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Richard Spooner and Arthos R

Richard Spooner and Arthos R

Amy McCool photo

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — What happens in `Vegas surely will not remain in `Vegas, as far as the red-hot Richard Spooner is concerned.
The California rider was dominant during the week at the Las Vegas National, which culminated in riding his new equine star, Chatinus, to victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas.

“I’m just very optimistic for the future with this horse,” Spooner said. “It’s just absolutely blowing my mind.”

Spooner defeated Alison Robitaille and Serise du Bidou to claim the top check, outpacing that duo’s time by nearly three seconds.

Earlier, Spooner had competed in a class of 33 entries aboard the 12-year-old stallion, Arthos R, to win the $50,000 FEI 1.45m Winning Round Classic, presented by Park Place Foundation.

The second-round course of that event 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. Michelle Parker, first to go in the second round, set a clean and quick pace in 45.91 seconds. Karl Cook returned for the second round on Calliou and posted the exact same time of 45.91 seconds.

The young and talented Jennifer Gates didn’t let those odds take the top call. She broke that tie riding Alex, taking the lead in a speedy 45.27 seconds. But it was the final rider to compete in the second round, Spooner aboard Arthos R, who stole the show, stopping the clock in 44.39 seconds for the win.Spooner explained how he was able to cut almost a full second off Gates’ time. “I was lucky to be able to practice the inside turn after 6B with Quirado RC [whom he also rode in the second round]. I executed the inside turn much better on Arthos. I also came out of the turn to the next oxer with more pace, which set up a nice turn for me to go out and around to get to the last fence of the jump-off. I knew that if I could get to the left side of the oxer I would be able to make the inside turn and end up with a faster time.”Spooner and Arthos R are a fairly new pairing, but the veteran rider is quite fond of the stallion. “I began riding him in May of this year. He was a little out of shape, but now his muscle tone has improved quite a bit. He’s a very careful and scopey horse that is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, horse I’ve ever ridden. He’s like riding an equitation horse over the 1.50m jumps. His future is very bright and he continues to improve as his fitness has increased and our relationship has become closer. He is a phenomenal horse.”

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