Richard Spooner and Cristallo. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Frances Land and Vieanne Speed to Victory in $8,000 Thompson Family Cup 1.45m
Calgary, AB, Canada – June 26, 2014 – Show jumping competition at the Spruce Meadows ‘Canada One’ Tournament continued on Thursday with a win for Richard Spooner (USA) and Cristallo in the $33,500 Cargill Cup 1.50m. The day’s feature event in the Meadows on the Green, Spooner and Cristallo topped an eight-horse jump-off to beat out Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Fineman for top honors. Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and Lordan made a big bid at the end to finish third. The ‘Canada One’ Tournament runs through Sunday, June 29, concluding with the $125,000 Imperial Challenge 1.55m.
A total of 39 entries jumped the course for the $33,500 Cargill Cup 1.50m set by Cristina Larangeiro of Portugal. Eight combinations cleared the first round track to advance to the jump-off where an exciting race against the clock ensued. Richard Spooner and Show Jumping Syndication International’s Cristallo were the winners in 33.51 seconds. The pair went second to last in the jump-off and had some very fast times to beat, including three very fast rounds from the men of Ireland.
In the end, Shane Sweetnam and Sweet Oak Farm’s Fineman finished second in 33.60 seconds. Nayel Nassar and Lordan jumped into third in 33.87 seconds, and Conor Swail (IRL) and Susan and Ariel Grange’s Martha Louise placed fourth in 34.14 seconds. Kevin Babington (IRL) and Mark Q rounded out the top five with a time of 35.41 seconds.
“Those guys were not messing around,” Spooner smiled after his win. “It wasn’t my plan to go that fast, but once you graduate into the jump-off, you want to try to win. I didn’t have a plan. The thing around here is that the jump-offs get so ridiculously fast that it is a no brainer. You just have to go out there and go as fast as you can.”
Spooner and his veteran partner have had many incredible moments together and at 16 years of age, Cristallo is the horse that keeps on giving.
“He is amazing,” Spooner praised. “He is like the Eveready bunny. He just never stops being fresh and being strong in the bridle and wanting to run away with me. It is just an unbelievable spirit that he has, week after week after week, his whole career. He is just always there for me. It was a lucky day when he found me.”
Spooner traveled from California to compete at Spruce Meadows with Cristallo and several other horses this summer. He plans to stay through all of the summer series and has enjoyed his time at one of the world’s most renowned venues.
“I think for most riders, we have a fond place in our heart for Spruce Meadows,” Spooner stated. “There is top prize money, super conditions, an incredible venue, and I think the horses really blossom up here. The crowd is also fantastic and so the ambience of the sport here is very memorable.”
Cristallo also seems to enjoy the setting, but Spooner noted that he is not too particular. “He is multi-purpose; he does not discriminate against venues,” the rider smiled. “It doesn’t make a difference to him. He is maybe a little better outdoors, but a big grass field certainly suits him well because he has such a big stride for a little horse, and his rideability is not necessarily his strong suit. He has a lot of strong suits, but that may not be it, so on a big grass field it is far easier to negotiate and kind of work your way around.”
Continuing a fantastic summer, the pair raced their way to victory once again, and Spooner looks forward to competing throughout the next three weeks. Along with Cristallo, he has a great group of up-and-coming horses that will get their shot at a round of honor.
Frances Land and Vieanne Take $8,000 Thompson Family Cup 1.45m
Also competing on Thursday, competition got underway this morning in the Chinook Ring with a win for Frances Land (USA) in the $8,000 Thompson Family Cup 1.45m. Thirty-seven entries contested Manuel Esparza’s (MEX) speed course with seven clear rounds. Land guided her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Vieanne (Andiamo x Voltaire) to victory in 65.87 seconds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) finished second aboard Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Mimosa in 68.67 seconds. Ali Wolff (USA) rode John Wolff’s Artemis to third place honors in 69.35 seconds.
A college student at Emory University in Georgia, Land is making the most of her summer break by riding as much as possible. She and Vieanne showed during week one of Spruce Meadows Summer Series, the ‘National’ CSI 5* presented by Rolex, and finished second in the $33,500 ATCO Pipelines Cup 1.45m. The pair took a break during the ‘Continental’ Tournament CSIO 5*, then came back fresh in the third week of competition to kick things off with a win.
“I showed her yesterday in a 1.30m warm-up, so today was just her third class here and she is really fresh,” Land detailed. “She feels great. She is just naturally so fast that I knew that this course was not one to run. I just had to ride the track and be smooth. I knew the straight lines were a bit steady and some of the curves I just needed to be smooth. There were a few leave-outs. I went around the blue oxer when I was planning to go inside after the grob, but I think naturally she is just faster if I am smooth. It just worked in my favor today.”
Thursday was Land’s first time showing in the Chinook Ring at Spruce Meadows, and the ring seemed to play to her favor as well.
“I was surprised because I had never gotten to show out here and I was actually a bit worried because this ring is a little smaller, but it was lovely,” Land acknowledged. “She jumped great. The smaller ring actually helped slow her down a little because she was being a bit wild. The Chinook is great, I love jumping out there.”
Land and Vieanne will continue to compete throughout the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, showing next in Friday’s $33,500 Westjet Cup 1.45m and Sunday’s $33,500 West Canadian Cup 1.50m.
In addition to the Westjet Cup on Friday, the Meadows on the Green will feature the $33,500 Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m.
Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.