Chris Talley and Sandro’s Star Capture $50,000 Devon Arena Eventing Competition
Sunday night at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair saw the $50,000 Devon Arena Eventing, presented by Salt Works, take place for the second year in a row, after an extremely successful inaugural year in 2017. The competition utilized both the Dixon Oval and the Wheeler Ring and highlighted two out of three disciplines that make up three-day eventing: cross country and stadium jumping. Twenty-eight horse-and-rider combinations took to the ring to compete for the title, but it was Chris Talley and Sandro’s Starwho ultimately put in two clear rounds to take home the top prize of the evening.
Famed course designer Captain Mark Phillips constructed the 26-obstacle course for the second year in a row. The course highlighted the most challenging elements in cross-country, including corner obstacles and skinny brushes, while also incorporating the best of show jumping including a triple bar fence and liverpool vertical. During the first round of competition, the course required riders to travel from the Dixon Oval over nine fences before continuing on to the Wheeler Ring and then ending the course back in the Dixon Oval. The second round of competition was limited to just the Dixon Oval and saw the top 12 athletes return.
Talley first entered the ring on another mount, long-time partner Unmarked Bills, but ultimately fell victim to fallen rails throughout the course. Later on, Talley and Sandro’s Star, an Oldenburg stallion owned by Talley’s business partner and close friend, Hannah Salazaar, put in a flawless clear round by keeping a swift pace that would keep them under the time-allowed, which caused many problems for athletes throughout the evening. Talley was last to go in the second round of competition and needed to put in a fault-free round in order to overtake first place, which he did in a time of 78.26 seconds.
Talley and Sandro’s Star have been partnered together for just over a year. The stallion is no stranger to winning at the Devon showgrounds, having won Champion Stallion and Highscore Born in the USA during the 2017 Dressage at Devon event in addition to winning USEA 2017 Stallion of the Year. The pair will try their hand at CCI3* events in the near future, including Great Meadows International. “He’s very new. We were laughing about it last week…we got the opportunity to buy him and I took around five months getting to know him and then took him in the Prelim level in 2017. He then went to the 2* level and just did his first Advanced CIC3* this year,” said Talley. “He’s the ultimate event horse—fancy on the flat and a good show jumper. He’s super brave cross country.”
Second place was stolen by Devon Arena Eventing defending champion Sarah Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’ysieux, an 11-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by Rubens D’ysieux Syn. LLC. The pair also put in two fast, clear rounds that would put the pressure on Talley to produce yet another flawless round. In third place was eventing star Phillip Dutton and his first mount of the night, Sportsfield Candy, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.
The Devon Arena Eventing competition was met with the highest standards and was supported by top riders across the nation. The Devon Horse Show was thrilled to offer arena eventing for the second year in a row and looks forward to hosting more new events in the future as well as continuing on with the classic traditions it is famously known for.