Millar continues winning ways

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

There are athletes -- both two legged and four -- who have the talent to succeed but never win.

Then, there are others who have something special and win time and time again.

Athletes such as Ian Millar.

Canada's most successful show jumper in history, Millar knows what it takes to win.

He sees that special trait in his young mount Redefin.

"Certain horses are just good winners, and even when things are going wrong they find a way to be successful and win," Millar said of the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.

"And there are other horses that you can set it up beautifully, you think they can't miss, and they find a way to not win.

"This horse is a winner."

Millar and Redefin teamed up to claim the $30,000 Zeidler Financial Cup yesterday to open the Masters.

Nick Skelton (Arko III) placed second, while McLain Ward of the U.S. (Quo Vadis) was third.

With the Canadian team clinching a spot for the team event in the 2008 Olympic Summer Games, Millar is poised to be part of his 10th Olympic team.

Even though In Style is currently his No. 1 mount, he said Redefin is closing ground.

"The trick is going to be to get the right competitions to really get him on-line," Millar said.

In the $35,000 Finning Welcome, Richard Spooner of Agua Dulce, Calif., rode Apache to top spot.

"It's nice to win on the first day," Spooner said.

"I've got enough money I can go home after. I have free beer, a free barbecue to go to. Life's good."

Steve Guerdat of Switzerland placed second with Tresor V, while McLain Ward was third aboard Sapphire.

It's just the continuation of Spooner's success at Spruce Meadows, which was interrupted during the North American when he competed at the Aachen show.

"In this sport, every experience you get is a good experience and that was a really good experience," said Spooner.

"You always hear of Aachen as the coup de grace, so I was happy to get that over with.

"It seems like when you're showing here -- I love showing here and feel I've done really well -- and everyone tells you 'Aachen, Aachen, Aachen.'

"And then I went to Aachen, and it's just Aachen. It's just a horse show."


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