The Californian, dubbed the ‘Master of Faster’ was clearly in fiercely competitive mood from the start of the 12 fence CSI 5* start class – the curtain raiser to the 9th Grand Prix of the GCT 2012 season. Richard was true to his talent for finding the fastest route round the track and shaving off crucial seconds.
Riding the 11 year old mare Billy Bianca, he finished in 58.62. Belgian rider Gregory Wathelet on Kronos d’Ouilly was second on 58.92 with a smooth round taking the 1m45 – 1m50 fences in his stride. Christian Ahlmann of Germany rode another superb round on the fast, talented grey Aragon coming third in 60.76. Christian said he has great confidence in the grey gelding by Askari.
Richard Spooner and Billy Bianca (Sportfot/GCT)
He was just ahead of Ben Maher on Aristo Z who finished in 60.99. Ben, who has just won team gold for Great Britain at the Olympic Games, said: “Yes I was really pleased with the round. This is a beautiful course. A great traditional show jumping arena.”
The eyes of the equestrian world will be on Valkenswaard this afternoon and evening for the VDL Groep Grand Prix and the impact on the GCT ranking as the season heads towards its finale in Abu Dhabi in November. It is a strong sign of the crucial importance of the GCT circuit that a truly international field has turned out in the Netherlands for the critical Grand Prix. With a very demanding, technical course by Uliano Vezzani, the world class field will be seriously challenged as they fight for podium places and points.