Devon, Pennsylvania, USA. – May 31, 2022 – International show jumping competition kicked off at the 2022 Devon Horse Show Tuesday, May 31, welcoming a field of talented athletes and their mounts to the iconic Dixon Oval for the $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI 4*. Out of the 22 starters representing six different nations, just nine navigated clear efforts to advance to the jump off. At the conclusion of the class, it was Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza and her very own mount Play who emerged victorious to take home the Devon blue.
Olaf Peterson, Jr. (GER) set forth a challenging 15-fence first round track fit for the talent of the competitors. A triple bar, a few challenging combinations and a tight time-allowed required the pairs to ride smart around the Dixon Oval if they were to add their names to the jump off order. At the conclusion of the first round, nine horses and riders were clear and ready to vie for the blue, including Mimi Gochman (USA), Jessica Mendoza (GBR), Ali Wolff (USA), Paul O’Shea (IRL), Amanda Derbyshire (GBR), McLain Ward (USA), Catherine Tyree(USA), Zayna Rizvi (USA) and Grace Debney (GBR).
Returning for the shortened 8-fence jump-off track, which asked new questions of the athletes including a winding track featuring numerous opportunities to take rollback turns and shave time off the clock, it was 17-year-old Mimi Gochman (USA) who set the pace for the remaining competitors. Putting the heat on the rest of the pack, Gochman and Celina BH, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, cleared the track with ease, crossing the beams in 38.66 seconds.
The crowd immediately saw a new leader as Jessica Mendoza (GBR) finished three seconds faster than Gochman, stopping the clocks quick and clear in 35.79 seconds.
Ali Wolff (USA) and Blacklick Bend Farm’s Casall suffered an unfortunate refusal on course, leading them to finish on 4 faults in a time of 35.64 seconds.
Though clear through the track, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Imerald Van’t Voorhof fell just short of the leading spot, moving into the second position on a time of 37 seconds. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Cornwall BH, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, had one knock down on course, settling for 4 penalty-points and a time of 39.12 seconds.
McLain Ward (USA) and Beechwood Stables LLC’s Contagious were left out of contention for the top spot after an unfortunate elimination. Catherine Tyree (USA) piloted Catherine Tyree LLC’s BEC Lorenzo to a fault-free effort in 37.65 seconds, good enough to slip into the third place position. Zayna Rizvi (USA) and Exquise du Pachis, owned by Optimus Agro NV, also managed to leave all of the rails intact, falling short of a top finish for their time of 38.24 seconds. As the final rider on course, Grace Debney (GBR) stopped the clock clear in 38.73 seconds with Zarina de Vidau, but not quite fast enough to unseat Mendoza.
In the end, no one could catch Jessica Mendoza’s (GBR) swift effort, showcasing her at the forefront of the victory gallop at the conclusion of the class. Paul O’Shea (IRL) held his second place position, with Catherine Tyree (USA) rounding out the top three. Tuesday evening marked the first FEI win for Jess and Play since their partnership began one year ago, and she spoke highly of his talent and scope. She looks forward to taking the 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding to Europe next week to aim for Nations Cup competitions and represent Great Britain throughout the summer.
Winner’s Circle – Jessica Mendoza – $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake Winner
“We’ve been together about a year now. He is my best horse, my grand prix horse. I plan to take him to Europe in a week to do Nations Cup classes there. I didn’t really expect him to quite as fast as he was today, I think I turned super tight and he was great. He is going to do the [Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*] and then maybe the [Devon Speed Derby] Saturday as well. We will see how the grand prix goes. Since the day I got him, we jumped a big class straight away. He has been amazing and the bravest horse I’ve ever had. He’s so scopey. It’s nice to go and know no matter what height comes toward me he is going to get to the other side and it’s a nice feeling.”
On the jump-off:
“I think I had an advantage of going early. I had the good ground and if I had watched everyone I may have tried to go even faster. I wasn’t aware of how quick I was until I watched everyone else. I think that helped me somehow. I think it was the tight turns that won it for me.”
On the Devon Horse Show:
“The courses were great. I thought it was a really perfect course and got the right amount of clear rounds. The time was good. It was my first time here so it was amazing to compete. I’ve never been and the atmosphere is already great on day one.”
Final Results – $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI 4*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country /Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Time | R2 Faults
1. Jessica Mendoza (GBR) & Play / Jessica Mendoza / 0 / 71.17 / 0 | 35.79
2. Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Imerald Van’t Voorhof / Equestrian Farm & Imerald Partners LLC / 0 / 69.82 / 0 | 37.00
3. Catherine Tyree (USA) & BEC Lorenzo / Catherine Tyree LLC / 0 / 71.41 / 0 | 37.65
4. Zayna Rizvi (USA) & Exquisite du Pachis / 0 / 72.33 / 0 | 38.24
5. Mimi Gochman (USA) & Celina BH / / Gochman Sporthorse LLC / 0 / 71.1 / 0 | 38.66
6. Grace Debney (GBR) & Zarina De Vidau / / 0 / 71.66 / 0 | 38.72
7. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) & Cornwall BH / Gochman Sport Horse LLC 0 / 71.11 / 4 | 39.12
8. Ali Wolff (USA) & Casall / Blacklick Bend Farm / 0 / 71.87 / 4 | 45.64
9. McLain Ward (USA) & Contagious / Beechwood Stables LLC / 0 / 72.65 / ELIM
10. Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) & Cristalline / / Starlight Farms 1 LLC / 2 / 74.5
11. Lucy Deslauriers (USA) & Enada / Luja LLC / 4 / 68.47
12. Laura Chapot (USA) & Chandon Blue / Mary Chapot / 4 | 68.64
Source: Press Release Allyson Lagiovane / Phelps Media Group for the Devon Horse Show & Country Fair
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Emma Miller