Richard Spooner and Cristallo top $33,500 Cargill Cup 1.50m at Spruce Meadows

27 June - Showjumping 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.

Final Results: $33,500 Cargill Cup 1.50m

1 CRISTALLO: Holstein / G / 16 Caretino x Cicero

RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Show Jumping Syndication Intl: 0/0/33.51

2 FINEMAN: Swedish Warmblood / G / 11 Feliciano x Beach Boy

SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak Farm: 0/0/33.60

3 LORDAN: Warmblood / G / 10 Lordanos x Landor S

NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Nayel Nassar: 0/0/33.87

4 MARTHA LOUISE: Swedish Warmblood / M / 10 Maloubet de Pleville x Wolfgang

CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan & Ariel Grange: 0/0/34.14

5 MARK Q: Irish Sport Horse / G / 12 OBOS Quality 004 x Positively

KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington: 0/0/35.41

6 WKD PEPPERPOT: Irish Sport Horse / M / 12 Heritage Fortunus x Diamonds Aretrumps

SAMEH EL DAHAN (EGY),Joanne Sloan Allen: 0/0/36.33

7 APARDI: Dutch Warmblood / S / 9 Corland x Kannan

DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Ricardo & Alberto Simhon: 0/0/36.63

8 CASALL: Holstein / G / 9 Casall x Capitol I

ALI WOLFF (USA), Blacklick Bend Farm: 0/8/36.82

9 ZEUS DU BUISON Z: Zangersheide / G / 10 Zandor Z x Kodarco

SANTIAGO LAMBRE (MEX), Santiago Lambre: 1/78.25

10 WANNICK WH: Dutch Warmblood / S / 11 Heartbreaker x Joost

CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 1/78.37

11 BOO VAN HET KASTANJEHOF: Belgian Warmblood / M / 13 Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Pachat II

ANDREW WELLES (USA), Peter Welles: 1/80.40

12 TALOUBET: Dutch Warmblood / G / 14 Baloubet du Rouet x Quidam de Revel

PAULO SANTANA (BRA), Paulo Santana: 4/74.25

Source: Press release from Spruce Meadows Media Services