Las Vegas, NV – 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.
Eric Navet Honored with the M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award
A well-earned second place in today’s class is not the only award French rider Eric Navet will take home. Displaying exemplary style with sportsmanlike composure, he was honored as the recipient of the M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award at the Las Vegas National, CSI4*-W.
M. Michael Meller presenting Eric Navet’s award, with Enrique Gonzalez, Niahm (Neev) Gorman, Alex Bartlett, Wendy Krohn, Nick Krohn, Peter Lutz, and Melissa Brandes
Chosen unanimously by the voting panel, Navet’s quiet demeanor, devotion to the horse and decorated history all played a role in elevating him to this honor.
Not only does Navet possess characteristics like Meller’s “Gallagher/Meller Sport Horses” business partner and defending champion of the Longines FEI World Cupâ„¢ Jumping Las Vegas, Peter Lutz, his accolades fill a page. Among them are Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the sport’s best international competitions, including Olympics and FEI World Equestrian Games.
Beginning in 2016, this award will be presented annually to an international rider from the FEI division. Previous winners include notable athletes Andres Rodriguez, Chloe Reid, Alison Robitaille, Conor Swail, and Charlie Jacobs.
$50,000 FEI 1.45m Las Vegas National Winning Round Jumper Classic, presented by E2 Stables, LLC & H5 Stables