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Back from competing in Europe, Richard Spooner wins in SoCal

By DANIEL K. LEW / Horsetrader staff - September 3rd, 2009 - Show & Event News

Richard Spooner and Conquest of Paradiso win the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix with a jump-off time of 35.271 seconds.

Daniel K. Lew / Horsetrader photo

Richard Spooner and Conquest of Paradiso win the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix with a jump-off time of 35.271 seconds.

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — After spending much of summer competing in Europe, Richard Spooner took another Grand Prix victory within days of coming back home to Southern California. At the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix, Spooner riding Conquest of Paradiso bested a 10-horse jump-off on Aug. 9 at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park.

Spooner, along with Ashlee Bond, were two Californians among the U.S. show jumping team who traveled throughout Europe for nearly four months to eventually take an honorable second place in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup finals. “The U.S. was really a force to be reckoned with in the Nations Cup this year,” Spooner said. “Ashlee was fantastic and so were the other team members.”

Separately, Spooner also competed in the Global Champions Tour and other international shows, which took him to places such as Monte Carlo, Monaco; Paris and Cannes in France; Estoril, Spain; and Rome and San Patrignano in Italy. One of the highlights for him included winning the Grand Prix of Monte Carlo, Monaco, while riding Cristallo.

But competition with international riders continued for Spooner, and other riders, back at San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Many hunter/jumper riders from Mexico and South America spent parts of their summer competing in California.

The $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix was among the recent shows, managed by Blenheim EquiSports, to have international flavor. “It was like a mini-Pan American Games,” Spooner said.

While some of Spooner’s traveling horses were settling-in after returning home to Agua Dulce, Calif., he competed with other horses. “I was happy to be back and it’s nice to ride some of the horses who had to stay in California while I was out of town,” he said.
Conquest of Paradiso, a 13-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by C&S Partnership LLC and frequently ridden by Katherine Bardis, gave Spooner a victorious “welcome home” ride. “He’s a fantastic horse with lots of experience ridden by Katherine Bardis,” Spooner said. “Conquest was ready for me; he had some time off.”

Thirty-three rider/horse combinations entered the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix course designed by Jack Robson of Coronado, Calif. A decent number–10 pairs–jumped a clean first round to return for the jump-off.

First to ride in the jump-off, Antonio Maurer aboard Valentina, owned by Jacobo Saga, set the bar with a double-clean ride in 37.785 seconds, within the time allowed of 45 seconds. They would finish in sixth place, and Maurer also took third place riding As Hyo Hugo, owned by Francisco Del Rio, to clear in 35.916 seconds.

Chris Pratt and G5 go double clean in 35.697 seconds to take second place in the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix.

Chris Pratt and G5 go double clean in 35.697 seconds to take second place in the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix.

Next, local favorite Joie Gatlin of San Juan Capistrano cleared as well on her Twindoline in 36.65 seconds.

“With 10 clear, that set the stage for a fast jump-off, right off the bat,” Spooner recalled. “I thought Joie was fast enough to win, but that’s the problem with going early—people can always catch you, and it kept getting faster and faster.”

Former Canadian Chris Pratt, now a resident of Valencia, Calif., went double clean with a better time of 35.697 seconds aboard G5, owned by Indigo Farms LLC, for second place in the end.

Continuing his skill of shaving off seconds in jump-offs, Spooner riding Conquest of Paradiso clocked-in, clean again at 35.271 seconds for the win in the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix.

For complete results from the Blenheim Summer Classic I Show from Aug. 5-9, visit: www.showpark.com/results.asp

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