Riding for the United States, Richard Spooner took the victory with Michael Wang’s Arthos R in the $35,000 FEI 1.45m Blenheim Jumper Classic. Set in a power and speed format over an Anthony D’Ambrosio track, Spooner galloped in thirteenth in a class of forty-five entries. Riding a smooth track with tight inside turns, and his ‘Master of Faster’ pace, Spooner finished in a smoking time of 23.18 seconds that could not be beat.
Richard Spooner and Arthos R. Photo by Andrew Ryback
No strangers to the Winner’s Circle, Spooner and Arthos R carried on from their success at last year’s Las Vegas National CSI 4*-W, where the pair won the FEI 1.50m Las Vegas Winning Round Classic. “Arthos is a wonderful horse and is very easy for me to ride. To show him in this class is like riding on angel’s wings.”
D’Ambrosio’s course included related bending lines, two combinations, and technical inside turns in the speed phase. Of his handy mount Spooner said, “I know I don’t have to run too fast because I can make it up in the turns. With a horse that easy to ride, it makes everything pleasant for me as a rider.”
Spooner and Arthos have developed a great partnership over the past two years. “Kasey Ament did a lot of fantastic work with him before I got the ride. Since then he’s been gradually developing and did the World Cup Finals speed round last year in Paris and some of the World Cup qualifiers the year before. He’s a spectacular horse and I am grateful to have the ride on him.”
Richard Spooner and Arthos R with Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports
and Ringmaster John Franzreb III. Photo courtesy of Blenheim Equisports.
Thirty-two more entries tried to top Spooner’s clean effort and quick time. Molly Ashe Cawley and Picobello Choppin PC came closest, stopping the clock in 24.26, to pick up a second-place finish. Just a half of a second slower, Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and Lucifer V, owned by Evergate Stables, LLC, rounded out the podium in a time of 24.74 seconds.