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Richard Spooner speeds to victory at WEF

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Richard Spooner and Billy Bianca on form in Wellington. Photo by Sportfot.California's Richard Spooner and Billy Bianca led the victory gallop in Friday afternoon's $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). California native Ashlee Bond followed in a close second with her mount Apache, while Great Britain's Scott Brash and Bon Ami finished third.

This week's course designer in the International Arena is Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. In the 1.45m, Palacios set a great course for the roster of top riders competing towards ROLEX FEI world ranking points. Forty-seven entries started the class in a timed first round format. Nineteen were able to jump without fault, and Richard Spooner and Billy Bianca completed the fastest clear round in 63.38 seconds for the win.

Class winner Billy Bianca is an eleven-year-old Warmblood mare by Vechta x Iroko. After showing successfully under U.S. Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut, Billy Bianca joined Spooner's string of horses last season, and continued to excel. The pair's first big win was in a $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic during week ten of the 2011 FTI WEF. They were just getting to know each other then, and went on to several more wins and top finishes throughout the year. An injury put the mare out of commission for several months at the end of the season, however, and she is just coming back.

Spooner has also had a hand in the careers of second place finishers Ashlee Bond and Apache, and was thrilled with their top placing today. "Apache is a horse that I rode at Spruce Meadows last year. I bought him as a five-year-old from Doug and Judy White, who actually were here this afternoon, and Ashlee I help a little bit from time to time, so I could not have been any happier today," he smiled. "For her to be second and me to win was really good; it was a banner day for California and for Ashlee and I!" A happy Richard  Spooner. Photo by Sportfot.

Currently sitting at the top of the North American West Coast League World Cup Standings, Spooner knows how important it is to maintain a good world ranking. He acknowledged the efforts of G&C Farm and the FTI WEF to host FEI classes.

"It is nice to have these classes, especially when you consider the level of competition here. It warrants the FEI's seal of approval," he declared. "I think it is fantastic of G&C Farm to come through and be so supportive of the horse show and enable the show to have these types of classes because it means a lot to the riders."

Other top finishers in today's 1.45m included Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and his new ride Cyklon 1083, who stopped the clock in 66.65 seconds to finish fifth. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum secured sixth place riding Cantano.


Final Results: $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic  


1. BILLY BIANCA: 2001 Warmblood mare by Vechta x Iroko
RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Molly Ohrstrom: 0/63.38  

2. APACHE: 1999 Selle Francais/Thoroughbred gelding by Mescalaro x Unknown  
ASHLEE BOND (USA) Little Valley Farm: 0/65.69

3. BON AMI: 2001 BWP gelding by Pavarotti VD Helle x Richebourg
SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Liz Mctaggart: 0/65.82

4. LINCOURT GINO: 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Gino III x Graf Magna
PETER LEONE (USA), Monica Carrera: 0/66.33
5. CYKLON 1083: 2001 Swedish Warmblood stallion by Cardento x Cortus
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm: 0/66.65

6. CANTANO: 2000 Holsteiner stallion by Cascavelle x Acord
7. BATUCADA: 2002 mare by Casco x Quidam de Revel
PAIGE SORCE (USA), Western Meadow Farm: 0/67.39
8. COLORIT: 2003 Württemberger stallion by Coriano x Capitol
DAVID WILL (GER), Isaak Klaus: 0/67.88

9. URBAN: 2001 KWPN gelding by Goodtimes x Indoctro
BLYTHE MARANO (USA), Riverview Farm LLC: 0/69.10
10. QUINTENDER 2: 2001 Holsteiner stallion by Quinar x Contender  
HENRIK GUNDERSEN (DEN), Emilie Martinsen: 0/69.18

11. SLIEVEANORRA: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Voltaire x Flagmount Diamond
RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC: 0/69.81
12. OSCAR DU ROZEL: 2002 Selle Francais stallion by Dollar Du Murier x Narcos II
JOHANNES EHNING (GER), Equestrian Sports GmbH & Co.KG: 0/70.13


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