronot match her success with Quinaro, she piloted the grey Caruso, owned by Wynnwood Farm, LLC, to the next-best ride of the class with one rail knocked from its cups to clinch the reserve spot ahead of the rest of the pack. Jesse Smith and her own Charles Pinckney Windsor Z finished in third position behind McGrath’s two mounts.
Jumper action at the 2017 Devon Fall Classic will continue for three more days, concluding Sunday Sept. 17, 2017. With every class of the weekend boasting prize money, competition will not be in short supply with nearly $100,000 up for the taking between the divisions. The highlight event, the $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix, will take place Saturday evening.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Oliver McCarthy – $5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake 1.40m Champion
On riding MHS Automatic:
“He is a fantastic horse and I am very lucky to have him. My cousin Greg Boderick had him two years ago and won several ranking classes with him in Europe and was extremely successful. He sold the horse to Amanda Forte and her mother Elizabeth, and since Amanda is expecting a baby, Greg organized for me to help compete her horses while she is expecting. It’s just such a gift to have him to compete. Every single day you bring MHS Automatic out of the stall he is a winner and he gives you 100 percent.”
On his successes this summer:
“This summer alone has been fantastic and I want to take the opportunity to thank my cousin, Greg [Broderick], for always being there for me since I was young and giving me this incredible opportunity. My brother Darragh has also been extremely helpful to me, and I am really grateful to him as well as Amanda and her mother Elizabeth and Kevin Babington. I feel like I am in such a good place at the moment and I recognize how lucky I am and I just feel very grateful.”
On living and training in the United States:
“I came over here three years ago after winning a young rider class at the Dublin Horse Show and was awarded the opportunity to train with McLain Ward for two weeks. After the two weeks was over he offered me a job as a rider and I accepted. His program has been a huge help to me as a rider. His discipline and his system is part of my own practices now and I hope I can maintain that moving forward.”
On Showing at Devon:
“I really like being here. The rings are fantastic and the show is run so well. It’s just a real pleasure to come here.”
Cynthia McGrath – $1,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Champion
On her two horses in the class:
“Quinaro is 18.1hh and he is 12 years old. It is really special to be showing him here because last year we almost lost him to an intestinal virus. He was off all winter and then I showed him in Vermont, the Hampton Classic, and here, so he has only just getting back into it. It’s very special to be able to show him again. My grey horse [Caruso], I have had him for two years and I feel like we are really developing a partnership and it is starting to work really well for him. He is 10 years old.”
On what caused her to win the class:
“I think that I got kind of lucky because I did hit several rails out there and they managed to stay up, so I think that I just had luck on my side today. I thought the orange oxer to the skinny vertical came up a lot quicker than it did when you walked it. Both of my horses got so deep that they crawled over it and that’s exactly where my luck came in.”
On competing at the Devon Fall Classic:
“I love this show. It is a first class show in every way, from what they do for the exhibitors to the course designing and the jumps and the ring and just being here at Devon. It’s just a first class event. It is so good for the horses because it isn’t crazy and it’s great for exhibitors because we actually have time to chat with one another and that really helps to make the atmosphere more fun.”
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / JO Time
$5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake 1.40m
1. Oliver McCarthy / MHS Automatic / Cerulean Stables, LLC / 0 / 0 / 28.806
2. Laura Chapot / Thornhill Kate / Mary & Laura Chapot / 0 / 0 / 30.450
3. Willie Tynan / KEC City Limits / Red Barn Farm, LLC / 0 / 0 / 31.260
4. Nikko Ritter / CNut / Wendy Dixon / 0 / 0 / 31.870
5. Willie Tynan / Fancy Girl / Michelle Guardino-Dettlebach / 0 / 4 / 34.530
6. Laura Chapot / Calafornia / Mary & Laura Chapot / 0 / 4 / 44.449
7. Laura Chapot / Zealous / Mary Chapot / 0 / 8 / 32.275
8. Brooke Kemper / Classified / Brooke Kemper / 4
9. Ibrahim Barazi / Softbeat / IB Stable / 4
10. Cian McDermott / Newcastle / Therese Bentley / 4
$1,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper
1. Cynthia McGrath / Quinaro / Mapledale Associates, LLC / 0 / 6 / 45.663
2. Cynthia McGrath / Caruso / Wynnwood Farm, LLC / 4
3. Jesse Smith / Charles Pinckney Windsor Z / Jesse Smith / 12
4. Adrienne Marciano / Laspari / Adrienne Marciano / 16
5. Gracie Allen / Mr. Darcy / Maureen Allen / 28
6. Saly Glassman / Z Adermie 56 / Kindle Hill Affiliates / 37
7. Saly Glassman / Argentino De Fee / Kindle Hill Affiliates / 41
For more information on the 2017 Devon Fall Classic, please click here.