Michel Vaillancourt of Canada designed the course in the International Arena. There were 12 numbered obstacles, which included inside turn options and opportunities to leave out strides. The time allowed in the speed class, which consisted of only one round, was 76 seconds. There were five clear rounds over the course of 33 entries. The early leader of the class was Darragh Kenny up on his mount Perle JRF, owned by North Run and Missy Clark. Kenny went first in the class, setting the pace and producing a flawless score in a time of 64.195 seconds, which would hold up for fourth place.
Kenny had the lead for nearly half of the class until Richard Spooner entered the ring and the lead changed hands. Spooner made very handy turns, and he and Ninno sped all the way to a time of 60.824 seconds, which was four seconds faster than the former leading time.
Last week's Speed Challenge winner Marie Hecart made a great effort to steal the lead after producing a clean round on her mount Ryan Star Du Rezidal, owned by Ashland Stables. The pair was only one second behind Spooner and stopped the clock at 61.973 seconds, which was good enough for the second spot.
With only ten left to show, Scott Lenkart tried to capture the lead on his mount Impulsive, owned by Macmillan Sport Horse. With a time of 62.900 seconds, the pair fell a little short and assumed the third position.
Shortly after, Francie Steinwedell-Carvin piloted Cavalier Knight, owned by Wendy and Chelsea Wilkinson. The pair produced another clear round for the day in a time of 72.209 seconds, and the pair finished fifth.
Spooner was able to maintain the top position on Ninno. Spooner was very impressed with the young horse and said, "I am very proud of him because that was the first time he has been in the International ring and in a 1.40 class."
The pair was able to navigate the course and maintain their win even after going so early in the class. Spooner attributes his very fast time to his strategy in the speed course. Spooner explained, "I was able to leave some strides out and my horse turns like a dream."
As for upcoming plans, expect to see Spooner and his ride Ninno competing in more classes in the International Arena. "He is here to be sold, but my plan is to see how he goes and move him up one division at a time," he said.
Tomorrow's action will continue with the $25,000 1.50 Suncast Classic held in the DeNemethy Ring. The $75,000 Adequan CSI 2* Grand Prix will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. in the International Arena.
Final Results: $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge
- 1. NINNO, RICHARD SPOONER, RICHARD SPOONER & HRH. LAMA: 0/60.824
- 2. RYAN STAR DU REZIDAL, MARIE HECART, ASHLAND STABLES: 0/61.973
- 3. IMPULSIVE, SCOTT LENKART, MACMILLAN SPORT HORSE: 0/62.900
- 4. PERLE JRF, DARRAGH KENNY, NORTH RUN/MISSY CLARK: 0/64.195
- 5. CAVALIER KNIGHT, FRANCIE STEINWEDELL-CARVIN, WENDY & CHELSEA WILKINSON: 0/72.209
- 6. VORNADO VAN DEN HOENDRIK, JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN, STONE HILL FARM 1/76.106
- 7. LET'S GO, JAMES BENEDETTO, EQUINIMITY LLC: 2/77.932
- 8. G&C NAMOS, LUIS MIGUEL MARTINEZ, GUSTAVO MIRABAL: 3/78.187
- 9. VALENTIA, LAURA CHAPOT, MARY CHAPOT: 4/64.597
- 10. DIAMS III, JOE FARGIS, MARY SCHWAB: 4/65.068
- 11. LARIAT, JOE FARGIS, SANDRON: 4/68.331
- 12. FIRST LADY, ELIZABETH TOWELL BOYD, ELIZABETH TOWELL BOYD: 4/72.344
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 13 through April 4. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $5.5 million in prize money will be awarded.
Photo Credit: Richard Spooner and Ninno won the $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge in the fourth week of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.