American rider, Richard Spooner can finally take 'Win a derby at Spruce Meadows' off his wish list. Riding last made Spooner's job a little easier, as he was able to take his time and avoid unnecessary risks with his Derby mount, Cristallo.
Spooner got to hoist the hardware and take home the top prize of $45,000 for his win in the Nexen Cup Derby. A familiar face in the International Ring, he presently sits in fourth place on the top money winners list at Spruce Meadows.
Sixteen horse and rider combinations tackled this challenging Derby course that stretches to almost one kilometre in length. Cristallo is such a veteran of the International Ring at Spruce that he galloped around without batting an eye to all the natural obstacles.Cristallo was one of the only three horses to go clear at the dreaded Devil's Dyke.
Going last, Spooner also knew his cushion when it came to incurring faults. Fellow American Katie Prudent was in the lead with a total of nine faults so he did have some room for error. Impressively he only incurred one fault and that was for time.
The statistics from the Nexen Fence Analysis taken from 2007-2011 shows that out of 105 attempts by riders there have only been three clear rounds.
Femke Van Den Bosch from Red Deer, Alberta was the top placed Canadian coming in fourth aboard Tom Tom. She rode a beautiful rhythm from start to finish and was one of the three riders not to incur penalties at the Devils Dyke. She finished with 12 faults and a nice pay day of $10,000. Whitaker comes out on top
The final award to be announced on the closing day of the Spruce Meadows National Tournament was the Spruce Meadows Canadian Championship which was presented to Robert Whitaker of Great Britain.
Over the five days of competing and his placing in the ATB Financial Cup, Spectra Energy Cup, CN Reliability Grand Prix and the Nexen Cup, Whitaker came out on top.
Along with the title, Whitaker received $15,000, a Championship cooler and a gold medal.
Robert's cousin, Ellen Whitaker was the recipient in 2011.
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