Rapid Rex sprints to podium

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:00 AM ET

Mark Armstrong's mount Rex may not be able to compete against the biggest and the best.

Throw him up against anyone in a speed class, though, and the 12-year-old Belgian gelding is downright lethal.

Armstrong, from Great Britain, and Rex showed it again by claiming the ATCO Structures Double Slalom with a victory over American Bradley Cox in the final.

Although it did take a final-jump knockdown by Cox to seal it.

"I actually went to the finish and thought I hadn't won it but I turned around and saw she'd knocked down the last one," said Armstrong, who pocketed $15,000.

Armstrong knocked down two rails and was beat to the finish line but Cox and her game pinto Santa Teresita Duvalin -- the short-legged mare became a fan favourite for battling to the final round -- couldn't vault the last obstacle.

Armstrong said the knockdowns weren't a product of the rain that was falling at the time or nerves.

"It's the fifth round," he explained. "And I was on the same side every time, so he was starting to anticipate fences and cutting across them. That happens in knockouts."

Cox, who beat her fiance Kyle King -- the defending champ -- in the quarter-final, won $9,800.

Armstrong won a pair of similar events this winter with Rex.

"He just happens to be good at them. He's a good speed horse and not a Grand Prix horse," he said. "At 1.40 (metres), he's a winner but 1.50 he's not competitive. He tries very hard and goes very high but he's not up to that, so I keep him to classes that he's good at. He is a winner."

CUP CLAIMERS: Team Milton, consisting of Ariana Azcarraga de Casar, Jennifer Crooks, Rich Fellers, Jaime Guerra, Kyle King, Eric Lamaze, Alberto Michan, Sergio Nieto, Kelley Small and Richard Spooner, claimed the Sun Media Riders' Cup.

The Cup, based on head-to-head results in the 10 different International Ring events, was worth a $30,000 prize.


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