World of Showjumping
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Ali Wolff captures first Devon international victory in Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake

Wednesday, 30 May 2018
CSI4* Devon Horse Show 2018

Photo (c) The Book LLC. Ali Wolff with Casall. Photo (c) The Book LLC.

The Dixon Oval welcomed its first international show jumping competition at the 2018 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair on Tuesday evening with the $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI4*, sponsored by 5R Farms LLC – Helen Rich. Thirty-two horses and athletes went head-to-head for the first place prize, but it was USA’s Ali Wolff who risked it all to come away with her first Devon jumper win aboard Blacklick Bend Farm’s Casall.

“I was going to be happy with sixth place. I saw Kevin [Babington] go and I saw a few others go and I just decided I would be happy with my results as long as I was double-clean. I just kept seeing the nice distances — the forward ones. As the course went on, I let him go a little bit more and a little bit more. The whole way around, I actually didn’t think I was going super fast. I know that I had nice turns, but he takes a lot of time in the air. I thought at best I would look up at the clock and have a fifth place time so tonight was definitely a shocker," Wolff says after her win. 

Eleven combinations returned to compete over Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge’s shortened track. Of the 11, nine finished double-clear.

The top spot on the leaderboard changed hands continuously with the first four challengers in the jump-off, but that stopped with fourth in the order Daniel Bluman, riding for Israel, and Bacara D’Archonfosse, owned by Alexa Schwitzer. They jumped clear and posted a time of 36.16 seconds to take the lead, which they held for the majority of the class.

“I think if I had gone after Ali [in the jump-off], I couldn’t have beaten her. She was really fast. Today, my strategy was to just stick to my plan. I’m jumping the mare again in the grand prix on Thursday so I thought I’d executed the course the way that I wanted. Ali killed it. I felt like it was 10 years ago in the Low Junior Jumpers, where she was impossible to beat. Great job to Ali. She really won the class well, regardless of who came after or before her," Bluman says. 

Ireland’s Kevin Babington and his own Mark Q, who are no strangers to the winner’s circle at the Devon Horse Show having won the Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon two times already, rode to a quick time of 36.61 seconds, just missing Bluman’s time and sliding behind him in the standings.

“I am very pleased with [Mark Q]. I thought his first round was one of the nicer rounds he has ever jumped in this ring. He was relaxed, felt soft and I was very pleased with how he jumped. In the jump-off, I had a hard rub at the first jump, the double rode well and I think that I lost a little bit of time on the turn to the skinny fence. I watched Ali’s round and every turn just came up so naturally for her. She rode a super round. Even if I had less errors in the jump-off, I think Ali still would have been the winner tonight," Babington explains after the class. 

Yet it was second to last to go, Wolff, who executed a flawless double-clear performance with the 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding, to take the win in 35.73 seconds, garnering Bluman second place honors and Babington third place.

Twenty-eight-year-old Wolff originally acquired Casall with the intent of being her first sales horse in 2012 at 7 years old, however, six years later, the two are still competing together and have grown to be top competitors on the international show jumping scene, including representing the U.S. in multiple Nations Cup competitions. After finishing in second place on what feels like countless occasions, Wolff was thrilled to finally claim a victory and the Sylvester L. Quigley Memorial Challenge Trophy in the Dixon Oval with her veteran partner.

FEI competition will resume on Wednesday with the $35,000 Devon International Speed Stake CSI4* at 7 p.m., while the week’s main event, the $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, will be held on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

Source: Press release from Phelps Sports / Photo (c) The Book LLC. 

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