A week into the country's premier horse show, the stars will come out to play Thursday night in Devon.

For the 40th time, the Sapphire Grand Prix will be contested at the Devon Horse Show, bringing some of the world's top riders to the Dixon Oval at 8 p.m. along with what is expected to be a sold-out crowd. The marquee competition of the 11-day event, Devon's Grand Prix is named in memory of Sapphire, the longtime riding partner of McLain Ward.

But Ward, the world's top-ranked American, is just one of many in a crowded field that is expected to include four of the country's five best riders. Beezie Madden, Devin Ryan and Margie Engle are expected to compete alongside internationals such as Israel's Daniel Bluman and Ireland's Kevin Babington, a native of Gwynedd Valley.

"Tomorrow's Grand Prix will be one of the best Devon classes there has been in a long time," Bluman said via text Wednesday. "This year, the top American based riders made it a priority to come, and it's important to support the events that put up good sport and atmosphere."

The stakes will be raised again as the total prize money has increased to $250,000 — a $25,000 increase from last year.