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Fabulous finish for Richard Spooner and Cristallo in the FEI Las Vegas Winning Round Classic

Sunday, 20 November 2016
CSI4*-W Las Vegas 2016

Photo (c) McCool Photography. Richard Spooner with Cristallo. Photo (c) McCool Photography.

In a class of forty-seven entries, Richard Spooner and 18-year-old Holsteiner gelding Cristallo galloped into the winner's circle in the $50,000 FEI 1.45m Winning Round Classic, presented by E2 Stables and H5 Stables. Exciting until the last ride, speed demons including Americans Rich Fellers, Richard Spooner and Karl Cook, Chilean Samuel Parot, Brazilian Eduardo Menezes and Frenchman Eric Navet amongst others returned for the Winning Round. 

Guilherme Jorge's 1.45m first round challenging course featured 16 jumping efforts including a skinny vertical as fence two and three double combinations. With 25% of the class to return under FEI rules, twelve returned with a clean slate, in reverse order of the slowest around one 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. Moving up in the order, Navet held the lead on Signe Ostby's Basimodo with a time of 42.60 until Spooner, second-to-last entered the arena. Spooner immediately picked up a big gallop, leaving out strides in several places, crossing the timers clean in 39.86. 

Spooner explained how they were able to cut almost three seconds off Navet's time. "He cited in on the oxer (midway through the track) and I was able to leave one out there, but it was really long," the winner said with a smile. "I needed that." 

This pair has won all over the world and was strong at the top of the sport for six plus years. But as Spooner noted, now that his partner is getting older, it's time to slow down and be selective about what shows and what classes are best at the time. He clearly chose correctly today.

Source: Press release from Blenheim EquiSports.

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