Devon, Pa.—June 1
Autograph made his second trip to the Devon Horse Show count, winning his second consecutive $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the show with Hunt Tosh up. The horse put in two stellar rounds that received marks of 90 from judges Chris Wynne and Ralph Caristo, and coupled with 4 points in each round for jumping all the high options, it gave them a two-round total of 188.
The champions in the 3’9” green hunter division, Colin Syquia and Front Page, stayed consistent to finish second, ahead of 17-year-old Ariana Marnell and Ocean Road.
Watch Autograph’s handy round below courtesy of USEF Network.
Autograph, a 10-year-old warmblood of unrecorded breeding, jumped to a fifth-place classic round over Alan Lohman’s course. Coming back for Round 2, Tosh and Ceil Wheeler’s gelding stayed efficient, though there were no spots for creative turns or single long runs to show off a major gallop.
“You just had to follow the same path and be tidy,” said Tosh, Milton, Georgia. “I think it truly was a jumping contest today. They rewarded the horses that jumped well. You could be tidy and be smart about it, but otherwise no place had to do anything crazy tricky. It was nice for the quality hunters that all went in and jumped solid, good rounds.
“Colin’s horse was champion in the [3’9” green hunters] this week,” he added. “It kind of shows that hunters that do the regular division shined in the derby today. A really nice class.”
Tosh paired up with Autograph at the start of the 2020 season.
“He’s coming along,” he said. “He can be a little bit of a quirky horse about certain things. K.J. Pearson who works for me is amazing. He’s her horse. She spends hours with him. She sits in his stall and plays with him. He has stuffed animals he lives with. She spent a lot of time with him. He’s really coming around though to be confident. He used to be a little quirky in certain venues. But like I said last year was his first Devon, with it being cancelled the year before, and he won last year. This year he came in and felt so confident. He jumped great rounds all four trips in the high performance and obviously went well again today, so he’s getting pretty seasoned where it’s pretty simple for him.”
Syquia and Cynthia Sulzberger’s Front Page put in lovely jumping efforts over the course in both rounds.
“He was fantastic the first round,” said Syquia, Wellington, Florida. “I was really pleased. I also went in the middle of the pack a little bit earlier. He answered every question in the first round. Came back in the handy and he was maybe a little bit late to the first jump on the left jump, but after that he was awesome, just amazing.”
Tosh, aboard his two-time Platinum Performance/USHJA Derby Championship winner Cannon Creek, led after Round 1 after scoring a base mark of 92, but a stumble in the second round dropped them back to 10th.
Marnell, Las Vegas, came back ninth with Ocean Road and knew she couldn’t hold back if she wanted to move up.
“There was a ton of pressure to really step up, so coming into today with such a great field of horses and riders,” she said. “For the handy I was in ninth, so I was going to be as handy as I can and he’s a really handy horse. I can’t say how easy he is. Every turn he’s just right there. He’s really, really smart, so he handies well.”
Tosh joked that he’s used to sitting at derby press conferences but young guns like Marnell keep him on his toes.
“That’s what makes me nervous!” he said. “Colin and I have been sitting here side-by-side for a while now. She’s sneaking up really fast.”
The Chronicle will have photo galleries, stories about each day’s competition and so much more on www.coth.com. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Don’t forget to pick up copies of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine. Junior Weekend coverage will be found in the June 12 & 19 issue, and coverage of Senior Week will be in the June 26 issue.