Cristallo clear future for Spooner

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

Richard Spooner doesn't need a parachute because he doesn't want to come off cloud nine and fall back down to Earth.

The easy-going Californian won yesterday's 1.50m, $35,000 Pengrowth Open Cup in the International Ring aboard his gifted young Holstein, Cristallo, beating Beezie Madden in a jumpoff.

It was Spooner's ninth win on the Spruce Meadows summer tour, plus eight second-place finishes.

And in Cristallo, a bay gelding who is only eight years old, he's got a horse who may be great.

"He's matured a lot in the four weeks at Spruce Meadows," said Spooner, who posted a clear run in the jumpoff with a time of 47.37 seconds, while Madden and Integrity clocked in at 48.03.

Case in point, Spooner had a tough decision to keep Cristallo out of tomorrow's Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a 1.60m Grand Prix.

"It takes all the strength I have, and control, to keep him out of the Queen's Cup, he's going that exceptional," said Spooner.

"But he's eight years old and he's gone from doing 1.40m to 1.45m to 1.50m in four weeks. So 1.60m might be somewhat less than wise."

But it's just a matter of time until Cristallo, who he says has similar mannerisms to his aging top gun, Robinson, is jumping in Grand Prix events, probably sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Oxford Mills, Ont.'s Jill Henselwood (Special Ed) captured the 1.60m, $50,000 Direct Energy Cup last night.

She and Mexico's Enrique Gonzalez (Leo 127) were the only two to qualify for the jumpoff.


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