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Richard Spooner repeats a win in the FEI Las Vegas Winning Round Classic

Sunday, 19 November 2017
CSI4*-W Las Vegas 2017

Photo (c) McCool. Richard Spooner and Arthos R. Photo (c) McCool.

In a class of thirty-three entries, Richard Spooner and 12-year-old stallion Arthos R (Namelus R x Mermus) galloped into the winner's circle in the $50,000 FEI 1.45m Winning Round Classic, presented by Park Place Foundation. Not only was this his second win of the week, it was also the second year in a row that he led the victory gallop in the Winning Round Classic at The Las Vegas National.

The course featured 16 jumping efforts, including a triple bar and one triple combination. With 25% of the class to return under FEI rules, ten returned with a clean slate, in reverse order of the slowest first round time to the fastest.

The second-round course included all the ingredients for a nail-biting finish - long gallops, big oxers, tight turns and tall verticals. Half of the returning riders posted clean rounds. Michelle Parker, first to go in the second round, set a clean and quick pace in 45.91 seconds. Karl Cook returned for the second round on Calliou (Casall x Corrado I) and posted the exact same time of 45.91 seconds! Only in Vegas...

The young and talented Jennifer Gates didn't let those odds take the top call. She broke that tie riding Alex (Arpeggio x Mon Cheri), taking the lead in a speedy 45.27 seconds. But it was the final rider to compete in the second round, Spooner aboard Arthos R, who stole the show, stopping the clock in 44.39 seconds for the win.

Spooner explained how he was able to cut almost a full second off Gates' time. "I was lucky to be able to practice the inside turn after 6B with Quirado RC (Quinar x Corrado I) [whom he also rode in the second round]. I executed the inside turn much better on Arthos. I also came out of the turn to the next oxer with more pace, which set up a nice turn for me to go out and around to get to the last fence of the jump-off. I knew that if I could get to the left side of the oxer I would be able to make the inside turn and end up with a faster time."

Spooner and Arthos R are a fairly new pairing, but the veteran rider is quite fond of the stallion. "I began riding him in May of this year. He was a little out of shape, but now his muscle tone has improved quite a bit. He's a very careful and scopey horse that is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, horse I've ever ridden. He's like riding an equitation horse over the 1.50m jumps. His future is very bright and he continues to improve as his fitness has increased and our relationship has become closer. He is a phenomenal horse." 

Displaying exemplary style with sportsmanlike composure, Catherine Tyree was honored as the recipient of the M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award at The 2017 Las Vegas National, CSI4*-W. Chosen unanimously by the voting panel, Tyree's quiet demeanor, devotion to the horse and style, from the beginning of the FEI jog to the end of this week's competition, lead to her win.

This award is presented annually to an international rider from the FEI division. Previous winners include notable athletes Laura Kraut, Charlie Jacobs, Chloe Reid, Alison Robitaille, Conor Swail, and Eric Navet. Navet was the inaugural winner of the West Coast award at last year's Las Vegas National.

Be sure not to miss tonight's $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas, presented by Interactive Mortgage, available via a live stream feed. Visit thelasvegasnational.com for more information. 


Source; Press release from Blenheim EquiSports // Photo (c) McCool. 

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