Richard Spooner and Cristallo Win the $60,000 Grand Prix of California
Richard Spooner and Cristallo
Del Mar, CA – The Master of Faster turned on the heat with his equine partner of fifteen years to clinch the $60,000 Grand Prix of California, presented by Equ Lifestyle Boutique. The unstoppable duo, known as Richard Spooner and Cristallo, executed a flawless jump-off in 33.75, less than 0.04 seconds faster than the previous leaders, Vani Khosla and Billy Mexico. Relegated to a well-deserved second by a show jumping veteran, Khosla earned her second impressive grand prix red ribbon for the week.
World-renowned course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil built a stout, flowing 1.50m track for the class. A scopey double combination by the in-gate contributed to a number of faults, although rails fell throughout the course. Two riders rode without fault over the jumps, but exceeded the time allowed by minute amounts, ultimately finishing tenth and eleventh. Nine horse and rider combinations advanced to the jump-off, of which just three finished double-clear. With each time faster than the one before it, it was a spectacular afternoon of show jumping.
Mandy Porter and Coral Reef Follow Me II attempted the shortened course first and set the bar at a double-clean ride in 35.15. Khosla reentered the ring third and laid down a seemingly unbeatable trip in 33.79.
Veteran that he is, Spooner then snatched the lead by just a hair, stopping the clock in 33.75 seconds. “From one to two, I was very, very fast. I didn’t go top speed to the last jump – I felt as though I was fast enough one-two-three that I could rest on my laurels a little and it worked out this time,” he said. “I thought it was an excellent class. We’re lucky to have a course designer of Guilherme’s level here. He does an incredible job and I thought that Blenheim EquiSports did a great job with the show.”
Spooner and nineteen-year-old Cristallo have countless wins in the books, but each one is still special. For today’s win, Spooner took home a pair of Roeckl Sports gloves, a set of EquiFit horse boots, and a SmartPak cooler. Along with the prizes and recognition, he has the horse of a lifetime to share the winning experience with.
“We’ve had a very long and extraordinary relationship, and it just amazes me that he is still fit and strong,” Spooner said of Cristallo. “He didn’t do any classes this week; he just came out for the grand prix and he nailed it. How could I possibly say enough about how I feel about that horse?”
Richard Spooner and Cristallo celebrate the win with (l-r) Lauren Davis and Alexandra Cherubini of EquiFit, Equ Lifestyle Boutique’s Monica Ward, Blenheim EquiSport’s Melissa Brandes, Taylor Spooner, Robert Ridland of Blenheim EquiSports, and Kaylen Spooner