Matthew Metell returned to familiar territory by winning the $10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake on Thursday, July 5, during the first of six weeks of competition at the 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival, which runs through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
The Vermont Summer Festival is a special place for Metell, 28, and his winning mount Donchalant after the mare carried him to the first grand prix victory of his career just one year ago during the first week of the 2017 season. The pair has returned to this year’s Vermont Summer Festival in the hopes of matching last year’s success.
“I love it here and it feels good to be back!” said Metell of Wellington, FL.
A total of 11 horses jumped clear over the course designed by Paul Jewell of Ewing, NJ, to advance to the jump-off. Three horses posted double-clear efforts with Metell and Donchalant crossing the timers in 32.29 seconds, more than five seconds ahead of the closest competition. Their performance bumped Jennifer Kocher of Chester, NY, into second place with a time of 37.72 seconds riding Carlos for owner and husband, Andrew Kocher. Representing a sizeable group of Canadian riders competing at the Vermont Summer Festival this year, Jennifer Mattell of Milton, ON, rounded out the top three in 39.10 seconds riding Quister, a 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding formerly ridden by 2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final winner Beezie Madden.
Jill Curtis of Deep River, CT, finished fourth riding E.S. Firobantos after incurring three time faults in the jump-off while Canada’s Alexanne Thibault of Boucherville, QC, rounded out the top five with the fastest four-fault effort in the jump-off, 38.40 seconds, riding Chacco Prime.
This summer marks the second year of Metell and Donchalant’s partnership. Previously campaigned internationally by Rodrigo Silva Morgado of Portugal, Donchalant was then imported by Theodore “Teddy” Demetriou from The Netherlands. Metell rides and works with Demetriou at Wolver Hollow based in Chester, NY.
“Over the past year I have learned that she’s got a lot of heart and she’s straight forward,” said Metell of the 10-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare (Larino x Amaretto I) owned by Wolver Hollow. “She’s my first horse at this level, but she’s the same every time I show her. She has let me make mistakes, learn a little bit, and come right back the next time ready to win.”
When asked about his blistering fast jump-off ride, Metell noted, “I feel like I know her like the back of my hand and I can get really neat and competitive in the jump-off now. The better you know the horse, the faster you can go!
“The new footing has been good this week and I really appreciated the work they put into it,” continued Metell, who will ride Donchalant in the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix on Saturday, July 7. “My goal for the season is to be consistent in these 1.45m grand prix classes and keep moving up to bigger tracks to get some more experience.”
In addition to his share of the prize money, Metell was awarded a show scrim by Mona's Monograms as well as $1,000 in Manchester Designer Outlets gift cards by Lana Hauben, President of Manchester Designer Outlets. Additionally, Hauben presented Kocher with a $250 gift certificate to Manchester Designer Outlet store Eileen Fisher in recognition of her second-place finish.
The Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition and the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont with more than $750,000 in prize money. The event is also a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2018 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting The Dorset School, Manchester Community Library, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
$10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake
Thursday, July 5, 2018
Rider Hometown Horse Faults/Time
1. Matthew Metell Wellington, FL Donchalant 0/0/32.29
2. Jennifer Kocher Chester, NY Carlos 0/0/37.72
3. Jennifer Mattell Milton, ON Quister 0/0/39.10
4. Jill Curtis Deep River, CT E.S. Firobantos 0/3/45.77
5. Alexanne Thibault Boucherville, QC Chacco Prime 0/4/38.40
6. Brenna Doherty Laurel Hollow, NY KM Whatever RV 0/4/39.27
7. Lainie Wimberly Ridgefield, CT RF Quarterman 0/4/41.86
8. Richard McGrath Hummelstown, PA Dundee 0/4/42.11
9. Hailey Rogge Lafayette, LA Flame van de Dassenloop 0/5/43.07
10. David Jennings Franklin, TN Gracieux van Seven Oak 0/8/38.14