Richard Spooner Grabs His First Grand Prix Win At Start Of Six Week Circuit

The jump-off for the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix at the HITS Indio Desert Circuit Week 1 was a case of one-upsmanship. Jenni Martin set a time of 48.959 aboard Pop Socks, which was topped by Richard Spooner and Bradford when they stopped the clock in 45.479. Undaunted, Misti Cassar galloped Fahrenheit boldly around Ken Kromes challenging course to finish in 44.726. John French was next with Millennium and he seemed ahead of Cassars time when he got in a rush at the last fence and Millennium stopped. However, Cassars time had to withstand three more rounds, and Martin returned aboard Sunrise to shave off another half. John Pearce and Harry Potter decisively reduced the time another two seconds by stopping the time at 42.569. Only Spooner was left with Incento.

Frankly, John Pearce was brilliant and before JP went, I thought the 43 second barrier was doable, and when I saw him get 42 and change I was concerned about being able to catch him. Although Incento has not been a first string star for Spooner in their short year together, the big gelding has developed into a seasoned competitor and today was his day to shine. As Incento galloped through the timers, the read-out board stopped at 39.994. I didnt think anyone could break the 40 barrier, said an enthusiastic Spooner. He was just fabulous today, he added of his mount. Ive had him for a year and we have had our ups and downs. I cant complain because he placed in the money in nine of his twelve Indio starts last year, but this is his first big win and I am thrilled.

John Pearce is also getting used to a fairly new horse in Jane Clarkes Harry Potter. Pearce was Leading Jumper Rider in 1998, but he has not been to the Indio Desert Circuit for two years. Hence, he had not competed on the new sand footing in the grand prix ring. I am not making any excuses because Richard rode great and was fast, but I didnt feel I knew the footing well enough to throw caution to the wind. Its a long six weeks and I want to be in there at the end. Pearce was very happy with the footing and with his horses. He has several mounts he plans to start in the various grand prix events throughout the circuit.

The first week of the HITS Indio Desert Circuit finished with pleasant sunny weather and many exhibitors heading home with fists full of ribbons and awards. The first week ran great, stated HITS President Tom Struzzieri. People seemed happy with the improvements we made and everything seemed to run smoothly. I think all of us are in for a great circuit.

the HITS Indio Desert Circuit Upcoming events include:

February 3 1:00PM $50,000 Cosequin Grand Prix
February 10 11AM1PM Kids Day
February 10 1:00PM $75,000 Bayer/USET Grand Prix
February 24 1:00PM $50,000 Rio Vista Grand Prix
March 3 11AM1PM Seniors Day
March 3 1:00PM $50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix
Presented by Dyson & Dyson
March 10 11AM-2PM First Annual Fiesta Day
March 10 2:00PM $150,000 Ford Grand Prix of the Desert

Equiworld.Com Copyright Equiworld 2005. Equiworld is a registered trademark in the UK and/or other countries. Equiworld, Hayfield, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB15 8BB

To submit equestrian news items to Equiworld please visit,

To submit links to horse web sites please visit,

Updated: October 2005.